The Marine Corps involvement in Egypt and Libya

The Marine Corps has issued a statement regarding its involvement in the recent actions in Egypt and Libya. In Egypt, the Corps says that, contrary to the report I wrote about earlier today, the U.S. Ambassador did not impose restrictions on weapons or weapons status on the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group detachment. The Marines in Cairo were allowed to have live ammunition in their weapons. The specific Rules of Engagement under which the Marines operated are classified.

In Libya, the Corps says that no Marines are stationed at the Embassy in Tripoli or the Consulate in Benghazi. Security in Libya, such as it existed, apparently was provided by contractors. The Rules of Engagement under which they operated are unclear.

Decisions regarding whether to have Marines at particular U.S. embassies and consulates fall to the State Department, according to the Marine Corps statement. In the case of Tripoli, the Corps says there were discussions with the State Department about establishing a detachment at the embasssy in Tripoli, a new embassy, some time in the next five years. That may seem like a long time, but for bureaucrats it is often considered ASAP.

The security contingent in Egypt proved to be adequate on the day. According to the Marine Corps, only six of the 2,000 protesters entered the embassy grounds compound, and they were all seized and turned over to local authorities (for better or for worse).

Libya, of course, is another matter. Perhaps the State Department will follow the example of the Marines and issue a statement explaining those security arrangements and their breakdown.

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