08 June 2021
Among the open dossiers of Italian foreign policy, the Libyan one remains one of the most urgent to be addressed. Since 2011, with the military intervention wanted by Sarkozy’s France which led to the fall of Gaddafi, Rome has lost the role of reference it had always had with Tripoli. Relations between Italy and Libya sink into history. The military invasion of Libya begins in 1911 with the rhetoric of the Fourth Sponda of Giolitti’s memory, a conquest consolidated by Fascism starting from the 1920s. But even for Republican Italy, Libya has always been central to our Mediterranean policy. It is enough to recall the solid political relations with Tripoli of the governments of Aldo Moro and Bettino Craxi, before and after the rise of the Tripoli Rais.
Today the collapse of our southern front has at least three negative consequences for Italy: out of control migratory flows, economic / energy problems and jihadist threat. To understand the situation in detail and above all to understand how you can get out of the Libyan sands, an interesting book by Michela Mercuri and Paolo Quercia is in the bookstore entitled: Mediterranean Shipwreck, how and why we lost the Mare Nostrum (Countries Editions). «It is essential for us to recover a role in the Mediterranean. That role that we have progressively lost over the last ten years »explains Michela Mercuri, professor of Contemporary History of Mediterranean Countries. Currently, the author observes, “the Draghi government is trying to set up a sort of life raft to be able to return as a protagonist to Libya where there are several open challenges.
For the moment Rome is facing the economic problem. A complex issue that concerns reconstruction agreements (for example Italy is engaged in the reconstruction of the Tripoli airport) and energy agreements (especially on renewables). Then there is the oil aspect where Eni is involved and that of electricity which is lacking in many areas of the country. But we are talking about an unstable country with a national but provisional unity government (led by the entrepreneur Debeibeh) where pro-Turkish and pro-Russian militias are dominant as well as criminal gangs operating in the smuggling of migrants ». But if something moves on the economic side, Italy remains completely exposed on two other fronts: that of illegal immigration and that of jihadism. And “it is a question”, reveals Mercuri, “of two directly related issues. The country is teeming, especially in the south in the Sahel, with criminal organizations that control the migratory routes that depart from Central Africa. Criminals who work in collaboration with jihadist groups that finance themselves with the transport of human beings.
Just think that each migrant can bring these organizations up to 15 thousand euros “. A 5,000-strong French mission (operation Barkhane) has been operating in the Sahel since 2014 (with almost a thousand support vehicles) that tries to contain jihadist operations. Italy and Europe more generally remain quite secluded on this very broad front that goes from Mauritania to Sudan passing through Mali, Nigeria, Chad, Burkina Faso. As can be seen from the book, with this situation on the ground today Italy cannot solve the migration problem without Europe but also without the United States interested in containing the Chinese and Russian expansion in Africa.