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Libya: what’s the real role of Italy?

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Syria more than Libya was the main topic during the Rome meeting of the anti-ISIS Small Group on February 2. Summit was held chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni, the summit was attended by 23 foreign ministers, including the EU Representative Federica Mogherini.

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During the press conference after meeting, Kerry told about a global battle against Daesh in Syria, Iraq and Libya: “This theater of war will be longer, more than a war between two states”. He excluded the possibility of a ground intevention of US armed forces, but ensured logistical and training supports when new Libyan government will approve international military operation. Moreover, Secretary of State remembered that Italy is “one of the most active countries anti-ISIS”.

And Libya? Political impasse to create new government in Tripoli is not only favoring once again
the radicalization of Daesh, but is causing knock-out effects. Risk is only one: Western countries could repeat the same error of 2011 if did not wait for new government approval for military intervention.

As revealed by the Sunday Times, intelligences of the United Kingdom, United States and France would be active at a base near Tobruk, where they are already planning interventions on the ground and the introduction of a permanent headquarters. So, what this possibile UN military intervention really is? A support to local forces? Several bomb raid? Or even a ground intervention?

Last December, writing to his Italian counterpart Roberta Pinotti, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said: “I hope that Italy will take part in raid against Islamic State. “ Conflicting words compared with Kerry and Gentiloni recent statements.

Ultimately, this summit did not change anything about Libyan crisis. Moreover, this deadlock could relegate Italy to subordinate role during the probably UN military intervention.
Giacomo Pratali

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Giacomo Pratali
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