Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Ugly Slobs Couldn't Fight the War Against Tooth Decay

John Rosenthal, who is one seriously astute SOB, ask rather plainly why it is the Europeans wanted to depose Muammar Qadaffi if they wern't willing to try and win it?

Gates indicated that the US has no vital interest there, and HR Clinton indicated that it was a vital interest based on "our NATO allies saying it was int THEIR vital interest". Since then, it seemed to have stopped being in their vital interest.

The Italians, it seems took a healthier approach: to just no take sides. It looks like UK and French communication fo "vital interest" rolled down-hill to hit the US and then Italy.

Secretary Clinton's inclusion of Italy in the list was dubious to begin with. In fact, from the start of the unrest in Libya, the Italian government warned about taking sides in the conflict and supporting the rebellion. For example, in an interview published on February 23 in the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini alluded to the creation of an "Islamic Emirate" in the eastern-Libyan heartland of the rebellion. "We do not know more [about it]," Frattini told Il Corriere. "But we know that they are dangerous. There are elements of al-Qaeda there."
The Italian government's caution was hardly surprising, given that the February 17 protests that sparked the rebellion were called to commemorate protests five years earlier that had culminated in the storming of the Italian consulate in Benghazi by an angry mob. Several local residents were killed when Libyan security forces attempting to protect the consulate opened fire on the mob. The outrage of the protesters was tied to the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad by the Danish newspaper
Jyllands-Posten and other European newspapers. (On the 2006 protests, see my article "Our Principles? The Libyan Insurrection and the Mohammed Cartoons.")

The Italian reluctance to support a military intervention also had to do with fears of seeing such an intervention provoke an exodus of tens of thousands of refugees from Libya, many of whom would inevitably end up in Italy. These fears have proven well founded.

But now, according to a report in the Saturday edition of
Il Corriere della Sera, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has confided to colleagues not only that he was opposed to the NATO intervention in Libya, but that he was pressured into making available Italian military capabilities by precisely the United States. According to the report, Berlusconi recalled that "at the time I had warned our international partners, and also at home I had explained that the operation would not be easy . . ." "But," Berlusconi is reported to have continued, "in the face of the pressures exerted by the United States, the position of [Italian president Giorgio] Napolitano, and the vote [in favor of the intervention] by our parliament, what could I do?"
Thanks for throwing us another Curveball, spankers.

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