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Thu Sep 20, 2012, 08:42 AM

Analysis: 'Manufactured outrage' behind Middle East protests

Updated at 7:53 a.m. ET: CAIRO It's been just over a week since hundreds, perhaps a thousand, angry and offended Egyptians gathered outside the U.S. Embassy's gates in Cairo. They carried Islamist banners and chanted, "The only God is God and Muhammad is his Prophet.''

At one point perhaps two dozen of the more brazen protesters scaled the wall and breached the embassy grounds. They lowered and destroyed the U.S. flag and raised a black, Islamic flag in its place. They fled when security guards (not the Egyptian police) fired warning shots over their heads.

This amounted to little violence, but the act itself was the psychological equivalent of taking a beachhead. Within hours reports emerged that a similarly sized group had stormed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Some were calling it a copy-cat protest, but it was much more perilous: Four Americans were killed in the melee, including the U.S. ambassador. Within 48
hours the world would witness similar scenes unfolding at U.S. embassies, businesses and symbols of power in more than 20 countries.

This paroxysm of protest and violence had begun in Cairo. But what, really, began there?
Much of the mainstream media has played it as a spontaneous reaction to a disgusting film clip which denigrated Muslims and happened to be made and promoted in the USA.


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