How do US missions protect themselves? A photo gallery.

iraqembassy.jpg

This photo shows US Marines walking past the front of the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on Feb. 6, 2007. On Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Protestors also attacked and vandalized the US Embassy in Cairo.

Credit:

John Moore

The US consulate in Benghazi is still smoking after an attack caused the violent and disturbingly symbolic death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens on Tuesday.

Protestors also attacked and vandalized the US Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday, making it a terrifying week for US foreign service representatives abroad. In this climate, it's worth taking a look at the fortifications that US missions in challenging countries usually contain — and what can happen when those defenses fail. 

Read more from GlobalPost: Who was US Ambassador Chris Stevens?

Before Stevens, the most recent Ambassador to be killed in service to the US was Adolph Dubs, ambassador to Afghanistan from 1978 until his 1979 death.

Dubs was kidnapped by Islamic extremists while driving to the US Embassy in a bulletproof vehicle in Kabul, and was later killed in the crossfire as Afghan security forces attempted to rescue him, in an event that remains controversial to this day. 

Comparing and contrasting photos from the 1979 Iranian storming of the US Embassy in Tehran, and those coming out of Iran and Egypt this week, is a disturbing exercise — and an object lesson in how little, perhaps, has changed. 

  • iraqembassy.jpg

    This photo shows US Marines walking past the front of the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on Feb. 6, 2007. On Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Protestors also attacked and vandalized the US Embassy in Cairo.

    Credit:

    John Moore

  • iraq-embassy-horshoes.jpg

    U.S. soldiers throw horse shoes while protected by blast walls from insurgent attacks at the American Embassy February 6, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq . The platoon of Marines from the Anti-Terrorism Battalion is tasked with defending the exterior of U.S. diplomatic mission against attacks in one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

    Credit:

    John Moore

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    A US embassy worker holds his body armour and helmet as he walks in the compound at the US embassy in Kabul on September 14, 2011.

    Credit:

    AFP/Getty Images

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    U.S. Marine jogs inside blast walls of the compound of the American Embassy near the Euphrates River February 5, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq . The platoon of Marines from the Anti-Terrorism Battalion is tasked with defending the exterior of U.S. diplomatic mission against attacks in one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

    Credit:

    John Moore

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    The US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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    Kabul Official July 4th Celebration

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    Afghan military personal fill a street during an attack by Taliban militants September 13, 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan.Taliban fighters fired assault rifles and rocket-propelled in an attack on the U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters and other buildings in in Kabul with reports saying that at least nine people wer killed and 23 wounded.

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    Getty Images

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    The wreckage of a car sits inside the US Embassy compound on September 12, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, following an overnight attack on the building. The US ambassador to Libya and three of his colleagues were killed in an attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city by Islamists outraged over an amateur American-made Internet video mocking Islam, less than six months after being appointed to his post.

    Credit:

    Stringer

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    The US flag flutters for the first time in 30 years outside the US embassy in Tripoli during a flag-raising ceremony on May 13, 2009. Relations had worsened between Washington and Tripoli after a Pan Am flight was blown up by Libya over Lockerbie, Scotland during a London to New York trip in 1988, killing 270 people.

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    Mahmud Turkia

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    A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012.

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    STR

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    An Anti-American crowd demonstrates outside of the U.S. Embassy, 20 November 1979. The fanatical followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini stormed the United States Embassy, 04 November 1979 in Tehran, occupied the building and took nearly 100 embassy staff and Marines hostages.

    Credit:

    Staff

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    Anti-American slogans outside of the U.S. Embassy, 20 November 1979. The fanatical followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini stormed the United States Embassy, 04 November 1979 in Tehran, occupied the building and took nearly 100 embassy staff and Marines hostages.

    Credit:

    Staff

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    An Iranian man walks past a mock Statue of Liberty bearing prison bars outside the main building of the former US embassy in Tehran on November 19, 2011. The United States said Iran was now locked in 'unprecedented' isolation after UN bodies overwhelmingly condemned its nuclear programme and an alleged Tehran-planned terror plot.

    Credit:

    Atta Kenare

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    A 30 April 1975 photo shows a North Vietnamese military truck pulling a canon pass the abandoned US Embassy in Saigon after the city fell into the hands of communist troops on the same day, marking the end of the Vietnam War.

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    AFP/Getty Images

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    The attack upon the US embassy in Saigon during the Tet Offensive was one event that left an indelible impression upon the minds of the American public.

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    US Army Military History Institute

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    The embassy was struck by a number of rockets during the VC attack as clearly seen in this image of the embassy façade. Even after the embassy was secured there was a great deal of uncertainty as to what was happening and where the next attack might occur.

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    US Military History Institute

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    Lebanese riot police stand guard as protestors wave the Palestinian flag and stand behind barbed-wires during a demonstration in front of the US embassy in Beirut on January 4, 2009 against Israel's deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip.

    Credit:

    Stringer

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    Rescuers work to help survivors amid the devastation brought in by a bomb explosion near the US embassy and a bank in Nairobi 07 August that killed at least 60 people, including eight Americans, and left more than 1,000 injured.

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    Stringer