Arab Winter? Unrest sparks debate on US policy

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Protesters standing atop security post of the main entrance of US Embassy during an anti US demonstration, Tunis, Tunisia

Protesters standing atop security post of the main entrance of US Embassy during an anti US demonstration, Tunis, Tunisia (AP photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Has the Arab Winter arrived? It’s a question analysts in Washington are asking as anti-American demonstrations spread across North Africa and the Middle East to protest a video ridiculing Islam.

Those skeptical of promoting democracy in Muslim countries or who’ve feared a rapid decline in American influence may see their suspicions validated. Even among those who’ve championed the end of autocracies, the level of rage wrought by an anti-Islam film has been ominous.

U.S. embassies and consulates were breached this week in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia – the same four countries to rid themselves of decades-long dictatorships last year. In Libya, the only place the U.S. used its military to ensure regime change, the violence was worst. There, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three colleagues were killed.

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