Libya Threatens Italy

Ioshkafutz is a longtime commenter and reader from Italy. Today he debuts as Gates of Vienna’s Italian correspondent with an article translated from yesterday’s Il Giornale:

Rome — Libya threatens “catastrophic repercussions to her relations with Italy” if Northern Leghista Roberto Calderoli (of Mohammad T-shirt infamy) is once again appointed minister. The threat comes straight from Tripoli, from the son of Leader Muammar Gheddafi, Saif El Islam, who thundered against the Northern League representative, just as future Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi seems to have settled upon the final formation of his new government team… with the slot of Minister for Reforms assigned to none other than Calderoli, described today by the official Libyan state news agency Jana as “the true murderer” of the Libyan citizens who died in Bengasi during the Mohammad cartoon riots of February 2006.

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And if the person directly called into question merely shrugs (“The choice of the government team is Berlusconi’s prerogative having received a mandate from the sovereign people,” says Calderoli in a conversation with the Ansa news agency), the Italian political scene as a whole instead has reacted to Tripoli’s “diktat” in bipartisan fashion. Mario Borghezio (of the Northern League) urges that a wall be set up against “the terrible threats” arriving from Libya. But a raising of shields also comes from (leftwing) Democratic Party member Enrico Gasbarra who judges as unacceptable any “diktat on the part of foreign nations regarding Italian politics, all the more so concerning governments and their formation.” Luca of the UDC party (Christian Democrats) liquidates the words of Gheddafi’s son as “an intolerable interference.”

As Minister of Reforms in 2006, reminds a note from the Rome office of the Libyan news agency, Calderoli, in the course of a TV interview, had showed a T-shirt “with offensive drawings against Islam,” a gesture which sparked protests, with — on February 17 — hundreds of angry demonstrators attacking the Italian consulate in the Libyan city of Bengasi. The final toll of the bitter clashes with the police forces which had been marshalled to protect the consulate was 11 dead and 35 wounded. Confronted by vehement Libyan protests, the then ruling premier Silvio Berlusconi asked and immediately obtained Calderoli’s resignation. But in a few days, the selfsame Calderoli might return to the same exact ministerial post — Reforms — which he had been forced to abandon.

5 thoughts on “Libya Threatens Italy

  1. It would be wonderful if the Italian Government would tell Gheddafi where he can shove his “catastrophic repercussions”. Who knows, they just might…but in a not so obvious way.

    Besides, it’s not as if Libya actual repescts the European governments it does business with. If it did, the country would not be used as a major platform for illegal migrants, drugs, weapons and people smuggling into Europe in the first place.

    But something else caught my eye here. I’m sure Ioshkafutz or someone else can clear this up, but I thought Calderoli was going to be a deputy prime minister?

    My source for this came from Bloomberg back on April 21st, so it might be out of date.

    note: Lega Nord members are in bold.

    Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
    Deputy Prime Minister Roberto Calderoli
    Deputy Prime Minister Gianni Letta
    Interior Minister Roberto Maroni
    Foreign Minister Franco Frattini
    Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti
    Justice Minister Marcello Pera
    Parliamentary Affairs Elio Vito
    EU Affairs Stefania Prestigiacomo
    Defense Ignazio La Russa
    Education Sandro Bondi
    Industry Claudio Scajola
    Transport/Infrastructure Altero Matteoli
    Social Affairs Mara Carfagna
    Reforms Umberto Bossi
    Health Maurizio Lupi
    Culture Paolo Bonaiuti
    Agriculture Luca Zaia
    Labor/Welfare Gianni Alemanno

  2. Somebody should remind Kheddafi about the Punic Wars. You know the one in which Rome kicked the ass of Carthage. It seems that Kheddafi has a very poor knowledge of history.

  3. What would “catastrophic repercussions to her relations with Italy” be from Libya? No more semolina rolled into cous cous? A Libyan boycott of Chianti?

    Okay – let’s assume they mean violence against Italy. Has anyone else noticed that when Muslim governments want to wage war – they threaten – then they send in an independent contractor to commit an act of violence – then they pretend they had nothing to do with the independent contractor’s act of violence.

    I have one word for that kind of behavior and it starts with a P.

  4. Ciao Deadbambi and Lombard1985,

    No, more than semolina at stake, there’s a hefty chunk of Italy’s energy needs. So “catastrophic,” though exaggerated, is nevertheless close.

    The sensation here however is that both sides intend to put the matter to sleep. The Arabs themselves know that playing the energy card can give immediate satisfaction but long-term trouble. Oil’s up somewhere at 120 and rising, so such blackmail had better be saved for more important matters than the shenanigans of a loose cannon Leghista or the dubious honor of some long dead prophet.

    Of note is that some here are now saying that the words were put into the mouth Saif El Islam, Gheddafi’s son, (apparently not the sharpest knife in the drawer) by some Italian politicos. Yes, some see “far left” revenge against Berlusconi’s sensational victory and others yet see an under-the-table struggle between Berlusconi’s two allies (Alleanza Nazionale and the Northern League).

    Calderoli really IS a loose cannon (as is the entire Northern League) whereas Massimo Fini’s Alleanza has a greater sense of the state and above all the requirements of diplomacy. They play their cards closer to their chest.

    As Lombard1985 rightfully pointed out, Calderoli was originally supposed to be appointed Deputy Prime Minister. This was right after the Lega’s big election success and the inevitable squabbling over which party of the triple center-right coalition got what ministerial post. After all sorts of speculation, (fueled by the mainstream media), Berlusconi finally came out and insisted that his Deputy be someone of his personal trust and choosing and not just some compromise candidate to make everybody happy. He wanted and absolutely had to have his right hand man… So instead of Letta AND Caldiroli, it was just Letta.

  5. IoshkaFutz,

    Thank you for the wonderful explanation of what’s going on there. It was very helpful in putting this threat into perspective.

    It seems strange that this imbalance in the world today seems to center around oil-laden countries – most of which are Muslim or Marxist.

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