The inflammatory film is merely the pretext, or rather a spark, that ignited the protests throughout the Muslim world… Here’s a MIT PoliSci Professor’s take…

Q. The proximate cause of many of the violent protests occurring right now is this video that was released online. But probably many of these demonstrators have not even seen the clip. To what extent should we think of these events as being caused by the video, and how much do they hinge on longer-term tensions?

A. I think the video is largely a trigger, as were the cartoons about Muhammad printed in Denmark some years back [in 2006]. The reality of the matter is that there are huge levels of latent anti-Americanism in the region, and despite the supportive role of the Obama administration in the Arab Spring [of 2011], the general population is largely anti-Western and anti-American. So these things can be very potent triggers, in getting people in the street. And, of course, some clerics readily use them as ways to mobilize people. We have had attacks in Tunis, in Yemen, in Khartoum against the Germans, so it is spreading.

It’s very disturbing, particularly in Egypt. … The Libyan government condemned the attacks, saying they wanted to bring the perpetrators to justice, while in Egypt the reaction of President Morsi was basically to say people should rally against the video. It was only later, after he got reprimanded by President Obama, that he basically accepted the fact that nobody should be getting attacked…

The ever intrepid Pepe Escobar further elaborates…

Brother Obama, where art thou?

MENA (Middle East/North Africa) is on fire. The diffuse rage – even if manifested by a tiny minority – is distinctly anti-American. Protests in Cairo have reached Sanaa in Yemen and even Bangladesh. The administration of US President Barack Obama is perplexed beyond belief. There will be revenge. What’s really going on? {…}

Another way to put it is that “liberated” Libya is now warlord country. Home of vendettas in the desert and tribal pogroms against other tribes – and even whole towns.

The Salafi-jihadis – with whom Washington, London and Paris were unashamedly in bed during their humanitarian bombing campaign – are based in Cyrenaica, eastern Libya. Some have come from Iraq. Some are shuttling back and forth to and from Syria, aiming to destroy yet one more secular Arab republic. {…}

The (disintegrated) police and army of “liberated” Libya could not possibly face them down. Local tribes don’t care. Salafi-jihadis have been attacking Sufi mosques and tombs; Sufi Islam is infinitely more moderate – and intellectually sophisticated – compared with medieval Wahhabism… {…}

Egypt is a much tougher, nuanced proposition – because it’s the model for the uneasy Washington-Muslim Brotherhood (MB) love affair, with the US betting on moderate Islamists as provisional substitutes of friendly dictators of the Hosni Mubarak kind. A complicating factor is that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is in direct competition with local Salafis – who got 25% in the congressional elections. So the MB won’t be very forceful in denouncing them – even though they are hated by the Salafis.

There’s virtually nothing the Obama administration can do to pressure Morsi. He has been extremely cunning – playing the US, the House of Saud and Qatar against one another. Whatever happens, the brief honeymoon between the Obama administration and the MB is destined to sour. The only regional actor to savor this will be Israel – which detested the honeymoon in the first place…

Speaking of Israel, take a gander at this recent riposte in the Jpost…

…”The world tells Israel ‘Wait, there is still time.’ And I say ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’” the prime minister said.

In an apparent reference to the public spat between the United States and Israel, former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told the Calcalist conference on Tuesday that preserving strong ties with the United States is an Israeli security necessity.

“We must preserve ties with the United States. I believe this is a security necessity,” he said.

In the past three years, he noted, US taxpayers have contributed more to the Israeli defense budget than Israeli taxpayers

The tinder that fuels the flames of the MENA angst is, and always has been, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, even CIA Chief Betrayus recognized that fact when he was CENTCOM Commander, in 2010… The Petraeus briefing…

Zogby reported in 2011… • Top Arab Concerns: U.S. Interference and Unresolved Palestine Issue…

Now, according to a recent Pew global poll…

…On a number of specific issues, there is a sense that Obama has not lived up to the expectations people had for him when he first took office. The 2009 Pew Global Attitudes survey found that many believed the new American president would act multilaterally, seek international approval before using military force, take a fair approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and make progress on climate change. As the current survey reveals, few now believe he has actually accomplished these things…

…Only 15 percent of people in Muslim countries have a favorable view of the U.S. and it’s trending downward. Favorable ratings are 48% in Lebanon, Tunisia 45%, Egypt 19%, Turkey 15%, Jordan 12%, Pakistan 12%…

…Regarding drone strikes, disapproval is: Tunisia 72%, Turkey 81%, Egypt 89%, Jordan 85%…

For years now, I’ve been calling for the Oily Bomber to return his Nobel Peace Prize, and the million bucks, back to Oslo…!

*gah*