US Ambassador Susan Rice Maintains Libya Attack Was Spontaneous Reaction to Anti-Islam Video
Susan Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, joined Fox News Sunday as anti-American protests escalate across the world. The White House is claiming that this has nothing to do with President Obama’s foreign policies and maintained that it’s in response to an anti-Islamic film.
Rice echoed the sentiment, telling Chris Wallace that, “We’ve had the evolution of the Arab Spring over the last many months, but what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful, very offensive video that has offended many people around world.”
The strong view of the US, said Rice, is that there is no justifiable excuse for violence and any attacks are reprehensible. Rice noted that in the countries where violence erupted in response to the film, those governments stepped in to protect US facilities and condemned the violence.
Wallace countered with the argument of critics who says that our allies in the Middle East no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us. Rice repudiated
that claim, saying, “When President Obama picked up the phone and spoke to President Morsi, right away things changed, and that’s in evidence of our influence and our impact […] President Morsi issued repeated condemnations of the violent response and called for calm. And we’ve seen the same thing in Yemen, in Libya, in Tunisia and many other parts of the world.”
The Fox News Sunday host interjected, “Then why are we asking all non-[essential] governmental personnel to leave Sudan and Tunisia?”
Rice explained that where security conditions necessitate, family members and non-essential personnel are asked to leave temporarily in order to prioritize the protection of American citizens.
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The ambassador remained steadfast that, “We are of the view that this is not an expression of hostility in the broadest sense towards the United States or US policy. It’s proximately a reaction to this video, and it’s a hateful video that had nothing to do with the United States, and which we find disgusting and reprehensible.”
In regards to the relationship between Israel and the US, Rice said it is “very strong, stronger than ever.” She said that President Obama has been very clear when it comes to Iran in that the US will do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, adding, “All options remain on the table […] and that includes the military option. This is not a policy of containment."
A top Libyan official says that the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans including Amb. Chris Stevens was “preplanned” and revenge for the US killing of a top Al Qaeda leader. Rice disagrees, saying that it was a reaction to the protests on the US Embassy in Cairo as a consequence of the video. She added, “Obviously, we’ll wait for the results of the investigation and we don’t want to jump to conclusions before then.”