“We are ready to work immediately on a new momentum for cooperation and to implement all the projects we have identified today.”
With these words, Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini addressed the President of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, during his reception in Tripoli on Wednesday, coming to Tripoli at the head of the largest and most senior official Italian military delegation to visit Tripoli for more than two years.
Al-Sarraj meeting with the Italian Defense Minister
A scene in which many analysts in the Italian press read as a sign of a relentless race against time that began immediately after the defeat of the aggression ,Rome wants to regain some of its lost role and influence in Libya, and is prompted by fear of the new map of influence in the region after the arrival of the Turks and Russians, and also the need for the GNA to cooperate with Italy in strategic issues, most notably energy and illegal immigration, after it was overtaken by events due to its stance, which in Italy itself is described as confused and retreating back during more than a year of the aggression on Tripoli.
The scene and the level of attendance reflects this reading. The team accompanying Minister Guerini also included the Chief of the Defense Staff Command, General Enzo Vicarelli, the Head of the External Security Service, General Jani Carvelli, the Commander of Operations at the Ministry of Defense, General Luciano Portolano, the Minister Plenipotentiary Counselor Massimo Marotti, and the Head of the Military Policy Office Admiral Ganfranco Anutsiata.
The Italian Minister of Defense was keen to announce new military cooperation initiatives, most notably the formation of a mixed committee at the strategic level for military cooperation, which is the first of its kind. The Minister also announced Italy’s intention to transfer the military field hospital in Misurata to another area that he did not mention and only described it as “more functional”. A move that comes only a few days after the security services in Misrata demanded the Italian party to obtain pre-entry visas to Libya for the personnel that were dispatched to work in the health facility; To set and regulate cooperation in this field.
Attempts to rectify the confused stance from the aggression
Immediately after the liberation of Tarhouna, declaring the defeat of the aggression, Italy launched multilevel efforts to reconnect the shaky relations with the Government of National Accord. The latter saw in the Italian stance closest to negative neutrality, it is a let down from an ally that we had long relied on to ensure balance within the European house in the face of the French stance in support of Haftar and his wars, that opened the door for a new party ,Turkey, which provided the Libyans with the vital support they desperately needed in the most difficult days of the aggression, and rightly deserved the status of an ally and friend.
New military cooperation initiatives announced by Guerini
And now the new Italian transformation has begun to appear in the words and stance of many Italian officials, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Di Mayo during his visit to Tripoli in the first days after the defeat of the aggression, speaking for the first time in a speech of an Italian official about “condemning the military attack” and reminding that “there are those who started an attack. It had dire consequences, and on the other hand there is a legitimate government recognized by the United Nations. ”
Di Mayo tried to justify and defend the previous Italian stance , saying that he remained supportive of the GNA, citing the Italian Embassy continuing to operate from the Libyan capital, Tripoli, which “was an important signal to support the Government of National Accord at a very difficult moment.”
After the end of the aggression, Italy also rushed to send technical equipment to help dismantle the mines planted by Haftar militias south of the capital, and made sure that the Chief of Defense Staff personally deliver the aid in Tripoli in an official ceremony surrounded by great media propaganda.
The visit of the Italian Chief of Defense Staff to Tripoli to hand over the demining equipment.
Big stumbling block on the road called “Irini”.
Former opposition and military political leaders have repeatedly criticized the Italian strategic losses in Libya, the latest of which is fiery statements issued by the former chief of the defense staff and scientific advisor to the Institute of International Affairs (IAI), General Vincenzo Camborini, whose statements have met with great resonance in the media and political circles, wondering how Rome expects to see It has an advanced role and position in the western region and with the legitimate government, and it supports and even leads the “Irini” operation launched by the European Union to monitor the arms embargo on Libya, but it ended with a selective naval blockade on Turkish support for the Government of National Accord against the coup on the legitimacy, while The eastern land borders with Egypt remain open to unlimited support that flows by land and air from Russia, the Emirates, Egypt and also France ?!
IRINI, which began last April, uses air and satellite means to monitor the movement of arms supplies to Libya, and is undertaking the mission of inspecting ships on the high seas off the Libyan coast.
The Government of National Accord and Turkey strongly criticize the “IRINI, which began last April, uses air and satellite means to monitor the movement of arms supplies to Libya, and is undertaking the mission of inspecting ships on the high seas off the Libyan coast.
The Government of National Accord and Turkey strongly criticize the “Irini” process, and in addition to the fact that the whole process is a purely European initiative, it does not have any official or explicit legal coverage from the United Nations and the Security Council – it also leads to the support of the aggressor party and paralyzed efforts to eliminate its danger and prevent the legitimate government From extending its control over the entire territory of the country, and the United States of America joined the Turkish-Libyan stance. A few days ago, in its evaluation of the Europeans project, it said that “the only embargoes they are carrying out target Turkish military equipment and lack seriousness.”
Because of “IRINI”, Italy finds itself more faltering than others in the normalization of its relationship as it wants with the GNA, considering its advanced pioneering role in leading the “Irini” operation, the size of its logistical contribution to it and its unlimited political support for the operation in the European Union structures, which makes Italian politics on the ground , aligned with the anti-reconciliation government and its efforts to open a new page with it.
Return Gate: The Military Mission in Libya
And the Italian parliament voted at the end of last month in favor of renewing the funding of the Italian military mission in Libya, which Italy wants as a starting point for the resurrection of lukewarm cooperation relations and the recovery of what has been missed since April 2019, and although the Italian military mission is entering its fourth year in Libya, its fields of work remained confined to the health field from During the field hospital in Misurata, the transfer of critical cases for treatment in Italy, and some training courses and technical equipment for the Libyan Coast Guard to help it combat illegal immigration.
The many areas of action of the military mission remained stalled, although it included all the opportunities that could contribute to strengthening and supporting the Libyan security and military capabilities and extending the state’s sovereignty over its soil through its legitimate government, including training, equipment, infrastructure, and multifaceted technical support.
This meager outcome, compared to the ambitions and options available in the text of the official agreement for the work of the military mission – confirms the accusations directed at the Italian government to back down from its previous commitments affected by the fluctuation of its political stance towards the GNA.