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Shifting sands in Middle East

By He Wenping (China Daily)

08:16, September 19, 2012

Despite US facilitating regime changes, widespread anger shows it needs to change its policies toward Arab countries

On the surface, the latest wave of anti-US rage in the Middle East, which left Chris Stevens, the United States' ambassador to Libya, and three other embassy staff members dead, was triggered by a controversial US-made film deemed offensive to Islam.

However, the longstanding animosity toward the United States in the Middle East has at least four causes that Washington needs to address.

First, although the seven-month revolution in Libya was concluded with the killing of former leader Muammar Gadhafi, democracy has failed to flourish. Ever since the collapse of Gadhafi's regime, the interim government has been struggling, and so far failing, to rein in the armed militias that emerged from the civil war, most of which refuse to disarm or join the outgunned national army or police force.

Gadhafi once said that should he be gone, Libya would sink into chaos and people would be lost and confused. One year after the revolutionary triumph, Libya is still facing complex challenges including corruption, the pervasive use of arms and a weak economy, and these to a certain extent justify his prediction.

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