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.