Andrew Reynolds, chairman of UNC’s global studies department, advised Libya’s Transitional National Council last year. The Daily Tar Heel interviewed Reynolds about the recent crises at U.S. embassies in Libya and other Middle Eastern countries in which Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans were killed last week.
Daily Tar Heel: What do you think sparked this anti-American sentiment in Libya and other Middle Eastern countries? Was it the movie that depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad in a negative light, or was it some bigger plot on the 9/11 anniversary?
Andrew Reynolds: Obviously, I don’t know for sure, but it seems like there’s a lot of growing anti-Americanism in those countries — especially in Libya and Egypt and Yemen — and this was a spark. There was a lot of misinformation going around about the video, and it was a spark that led to an opening for extremist groups to attack American interrelations.
It’s not clear how well planned it was, but this happens quite regularly — that there’s an event in the West that upsets Islamic movements in the region, and some of the groups take advantage of that.
DTH: What obstacles have Libyan leaders faced in their attempt to transition to a democratic form of government?