U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned yesterday of the challenges posed by rising militancy after the Arab Spring as she appeared before U.S. lawmakers to be grilled about a deadly attack.
“Benghazi didn’t happen in a vacuum,” Clinton said at the start of a Senate hearing into the September 11 assault on a U.S. mission in eastern Libya. “The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region,” she told the Senate Foreign Relations committee called to review the lessons learned from the Benghazi attack, in which U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
She warned lawmakers that U.S. diplomacy could not pull back in face of the new challenges posed by the evolving geopolitical landscape. “We cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences.
Extremism takes root, our interests suffer, and our security at home is threatened,” she said. Clinton also highlighted “instability in Mali,” saying it “has created an expanding safe haven for terrorists who look to extend their influence and plot further attacks of the kind we saw just last week in Algeria.”