Signs of Unrest in Lead Up to Attacks in Cairo and Benghaz

Posted: 14th September 2012

The recent tragic attack at the United States consulate in Benghazi and protests at U.S. embassies in Cairo and around the world were shocking in their targeting of American diplomats. Both cities were known to be volatile, but looking back there’s evidence that tensions were running particularly high in both Libya and Egypt prior to these disturbing events.

Cairo hasn’t completely settled since last year’s mass protests in Tahrir Square, and emerging policies of Mohamed Morsi’s government were inflaming the populace once again. During the two weeks before occupying the U.S. embassy there were a series of protests:

  • Anti-Syrian protests outside of mosques at the end of August.
  • Bahraini democracy activist barred from entry into Egypt.
  • And just two days before the embassy attack on September 9, hundreds protest a football match for the lack of justice over the death of 74 people at a match earlier this year.

Libya lags Egypt in rebuilding its government and the environment, as evidenced by the below timeline, is unstable on a many fronts:

  • sectarian conflict over attacks on Sufi shrines.
  • Gaddafi loyalists in Egypt financing illegal immigrant trafficking.
  • major political protests in both Tripoli and Benghazi.