(Picture: Casa Pound’s leader Simone Di Stefano with his party’s symbol. Source: Blitz Quotidiano, filed pic).
by Alessandro Pagano Dritto (Twitter: @paganodritto)
[January 23rd, 2018 – Italy] Simone Di Stefano, leader of the neofascist Italian group Casa Pound, tweeted last January 16th a couple of tweets about his group’s vision of the future relationship between Libya and Italy.
Di Stefano himself has explained Casa Pound is a group currently aiming to sit in the Italian parliament for the first time ever with March 2018 elections, opposing what it believes will be a technical government. It aims at getting at least 3% of votes, so that, even though its leader is technically a candidate to the role of Prime Minister, it’s practically very hard he’ll head any government in the forseeable future.
Nontheless, it may be interesting to know what a possible member of the future parliament has to say about Libya.
Di Stefano’s January 16th tweets and some press reactions.
“If I had to tell you to date: an [Italy’s] protectorate over Tripolitania, agreed with Russia and therefore with the approval from Tobruk and from Sisi’s Egypt”
Also, the leader added:
“It’s about protecting ENI with arms wherever it is. We’ve always been clear about Libya, a “non State” cannot exist at home’s door”
In a couple of days, the Libyan press noted the exchange of tweets, as Libya Times wrote an article about them, commenting:
“This is not a joke. What you have just read did really happen. A presidential candidate of a western European country has publicly told his supporters that his foreign policy as president would include the occupation of a sovereign Arab state and plundering its oil resources to boost his country’s economy”
An Italian nationalist paper that apparently shares its view with Casa Pound, Primato Nazionale, consequently read Libya Times‘ article and wrote itself about the statements, eventually reporting of
“rumors about an imminent clarification between Ali al Qatrani, deputy president of the Presidential Council and closest to Hafter, and Di Stefano himself”
A “defensive” protectorate.
About the Italian protectorate in Libya, he told Primato Nazionale:
“I see it as a transit measure. […] I’ve mentioned a “protectorate” as it’s about lands devastated by the Western interferences: the Italian “protection” would be aimed at forbidding all this to happen while Libyans are getting back on their feet”
Where the “chaos” in Libya comes from.
According to him, indeed, Italy must now fix a situation originating from 2011 foreign intervention in Libya, something that other nations – and not Italy – decided. He told Radio Radicale:
“We have chaos in Libya nowadays and it wasn’t us to originate it. Other nations did: France did, above all, for mere economical profits and aiming to put its hands on oil; United States did, fueling Arab Springs in order to upset a territory where they had their own interests. So that nowadays we have a nation, a non State at home’s door, where anarchy rules; and that’s not bearable”
He also told Primato Nazionale:
“Arab Springs […] put that whole region into chaos and [chaos comes] from the Western interventions overthrowing legitimate governments”
Migration as a reason to protect.
Di Stefano told Primato Nazionale:
“That’s the point: or Libya is a sovereign State, able to controlling its own coasts and to blocking any departure immediately, or it is not a sovereign State and therefore its closest neighbour – Italy – must put some order in that territory. It would be a pattern to be walked together”
Radio 24‘s interview probably makes the relationship between Di Stefano’s view of the Italian presence in Libya and migration even clearer: in Libya he’d like to
“put back on its feet a State worthy of the name, where these big boys living in the [Italian] centres with their headphones and their turned caps could go back and work. [We’d] say them: “Look, we’re building up an aqueduct, a street, so here it is a paddle, show me you want to work, come with us to Libya and let’s build what we have to”. That can be done with Libya, but we can do it with several African nations: we must have again a policy on Africa, on Mediterranean, and it should be about a nation always been friend to these people [Italy], to directly intervene”
The threat coming from Libya.
Indirect and direct allusions to the allegations over the supposed relations between Italy and some former traffickers in Sabratha come out from Di Stefano’s words from time to time: armed groups are seen as a threat to Italy and as a conditioning factor.
He stated to Radio Radicale:
“We can’t leave under extortion from the armed gangs, from the marauders, from the Libyan tribes opening the tap of the migrants every time they like to and putting them into the sea in order to invade us, undermining our whole system”
Not like Italy’s Interior Minister Marco Minniti.
That’s exactly the point – Di Stefano says, asked by Radio Radicale – where he and current Italy’s Interior Minister Marco Minniti are different; along with the political background, as Minniti is a former communist.
“We absolutely reject Minniti’s plan over migrants: what’s been done is to bribe the Libyan tribes or the armed gangs hanging around in Libya nowadays – islamic fundamentalists or not they are – to keep people in the lagers: that’s what the government has done toward Libya, as of today. We look at it differently: we must go back to Libya and put a State worthy of the name back on its feet, along with the Libyans agreeing on that, in order to let the migrants find their development and in order to them never leave to Italy; yet, they shouldn’t even live in Libya’s lagers. There is a clear difference between a position that is the usual one Italy has always had to hide problems under the carpet and who, at the countrary, wants to act and solve problems once and for all”
Whose support should Italy seek for over Libya?
While, as seen, Di Stefano showed criticism toward France and United States over 2011 events, there are other Countries he’s praised as possible allies to Italy over its protectorate in Libya’s Tripolitania: after his tweets he’s no longer mentioned Egypt, while he’s openly referred to Russia. Meanwhile, he’s showed quite a rejection for the United Nations and, again, for United States.
Over Russia, he stated to Radio Radicale:
“[Khalifa] Hafter controls Tobruk and Cyrenaica, supported by Russia. An agreement may be reached in order to find out the [Libyan] parts willing to create a State, exactly by carrying out a different kind of international geopolicy, by talking to Russia”
Fayez Serraj and the Government of National Agreement (GNA) are otherwise described as mere puppets of the UN and the USA, with an almost non existent capability to control Libya or a part of it:
“[In Libya] there are two parts: one has been set up by the UN and does not control even its home’s garden. I’m referring to the current governor of Tripolitania, the part of Tripoli”
While speaking to Primato Nazionale, Serraj becomes, on Di Stefano’s words,
“a satrap receiving orders by phone from Washington”
and he adds:
“If, otherwise, we’ll go on with betting on the UN’s puppets, we won’t go anywhere”
Rejecting the comparison with the Italian colonialism.
While some current criticism in Libya is comparing Italy’s military presence to the historical 20th century Italian colonialism – and especially with the fascist one – Di Stefano – who is himself a neofascist – rejects this possible interpretation of his plans and talks about constructions and help.
“It would be about deploying our tradition of civilization and of building the infrastructures needed to have a State
Asked by Primato Nazionale, he replies:
“Italy has the interest for Libya to became a sovereign nation. No one has any interest to occupy Libya and impose things to the Libyans. It’s about building up a State in the mutual interest”
And to Radio 24:
“We’ll be beside the Libyans willing to come back to having a State and we’ll go there with our companies, with our army, to build those inexorably lacking infrastructures in order to put a State worthy of this name back into feet”
What Di Stefano told about Libya in May 2016.
In one of his recent tweets Di Stefano appeared not to enjoy a rigid view on Libya, stating that
“what must be done will be pondered on the situation of that very moment”
On January 19th, 2018, Simone Di Stefano shared on Twitter excerpts from an old video interview of him dating back to May 2016 where he appeared to use words, about Libya, he’s no longer used in this latest debate.
On a range of issues he said, back then:
“We absolutely must intervene militarly to grab a piece of Libya and put it under Italy’s sovereignity in order to have an Italian enclave where to control the flow of migrants, where to control who has the right of asylum and who’s not. The Spanish have it and they act that way over pushing back migrants: they take them back in the African part under Spanish sovereignity. A piece of Libya, we clearly have to take it back: it’s clear, it must be done and there is no other solution. It would have been much easier to do it times ago, when Libya was fully into chaos: [we must] go and protect our companies that are there to extract the oil we use for our nation. By taking a piece of Libya we can run the flow of migrants and remain in that land in order to create the conditions for these people not to leave anymore. We can provide the example of an Africa restarting again. Look, we [Casa Pound] are the only ones talking about a sovereign, free, independent Africa in our programmes. Sovereignity is for the people able to manage their own sovereignity. […] Shouldn’t we act differently [from financing dictators and armed gangs]? By saying “we won’t rain you money, but we’ve come here just to build aqueducts, just to pave the roads, to build up univerisities, hospitals”. […] We go and extract the Libyan oil just because the Libyans aren’t able to do it. If ENI wasn’t there, no one would be there to extract it: maybe there would be Total or other foreign multinationals”