Aboard A US Military Aircraft: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta says the turmoil raging across the Muslim world is likely to continue into the days ahead, but he says the violence expected by the US appears to be levelling off.
He said the Pentagon has "deployed our forces to a number of areas in the region to be prepared to respond to any requests that we receive to be able to protect our personnel and our American property."
He declined to provide more details on reports that the military may be moving additional military forces so they can respond to unrest in any of a number of regions of concern.
"I think our approach right now is to not do anything until we`ve been requested to do it by the State Department," Panetta told reporters travelling with him to Asia. But he noted that, "I think that we have to continue to be very vigilant because I suspect that ... These demonstrations are likely to continue over the next few days, if not longer."
Protests by furious Muslims erupted in countries around the world in recent days, with some spawning violence and even deaths over an anti-Islam video shot in California.
In places like Libya, Sudan and Tunisia, protesters stormed US embassies, and an American fast food restaurant was burned in Lebanon.