Even as anti-American violence eased Saturday around the Muslim world, tensions remained high — stoked, in some nations, by the prospect of U.S. troops arriving to protect U.S. diplomatic missions.
The widespread protests connected to an online trailer for an inflammatory anti-Islam film privately produced in the United States were relatively thin and calm, and in some places nonexistent, on Saturday compared to earlier in the week.
Yet even with this relative break, the furor has not gone away completely, nor has concern over safety and security at U.S. embassies.
But U.S. troops haven’t necessarily been welcomed.
Yemen’s parliament issued a statement early Sunday demanding U.S. Marines leave the Arab country immediately, calling the presence of any foreign forces — and U.S. troops in particular — “unacceptable.”
Afghan police killed four American soldiers coming to their aid after a checkpoint attack Sunday, the third “insider” assault by government forces or insurgents disguised in military uniforms in as many days.
The escalating violence — including a NATO airstrike that killed eight Afghan women and girls gathering firewood in a remote part of the country — strained the military partnership between Kabul and NATO as the U.S. begins to withdraw thousands of troops sent three years ago to route the Taliban from southern strongholds.
So far this year, 51 international service members have died at the hands of Afghan soldiers or policemen or insurgents wearing their uniforms. At least 12 such attacks came in August alone, leaving 15 dead.
The surge in insider attacks is a sign of how security has deteriorated as NATO prepares its military exit from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.