Libya: whoever sheep becomes a wolf eats it

(To Antonio Li Gobbi)

Gaius Julius Phaedrus (Phaedrus) had illustrated it well (with the fable of the wolf and the lamb, but it seems that in the Rome of two thousand years later they did not realize it: whoever makes a wolf eats it. unfortunately, to the Italian "sheep" and the Turkish "wolf".

The hostile signals towards us from the "Sultan" have been many and repeated. All shyly set aside by our "political masters". The case of the Saipem 12000 platform was certainly striking, but he wasn't the only one!

On the other hand, since we have always "sketched" (unlike other nations, decidedly more firm in the defense of their interests, such as France and Greece), we should not be surprised if in Ankara they are convinced that they can always trample us with impunity and that, indeed, we will continue to be slavishly grateful to him. In fact, Italy is one of the few countries that has voted against sanctions against the Sultan's unscrupulous energy policy in the Mediterranean. A policy that also damages Italian interests.

The last "slap" in chronological order was to force us to move the Italian military hospital to Misrata. "Slap" passed as usual in silence enough from our press.

On August 17, the Deputy Minister of Defense of the GNA (Salah Al-Namroush), that is the government of Tripoli which is also supported by Rome, signed an agreement with the Turkish (Halusi Akar) and Qatari (Khalid al Attyha) defense ministers who it strengthens even more the hold on Tripolitania of these two countries (and, through them, of the Muslim Brotherhood).

The agreement does not have a purely tactical-operational value, but has a worrying political-strategic nature. We are facing a further step in Ankara's colonization of Libya. This step follows the agreement of last February on the EEZ (which already has a series of extremely worrying consequences for the exploitation of offshore gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean).

The new agreement, as far as is known, essentially provides for the wealthy Qatar to finance the reconstruction of the Libyan security forces, which will take place under the close direction of Ankara. This already appears worrying.

Even more relevant, at least for us Italians, are the clauses relating to the port city of Misurata, whose port will host (on the basis of a 99-year concession!) What will be the most important Turkish naval base on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. while the Turkish air force will set up the al-Watya air base in Western Tripolitania. It is clear that this is not just about helping the GNA defend itself against Haftar! An air-naval system is created amidst general indifference, which will be the "center" from which to radiate Turkish military activities, and not only military ones, both in the entire Mediterranean basin and towards Saharan Africa. In fact, an important stone is laid for the realization of the project dear to Erdogan of reconstituting Ottoman power also in its geographical dimension.

The Turkish naval base of Misrata will certainly be able to support the continuation of the aggressive policy of gas exploration in the Mediterranean carried out by Ankara. Which perhaps shouldn't leave us indifferent. The agreement also provides for the establishment of a tripartite military coordination center (Turkey, Qatar and GNA) with its headquarters in Misrata. Obviously, among the three components of the coordination center it is easy to imagine who will give the directives and who will carry them out.

In practice, the so-called "political Islam" inspired by the "Muslim Brotherhood" manages to take root, through the two state powers that most represent it (precisely Turkey and Qatar) in Tripolitania and make it the starting point for a political expansion and confessional which cannot be painless for neighboring countries (and I am not referring only to those south of the Mediterranean!)

The permanent (99 years!) Settlement of Turkish military assets in Misrata worries me a lot both for what this will represent for Libya and for the pressure (in terms of military pressure, control of energy sources, connivance with Sunni fundamentalism, management of migratory flows) that Ankara will probably also exercise against us from there.

It saddens me (albeit without being surprised) that this will lead to the redeployment of the Italian military hospital that has been operating in the city for some years (one of the few signs of military aid that has been provided to the GNA, without however ever deciding to truly commit politically to of the GNA itself).

Regardless of whether it was farsighted or not at the time to take sides in favor of Fayez al-Sarraj and the GNA and that this choice of field really corresponded to Italian national interests, there remains no doubt that the military medical personnel and the (much more numerous) destined to the safety and support of our health facility have worked in an excellent way, representing their best a nation that sent them to a war zone without wanting to accept the idea of ​​having sent them to "war".

That said, I believe that al-Sarraj's concession to Turkey (however dangerous for us) is perfectly logical. Measured with its 400 inhabitants, it is the third city of that uneven territory that the Italians (in the thirty years of colonial rule) thought they could unify into a single country, which they called Libya.

Misurata enjoys a strategically very important position overlooking the Gulf of Sirte and is the home of the most important Turkish-speaking community in Libya.

Unlike Italy, plastered by self-imposed constraints, Turkey has not only committed itself with men and economic resources in favor of that puppet government (recognized by the UN but not by the majority of Libyans), but politically "has put his face ”and had no qualms about“ getting his hands dirty ”. And if it's soiled a lot!

No matter how good our doctors are, to face Haftar (and his Russian, French, Egyptian and Emirati supporters, who didn't really care about the UN embargo), poor al Sarraj needed much more than a coast guard, a field hospital and pats on the back! He needed those assets (from special forces, to anti-aircraft batteries, to drones, to Syrian mercenaries, etc.) that Turkey and Qatar provided him (obviously in violation of the unrealistic UN embargo).

It is now clear that even in Libya we count for very little. As long as there is a de facto partition of the country (and there seem to be no different solutions in the short term) we will remain an "ally" (useless and mocked) of GNA, Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood and an “enemy” (very little fearful but still deployed on the adverse front) of those who oppose a neo-Ottoman Mediterranean.

When is a shot of national dignity?

Photo: Prime Minister's Office / Anadolu Agency / Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri