President Barack Obama watches while caskets are placed into vehicles during the Transfer of Remains Ceremony marking the return to the United States of the remains of the four Americans killed this week in Benghazi, Libya, at Joint Base Andrews, Friday, September 14, 2012. (Pool photo by Molly Riley/Polaris via Abaca Press/MCT)
In December 2010, a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in protest of the unfair economic and political laws of Tunisia. Not only did he light himself on fire, he set the Arab world on fire with the series of national protests he inspired that would be Arab Spring.
Arab Spring became a group of national protests that have spanned all Arab nations on different scales, inspired three related protests in Europe, and brought down four governments and numerous reforms in almost every other nation.
Tunisia's President Ben Ali was the first leader to be brought down after a month and a half of protests. Then almost a month later came Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak resignation from power. By March he was sentenced to life in prison.
Seven months later, Libyan dictator of 42 years, was killed in a culvert in his hometown of Sirte.
Then, in February Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was out of office after elections brought about by eight months of protesting and one assassination attempt took place.
Now Syria has faced almost two years of protests and officially two months of an all-out civil war, as declared by the Red Cross and United Nations, with no end of President Bashir al-Assad's Bashir al-Assad's reign in sight.
That was a year and eight months of Arab Spring, so far.
At some point, Mubarak and Ben Ali were considered important allies to the United States in the Middle East until their respective falls.
Gadaffi and Assad have been labeled as enemies of the U.S. by multiple administrations. Both called the U.S. as world police and denounced American involvement in Middle Eastern/Arabic affairs.
But now out of the ashes of Libya's civil war, Egypt's uncertain future, and Yemen's unstable government, new hatred of American has been brewing.
On Tuesday, Sept.11 protestors in Benghazi, Libya attacked and ransacked the American consulate, killing Amb Christopher Stevens and three others. It has been reported by CNN that the attack was fueled by outrage toward an American produced film slamming Islamic culture.
The consulate had been overran and burned by fires caused by protestors and attackers with rocket-launched grenades. It was later reported by the New York Times that the attack and protests were pre-planned.
In the following aftermath, President Obama called the attacks as terrible acts in his official response and Libyan President Yousef el-Magariaf apologized for the attacks and confirming, “no-one will escape from punishment and questioning.”
At home the protests brought negative comments toward Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for his remarks criticizing Obama for his approach toward the Arab world and reaction.
Fox News reported that “Romney criticized the government’s response to the crisis, saying it was disgraceful to be seen apologizing for American values of free speech.” This brought backlash from both sides of the aisle with Republicans criticizing Romney for his comments.
Other than political fire at home, fires were burning on the streets of Cairo when protestors attacked the American Embassy in Cairo on Wednesday, Sept. 12 during the night. The Washington Post reported that protestors had climbed the walls of the compound and tore down the American flag and replaced it with one with Islamic slogans.
Riot police were able to push protestors back out of the embassy compound to Tahrir Square, the site of the protests that brought down Mubarak.
The following night, Sept. 13, Yemeni protestors jumped the gates of the American Embassy in Sana’a. The protestors set several vehicles on fire before being pushed out on to the streets by Yemeni riot police.
Two other American diplomatic missions were attacked following the previous: the embassy compound in Tunis, Tunisia and the consulate in Chendai, India.
In the Tunisian attacks,Al Jazeera reported that rioters had stormed the compound and set trees on fire and then were pushed back to the streets.
The consulate attacks in Chendai were the least severe of all attacks with only stones and shoes being thrown at the building and protestors, as reported by the Times of India.
Following the aftermath of all the attacks, the U.S. government has responded by sending two warships to the coast of Libya and 50 Marines to Yemen and recalling all non-essential personnel and issuing travel warnings for most Islamic nations.
Yemeni leaders have called the increase of troops as outrageous and demanding the U.S. Marines return home. Sudan has refused entry to the incoming U.S. Marines, as reported by the Washington Times.
This is only the latest in the series of events to strike the war ravaged Middle East.