Haftar blackmails Italy

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)
14/09/20

If we wanted to find the greatest similarities between Italian governments in recent decades, we would find that, as regards the kidnappings of Italians abroad, the common denominator was the payment of a ransom. In fact, from Prodi to Berlusconi up to Count bis we have always paid out money to get our fellow citizens back.

Also this time, I am referring to the arrest (or rather the kidnapping) of 18 Sicilian fishermen by the pseudo coast guard of Benghazi, a ransom will be paid.

Two weeks ago, two fishing boats that set sail from Mazara del Vallo were boarded by sailors from Cyrenaica 35 miles north of Benghazi, putting the crews under de facto arrest.

Initially it seemed to be the usual provocation, which would happily be resolved after a few hours. However, subsequently, men close to General Haftar began to air the hypothesis of an exchange with smugglers convicted of facts dating back to 2015 and detained in Italian prisons.

Second the strong man of Cyrenaica it is an unjust detention as in reality, the four smugglers sentenced to thirty years of imprisonment by the Supreme Court, would be mere players looking for a contract from an Italian football club.

The two fishing boats were caught because, according to the unrecognized authorities of Benghazi, they were carrying out illegal fishing activities within Libyan territorial waters. Since 2005, the then Gaddafi regime had claimed responsibility unilaterally the extension of territorial waters to 74 miles from the coast.

It seems clear that Haftar's insult is of a political nature, he probably wants to show his followers that he is still an important figure in the Libyan scenario, able to assert his reasons even against a foreign country.

The point is that the Italian government sees no alternative but to deal with Haftar, despite the blatant act of piracy, a priori excluding any other option, such as the use of military force.

Photo: Presidency of the Council of Ministers