AMMAN, Jordan — As the demonstrations widened to about 20 countries on Friday, the aims and grievances of the protesters became significantly less clear. While the video, a roughshod production that depicts the Muslim Prophet Muhammad as a violent and barbaric philanderer, was a trigger for the violence, longstanding grievances against US influence in the region and deep, unaddressed socioeconomic problems appeared be feeding the unrest.
The wreckage of a Morrocan tank is pictured near the Western Sahara village of Tifariti. Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony which was annexed in 1975 by Morocco. The Polisario Front, backed by Algeria, wants independence for the territory on the west African coast. (Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)
As with Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and Iraq’s short-lived occupation of Kuwait, there are those who will try to justify illegitimate foreign occupations by making up such bizarre stories. However, it doesn’t mean they should be taken seriously.