Antonio Grego. Gaddafi and Italy, the Treaty on Friendship

Antonio Grego

Gaddafi and Italy, the Treaty on Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation between Italy and Libya
 
The approach of Gaddafi and Libya to the West take place since the late '90s with the decision by the Libyan authorities to offer the availability to prosecute the Libyans suspected of the Lockerbie disaster and the subsequent payment of damages caused to the victims, as a result of this availability, the UN decides to withdraw the embargo on Libya in 1999.
 
In the early 2000s, indeed these recent Libyan political developments, lead Gaddafi to a rapprochement with the USA and Europe, thanks to the readiness shown by Gaddafi to join the war against islamic fundamentalism. With these steps, U.S. President George W. Bush decided to remove Libya from the list of rogue states (which includes Iran, Syria and North Korea) leading to the restoration of full diplomatic relations between Libya and the United States. The 2000s saw Gaddafi protagonist, along with Silvio Berlusconi, of the rapprochement between Italy and Libya, marked by several official visits of the Libyan leader in Italy and the Italian prime minister in Libya.
 
However it must be said that the relation between Italy and Libya has always been tight also in previous years. For example, it was the former Italian prime minister Bettino Craxi who warned Gaddafi of the imminent air raid of Tripoli ordered by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan in April 15, 1986, saving his life. Libya was and is important for Italy also for its oil and gas resources. Since the 50s of last century, the italian oil state company ENI, by the will of its chairman Enrico Mattei, began a collaboration with the Libyan monarchy that continues more intensely after Gaddafi's seizure of power and culminated with the opening of Greenstream underwater gas pipeline in 2004 that connects directly Libya and Italy.
 
It is no coincidence that both of the two great Italians, Craxi and Mattei, wanted the same thing: an Italian independent energy policy and a foreign policy of friendship and partnership with the Arab countries. Both paid for this stance: Craxi ended his days in exile and Mattei killed in a plane crash.
 
Berlusconi has made the same mistake in the eyes of the elites that control Italy, trying to create a partially independent foreign policy especially towards Russia and Libya. The climax of these relations with Libya, in addition to economic agreements, is marked by the signature of the treaty of friendship and cooperation between Italy and Libya taken place in Benghazi in 2008. This treaty provided, in addition to the settlement of the dispute about the colonial past of Italy, also favorable conditions for investments by Italian companies in Libya and the explicit renunciation of any use of force or interference in the internal affairs of both states. The treaty and other agreements were bringing huge economic benefits to the Italian economy and were a great opportunity for Italian companies in crisis, from this point of view, therefore, the war against Libya is a war against Italy too because it directly affects its economic interests and its security.
 
Now the question is: why Berlusconi has betrayed his "friend" Gaddafi and has violated the treaty of friendship signed just a few years ago? Why Italy has joined other aggressor countries instead of supporting Gaddafi or at least remaining neutral?
 
Italy and Libya need each other. Italy needs resources of Libya and Libya needs investments and Italian technology. The USA and other Western European nations could not endure this close relation between Italy and Libya, moreover, both Italy and Libya are two pivots required for geo-strategical control of the Mediterranean Sea.
 
Unfortunately, Italy, except for some attempts by certain farsighted politicians in the past and lastly by Berlusconi, can not follow an independent policy and its own national interests. Italy after losing World War II and being invaded by U.S. troops became a country with limited sovereignty and perpetually "under control" by the USA and NATO. Italy can not shake off NATO for two reasons: it is situated in a key position for controlling the Mediterranean Sea and it is a natural aircraft carrier from which to launch attacks for expanding NATO into Africa and in the Middle East. Any politician who dares to just hint a policy contrary to the interests of USA and NATO is bound to end up badly. Berlusconi also falls in this game. Berlusconi is a very rich businessman who founded his party and entered politics to look after his own interests and those of some "national" special interest group against mass privatizations of the 90s demanded by Western financial elite. Berlusconi ideologically has always been a strong admirer of US and a lover of the “American way of life”, and last but not least he has no geopolitical or political qualification.
 
However in the 2000s he had the intuition to make agreements and partnerships, mainly for economic purposes, with some non-Western countries or countries hostile to NATO: Russia, Libya, Iran, Belarus, Venezuela, Turkey, and so on... due to this, as also revealed in confidential documents released by WikiLeaks, Westerners began to use the judicial and media weapons against him, in order to weaken and to blackmail him far as to force him to betray Gaddafi and even bomb Libya with which was signed a treaty that provided expressly the refusal the use of force and non-interference in internal affairs. The turnabout of Italy is then explained by the fact that Italy and Europe are not sovereign and independent but are colonies of the United States of America and of the international financial organizations that decide the policy regardless of the wishes of citizens and against the national interests of the countries.