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Boko Haram: has the end really come?

BreakingNews @en di

Over 800 hostages freed by Nigerian army and several jihadists killed in the last two months. The latest events in Nigeria revealed that Boko Haram is regressing. And they’d certify what leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video published on March 24: “For me the end has come”. So, has Boko Haram really finished?

Not only against Nigeria, especially in Borno State. But also against Camerun, Chad and Niger. During two last year Boko Haram tried to expand itself over several African regions. 8,700 troops from these four countries struggled against jihadist organization. Up until today, with Buhari’s supposed victory. And with the Shekau’s video, which seems to confirm this end.

Over all Nigerian geopolitical issues, it’s a given, as reported by European Affairs in the last news about Nigeria, that Boko Haram lost several villages in Borno States. But, as confirmed by US AfriCom to online newspaper Premium Times, “Boko Haram continues to rule very significant portions of the national northern territory as well as al Shabaab is still present in limited portions of Somalia”.

So, how confirmed by these sentences and how underlined by several international sources, Boko Haram end has not still happened. And Shekau’s announcement could mean a change of ISIS organization leadership.


Giacomo Pratali


IS attacks on Brussels: another intelligence failure

BreakingNews @en di

Two explosions at Brussels airport. Another one at the Maelbeek metro station. At least 34 killed and over 234 injured. It’s the toll of jihadist attack on Belgium capital on March 22. Islamic State claimed responsibility. After French intelligence last November, also Belgian one fails after the capture in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam four days ago.

Two attack at Zaventern airport happened at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. They were located in front of American Airlines check-in. The third one happened at Maelbeek metro station, close to EU buildings one hour later. Two suspected, recorded by closed-circuit TV surveillance, were immediately arrested. While five others are wanted.

Islamic State claimed responsibility on its press news Amaq at once. But, as reported by international media, these attacks on Brussels were planned just a few days ago, after capture of Salah Abdeslam, a prime suspect of Paris attacks.

After Paris, also Brussels went under attack. And, like last November, also three blasts on March 22 marked the failure of European intelligence. Indeed, Belgian government knew that terrorist attacks could be likely, as Belgian prime minister Charles Michel during press conference.

Libya: Rome, two Italian hostages killed

BreakingNews @en/Europe di

“In connection to the circulation of several images of the victims, apparently Westerners, of a shootout in Libya’s Sabratha region, the Farnesina informs that from the images, albeit in the absence of bodies, it could be possible to identify two of the four Italians who worked for the Bonatti construction company and who were kidnapped in July 2015.  More specifically, the images could be of Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla. The Farnesina has already informed the families. However, despite efforts to verify the news, confirmation thereof is made difficult due to the absence of the bodies ”. On March 3, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thursday confirmed that Fausto Piano, 61, and Salvatore Failla, 47, were killed in Libya. While the other two Italian coworker kidnapped last July, Filippo Calcagno and Gino Pollicardo, “are still alive “, as reported by the president of Copasir Marco Minniti.

News item

On March 3, Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla were probably killed during a shoot-out near Sabratha between Tripoli’s security forces, led by Fajr Libya, and an ISIS brigade. According to local sources, the two Italians would be hit while they were traveling aboard a jihadist convoy.

Images on web and the statement of Italian government certified their kill. But there are two doubts. The first one is about the kidnapping of July 20, 2015 because the four Bonatti employeers returned to their home not by sea, but by car. An unusual choice seeing that Eni and Bonatti workers generally choose the first option.

The second one is about imprisonment during the following months, when a claim never arrived. Even until late February, local sources excluded ISIS responsibility. But what happened last Wednesday showed the opposite because jihadists used the two Italians as a shield. While men Fajr Libya were not aware that in Daesh convoy were present Fausto Piano and Salvatore Failla.
Giacomo Pratali


Libya, US: new Iraq on the horizon?

BreakingNews @en di

Yesterday Tobruk parliament once again postponed voting on new government until February 29. Meanwhile, the US and its European partners are thinking about a military intervention without Libyan approval: Islamic State’s stabilization and about 6,000 enlisted were changing Libya in the new Iraq.

During February, several news about the US, UK and France landing at Libya were been reported by international press. The last one is about France which, as written by Le Monde, should have send about 180 soldiers against Daesh.

Even United States is preparing a military plan. After agreement with Italian government, which allowed US drones to fly out for attacks on Daesh, Barack Obama is pressing not only Libyan factions to ratify national unity government, but also Rome to play an active role in an always more probably military intervention in Libya.

The risk is especially one: repeating the same mistake of 2011. But the hesitation of Libyan House of Representatives could cause a plan B. A scenario which could exclude the Italian leadership in international operation and unpopular with al-Sarraj government and the majority of population. Indeed, they would want a military training and assistance from foreign countries.

If United States and its partners decided to intervene without new government approval, Islamic State could increase its popularity among foreign fighters and Libyan people because the war could become a war between Islam and West.

Beyond these doubts, Obama’s political consultants push to immediately go in Libya, as reported by Washington Post. Indeed, Libya is becoming new Daesh headquarters, where always more jihadists are enlisting them. In this way, it could repeat the same context of Iraq in 2014, when the White House didn’t intervene until the next 18 months and Islamic State strengthened its positions.
Giacomo Pratali


Geopolitical Hot Spots

BreakingNews @en di

The main news from the world between January and the beginning of February.


Strike and counterstrike between government forces (supported by United Nations) and the al Shabaab militants. Saturday, February 6 jihadists conquered the city of Merca, one of the largest ports in the country, 70 kilometers from Mogadishu. But the reply was not long in coming. The next day, army reconquered the town.

At least 10 people and about 40 injured in an explosive attack in Quetta, where the Frontier Corps convoy was hit. The action was claimed by TTP.

2 terrorists killed as response to an attack by a jihadist group against a UN base in Timbuktu. The action was not still claimed.

The body of Giulio Regeni, 28, PhD student, returned to Italy, after its corpse was found dead in Egypt on February 3. Local police told about an incident, but Italian investigators didn’t believe this it. Indeed, body had several signs of violence. Suspects are now concentrated on local police, which should have kidnap and torture Regeni because of his contacts with rebel organizations.

Army killed two suspected Islamic rebels during clashes in the center of Cairo on February 3.

It does not stop the violence in Yemen. They would be at least 30 killed following clashes between army, primarily supported by Saudi Arabia, and Houtii Shiite rebels about 60 kilometers from Sanaa, one of the epicenters of the war involving the Arab country in recent months. According to the latest UN data, about 6,000 people were killed by the Saudi bombings since March 2015.

Had Taliban origin terrorist action took place in the center of Kabul at the beginning of February. A suicide bomber exploded near a police station, killing 20 people and injuring at least 30. The victims were both civilian and police.

Payback between two opposing Islamic factions, protagonists of the Syrian civil war. On Monday 1 February, ISIS and the Nusra Front militants fought near Arsal, in the North-East of the country. About 20 killed.


Boko Haram still continues its actions and crimes. As the killing of 4 civilians following an attack on two villages in Borno State. But, above all, the raid on January 30, where jihadists set on fire the village of Dalori. 85 killed, inclunding women and children found charred.


Giacomo Pratali


Regeni: Egyptian government hides the truth

BreakingNews @en di

Giulio Regeni murder mystery is continuing. The admission from three sources of Egyptian intelligence, that the 28 year old was arrested for his impertinent behavior and, above all, because he was suspected of being a spy due to his relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Left Movement April 6, were denied today by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior which, on Mena news agency, repudiated “that Italian student was arrested before he was found dead on the outskirts of Cairo.”

First of all, reliable data. The autopsy showed signs of torture on Regeni’s body, including seven broken ribs and signs of electrocution on genital area.

But, in the past 48 hours, it emerged a dichotomy between what is reported by international media as New York Times and Reuters and as Italian Corriere della Sera and Repubblica, and the Egyptian authorities interpretation. Beyond the denial, there is an ongoing attempt to deflect investigations.

Some witnesses, believed to be reliable at first, now clash with intelligence sources commentaries, separately and anonymously interviewed by New York Times, and with surveillance cameras which should have recorded the arrest on January 25.

As revealed by the three witnesses of the intelligence, Regeni’s growing interest about the Egyptian trade unions, opposed by President Al Sisi, would have persuaded local authorities to think that the Italian Ph.D was a spy.

According to Corriere della Sera, last December the University of Cambridge, near which was Regeni graduate student, would have asked him to step up research within trade unions and opposition movements. For this reason, the last weeks of his life should be marked by the attendance at meetings of such movements and the knowledge of trade union and Muslim Brotherhood members.

But what did really happen on January 25? Regeni’s Facebook chat denied that he was arrested by two policemen. Here, the Ph.D talks to his girlfriend and his professor after two hours compared with some witnesses report.

It’s evident that Regeni’s contacts have made the Egyptian intelligence suspicious before January 25, the day of his disappearance.
Giacomo Pratali


Nigeria: Boko Haram is alive and kicking

Senza categoria di

President Muhammadu Buhari’s optimism after a few victories against Boko Haram rebels is not realistic. Atrocities in the village of Dalori, where jihadists set fire causing about 90 killed, including children, and the recent attack on a hamlet in Borno State, where three people died, report that the war in the North-East of the country is not over yet.

Since his assignment in 2015, Buhari, in collaboration with Cameroon and Chad, defeated several times Boko Haram troops. Indeed, unlike his predecessor, the Christian Jonathan Goodluck, he’s Muslim and comes from northern Nigeria: so, it’s a crucial factor in the fight against Islamist organization.

However, there are many negative causes. These victories did not go with an improvement of Nigeria as State. Because of lack of funds, the homes, schools and churches restoration didn’t happen. Consequently, the reconstruction of social fabric failed.

All this in a context of permanent opposition between the South, Christian, richer and more developed; and the North, Muslim, poorer and with less infrastructure. A contrast worsened in the last year by the charges of human rights abuses against civilians to Nigerian army, while it was hunting down Boko Haram in Borno State.

A discontent used by Boko Haram, as Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, to recruit people.

Buhari’s optimism discloses an underestimation of the opponent. An opponent which took a specify military tactic in recent months. It disappears when it has difficulties and reappears when conditions allow. And it resorts more to raids than suicide attacks.

The tactics of Boko Haram combined with now long-standing war against the Nigerian state tell us about a real war. For this reason, as written by Financial Times, a few victories do not mean the end of this war.

As evidence of this, in an interview Vicenews on HBO, a Boko Haram commander told about more than 200 Chibok girls abducted on April 15, 2014: “I know where they are. You want to know where they are? They are not with us. If we can get what we want, we know where they are, we will get them.” Challenging words which explain how Boko Haram is alive and kicking.
Giacomo Pratali


Libya: what’s the real role of Italy?

Politics di

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.

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


Ukraine-Russia: gas, ban and recession

Policy di

Relations between Ukraine and Russia have returned hot. Especially from diplomatically viewpoint. The gas issue, in which Kiev has the upper hand. The trade and food embargo and food against Ukraine by Moscow. The Kremlin, gripped by recession, in search of a rapprochement with Europe.

This diplomatic war is putting Minsk II at risk. Moreover, winter has allowed gas supplies to come back a geopolitical topic. Indeed, as reported by Bloomberg, situation has turned around, with Russia ready to lower the price to Ukraine (the agreement is in force until 2019), rather than lose Kiev as strategic point for distribution in Europe.

But the reduced dependence from Moscow, with the increase in supplies from Norway and Algeria, make Putin less decisive on the energy front. While Poroshenko is not in a hurry to find a compromise on gas supplies and to grant autonomy to Donbass. Even the statements of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the opportunity to exploit the South Stream project, bypassing Ukraine because of its instability, is not worrying Kiev and is not persuading Brussels.

Another issue is food embargo and new custom tax for Ukraine, as already provided for all those EU countries that have introduced sanctions against Russia. A measure which have casted Kiev out CSI galaxy.

At last, the Russian economy which is in recession. GDP dropped by 3.7%, just as the ruble, forced the Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev to announce a plan within the next week. Two causes that have contributed to this crash, also visible in the relations of exchange with the EU area:oil price drop and, secondary, economic sanctions imposed by West.

The Ukrainian stiffening and Russian difficulties are leading to a change in the attitude of the European countries and the United States against Kiev and Moscow. During the meeting in Russia with Lavrov, the French Foreign Minister Emmanuel Macron said that “”The objective we all share is to provide the lifting of sanctions by the summer, as far as the [peace] process [in southeastern Ukraine] is respected.” While Secretary of State John Kerry though that “I believe that with effort and with bona fide, legitimate intent to solve the problem on both sides, it is possible in these next months to get to a place where sanctions can be appropriately removed.”

Words which are clearly a warning to Kiev, invited to recede from his extremism, given the temporary ceasefire in Donbass. Also because of Syrian context, relations with Russia are back warme. France, which is also engaged in Syria against the Islamic State, as well as West, have every interest to close Ukrainian crisis, to focus on the Middle East and Libya, the other theater of a probable military intervention.
Giacomo Pratali


Libya: yes to government

BreakingNews @en di

Member of Presidency Council has named new national unity government, assembled by Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj, four vicepresidents and 19 of 32 ministers. Conversely, the lacking designation of Ministry of Defence to Khalifa Haftar has caused abstention of two Tobruk representatives. Now HoR will have to ratify new government.

The political representatives International welcomed the news, as the UN envoy Martin Kobler: “The formation of the government of national accord is one important leap on the path to peace and stability in Libya.  But now parliament have to endorse the unity government”.

“We are facing a real opportunity to stabilise the country, which must be seized by everyone. Now it is essential for the Chamber of Representatives in Tobruk to hastily approve the list of cabinet members,” Paolo Gentiloni, Italy’s foreign minister, said,

In addition to Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj and the four vicepresidents representing the whole Libya, here is the list of new ministers:

Marwan Ali, Foreign Affairs;
al Taher Mohamed Sarkaz, Finances;
Khalifa Rajab Abdul Sadeq, Oil;
Mohamed Faraj al Mahjoub, Internation Cooperation;
Bedad Qonso Masoud, Internal Governance;
Mohamed Soliman Bourguiba, Health;
Khair Melad Abu Baker, Education;
Mahmud Gomaa, University;
Abdul Motalib Boufarwa, Economy;
Khaled Muftah Abdul Qader, Economic Development;
Atef al Bahary, Telecommunications;
Hisham Abdullah, Transport;
Faraj al Taher Snoussi, Industry;
Osama Saad Hamad, Electricity;
Adel Mohamed Sultan, Agricolture;
Faddy Mansour al Shafey, Labor;
Mokhtar Abdullah Gouili, Vocational Training;
Ahmed Khalifa Bridan, Community Affairs;
Osama Mohammed Abdul Hady, Water Resources.
Giacomo Pratali


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