Friday, 18 March 2011

Taking On Gadaffi, Not just Providing Bases

The bases at Amendola, Gioia del Colle, Sigonella, Aviano, Trapani, Decimomannu and Pantelleria have been put at the service of the allied imposition of a reinforced no-fly zone in Libya.  The Minister of Defence has also stated that Italy is making available men and military resources as well as the bases in conjunction with other countries acting to  implement the United Nations Resolution on Libya.  The announcement was made  after the emergency cabinet meeting this afternoon and in consultation with the Head of State.

A second Italian ship carrying relief supplies, medicines and other humanitarian aid is expected to arrive in Benghazi tomorrow morning.

According to the Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, the cease fire declared by the Gadaffi regime is not being observed and attacks are continuing on positions held by the Provisional Government forces.   He also stated that the Treaty of Friendship between Italy and Libya is no longer in force and its undertakings are now void.

The aircraft carrier Garibaldi sailed from Taranto at 2 o'clock this afternoon for Siracusa with aboard vertical and short  take-off jets ready for the defence of the naval operations required in the Libyan crisis.   So it's not just providing bases, then.

While France calls for no involvement by Nato in dealing with Libya, Italy is demanding a Nato shield against Gadaffi attacks, given its geopolitical role and position.   Both Frattini and D'Alema  (PD opposition ) are concerned at Italy's vulnerability to the Gadaffi regime's arms.


Raedwald said...

The North Libyan coast is still dotted with those deserted model farm villages, the ones with the Fasces and some inspiring quote from Il Duce carved into the granary, so one could forgive Italy if her contribution were on the discreet side. It sounds as though the planned contribution is rather greater than this; moral courage, or a smokescreen to bury bad news elsewhere?

hatfield girl said...

It's everything but foot soldiers, R, confirmed by the Senate and the House (they had to do it separately because the Northern Leagues refused to vote on the issue in the Senate committee; there are some biting comments about 'Padania' from the entire political spectrum).

Use of the bases has been requested too by the UK and the US, and approved, so perhaps the RAF won't be flying from Cyprus.

Italy is to take out the Libyan radar and air defence systems according to the Defence minister. (I must say, the Defence minister usually looks quite mad and dangerous in normal times, but suddenly he's looking determined, sane and fierce, which is what might be hoped for.)

It's mostly the Foreign and Defence secretaries on the telly, Berlusconi is nowhere to be seen. When there is a general announcement of the "we've got to do this" variety, then President Napolitano appears. I hadn't realised before how extensive is the role of the Head of State in national rather than party political affairs. Not like the UK arrangements at all. So I don't think there's any smokescreen element.