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Italy – contemporary challenges for national security - Fundacja Polskie Forum Bezpieczeństwa

Polskie Forum Bezpieczeństwa

Wiedza, Niezależność

18 grudnia 2016

Italy – contemporary challenges for national security

Recent developments of terroristic general threats to world security are something Italy knows since 2011, or earlier. The three cross-connected problems affecting Italy are: immigration, terrorism and Libya. Immigration was a major concern for Italy since it started. Given the total European lack of interest about immigration, Berlusconi’s last government got an agreement with colonel Gheddafi: economical support to Libya, getting the complete neutralization of that coast and the stop of the illegal immigration. When in 2011 the Arabian Spring started, France saw it as an opportunity to eliminate Italian presence in Tripoli in order to get the Libyan petrol and a wider economical presence. Hence in March 2011 the French air intervention, backed by USA, caused the collapse of Gheddafi’s regime, which sufficiently resisted against the local insurgents. Italy tried to stop such a nonsense, clearly foreseeing what was coming, but, as a NATO member, it was impossible to act against the NATO involvement, and, by the end of the year, Italian forces were operating on Libya. Sarkozy’s plans proved to be completely un-effective, and badly made. US public opinion prevented any US intervention on the ground. France was not strong enough to do it, and Libya precipitated in a total chaos. As a consequence, France got no agreement, because no organized new Libyan political power existed, whilst the Italian petrol company kept its interests, its oilfields being the only operating with no interruption till now. Such a total failure of French plans opened the gate to illegal immigration, as the Italian government had warned; but it was not considered as a problem affecting others than Italy.

Since 2012 Rome foresaw the amount of incoming immigrants and asked the EU for a help, Many terrorists could be among the immigrants, Italy said, hence a deeper control was needed. Rome got from Brussels only contemptuous charges of depicting things worst than they were, and the EU issued a lot of intimations to accept the immigrants, no matter their number, and that was all. When in 2013 the Italian Government realized that EU members’ idea was to look as immigrant-friendly, leaving all the immigrants on the Italian soil, and protesting because Italy did not identify them according to the rules, the Italian government simply acted according to the EU rules. Having the immigrants been accepted within the Schengen area, they could get free way. So, they received provisional documents, and were free to go. And basically 95% of them left Italy, because they wanted to go to rich countries: Germany, France, UK, and Scandinavia. Such a flood caused the highest protests from the concerned Countries. They locked the borders with Italy; but this moved the main stream from Italy to Greece and the Balkans. And, when the complaining European Countries faced such a major stream toward Austria and Germany, they had to accept it,  to demonstrate that they acted according to their previous friendly declarations, and some as a million Muslim immigrants flooded Central Europe. As the Italian intelligence warned since 2010, some terrorists could be among the immigrants, but no political solution in Libya means it is impossible to stop them, as Berlusconi did before 2011. And when ISIS started being pushed back, many ISIS fighters moved to Libya, to stay or to go back to the European Countries they were from.

Current situation – summer 2016 – is as follows. Italian Intelligence is deeply and widely operating in and out of Italy. Out of Italy they gather information. In Italy they control who enters and where does he go, informing other European services. The job seems effective, also if there are two major concerns. If no attack happened till now in Italy, this could mean that Italy has been sanctuarized by terrorists, who organized there a logistical net, and want not to let authorities focus on them. This seems confirmed by recent intelligence reports about incoming terrorists. Reports add that the terrorists do no longer like to mix to immigrants. They are not sure to reach Italy by sea, and they know they will be controlled when rescued, so, they prefer the Balkans. They reach Montenegro and Albania, and get fake passports. Then, due to agreements with local or Italian criminals, they pay for a fast trip by motorboat to Italy, land and disappear, or so they think. Some of them actually disappear. Some are arrested, but many others are purposedly allowed to go, to spot their links, and destinations, passing all the information to other European Countries and to USA.Hence the Italian situation is under control as much as it is possible to do. This does not mean that no attack will occur, or that, if any, it will be intercepted and stopped, because it is impossible, but at least till the end of July 2016, the intelligence and police activity prevented it.