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Our forgotten Libya

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Commentary. ‘If someone wants to play war, we’re not going to just stand idly by,’ threatened Minister Salvini. What exactly does he have in mind?

written by Tommaso Di Francesco

Topic Middle East and North Africa

Also filed under commentary


April 16, 2019

We are so busy trying to tease out the hidden actors behind the Libyan crisis that we are no longer willing to see what is clearly before our eyes.

It’s easier to blame the devious Macron who is supposedly the force behind Haftar’s military prowess, and, of course, the dirty oil money from Saudi Arabia—the same money which we’re all too happy to accept in exchange for weapons to use in the conflict in Yemen, since they’re our privileged clients after all—or the United States’ decision to “distance themselves” while still secretly backing the role of the Saudis; or, indeed, Putin, who is waiting on the sidelines until the West makes a complete mess of things, just as he did in Syria.

All these various explanations make it all too easy to forget the responsibility of our governments, both of the center-right and center-left, which have been at the helm in Italy over the past eight years. And they also serve to cover up another small but crucial fact: in March-April 2011, Italy suffered its greatest historical defeat since the Second World War: even though we had signed several agreements with Gaddhafi, we accepted NATO’s disastrous war.

Was it the fault of shifty Sarkozy, jealous of the oil deals secured by Italy and also intending to cover up the fact that he had received funds from Tripoli for his election campaign? Sure, that’s all true. But where was Italy in all of this? Obediently lining up behind the French fighter-bombers,........

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