In 2011, in a phase of severe economic crisis for Italy, almost on the verge of default, the violent ousting of the Libyan leader, Muammar al Minyar El Gaddafi, was the obvious tombstone of Italian foreign policy and also of its intelligence Services forced to serve only the interests of those who wanted to destroy Italy’s interests.
The United States wanted to put an end to the sequence of "Arab Springs" started in Tunisia, a small country suitable for tests - as the papers of the Foreign Office reported in 1901 with respect to Russia, "a country suitable for Socialist tests".
The United States interpreted foreign policy according to its internal and self-referential criteria and it was useless to ask it to have a broader vision.
Certainly France wanted to take Libya, but above all it wanted to take ENI and also to put Italy in a severe minority condition throughout the Mediterranean region.
The way in which France operated in Gaddafi’s times - and, indeed, France has never relinquished coup designs against Gaddafi - showed only one thing, that also Great Britain knew, i.e. that Gaddafi had been an excellent invention of the Italian Intelligence Services, when they still existed. Italy rescued Gaddafi at least three times, twice from Great Britain and once from France, as well as twice from the United States.
Pursuing our national interest, we were branded as "anti-liberal" and, in any case, within NATO you pay for certain betrayals.
Great Britain also wanted to follow France in its anti-Gaddafi hysteria, especially after Sarkozy asked the Rais for a significant loan. It had some oil interest with it to prepare for the Royal Dutch Shell, which first opened negotiations with the new Libyan regime in 2013, as well as the ENI security Services, which quickly agreed with Jallud and Italy's traditional points of reference in opposing Gaddafi. Either Shell or Total - that was the game, while Italy was sinking into the crisis and a "friendly" sale of ENI was not unlikely.
To put it frankly, however, the anti-Gaddafi rhetoric was ridiculous: the usual talk about his "not being democratic" - as if an Arab Rais could behave like a Manhattan jazz musician, all sex, drugs and rock&roll - while opening the doors to the Muslim Brotherhood and its networks which, coincidentally, immediately generated a wide spreading of jihadist organisations, as it happened also outside Libya.
Did they really believe there were good and "bad" jihadists? But where did they live, in a commercial spot for detergents?
The French intelligence services’ operation triggering the "revolt" was above all the tension at the Abu Salim prison, organized by a strange and previously unknown "Libyan section of the Association for Human Rights" based in Paris.
The material start of the revolt was in Benghazi, in February 2011, but the economic and social situation in Gaddafi's Tripoli was very different from the other "Arab springs" superficially organized by some strategic PRs, paid by the intelligence Agencies, between Manhattan and Sloane Street. Nothing to do with talk about "freedom" and Martini cocktails.
In fact, as maintained by some reports of the German Foundations published shortly before Gaddafi’s fall, Gaddafi’s Libya ensured an average income five times as much as Egypt’s. Said income was also well spread among the population, especially with Gaddafi who did the only possible job in a country with many tribes, i.e. ensuring their selective support.
Furthermore, the harsh but also naïve system - already put in place against Milosevic in Serbia or against Saddam Hussein in Iraq - was used again in Libya. Distingue frequenter, as the medieval logicians used to say.
The network of bloggers, previously strangely silent, started immediately, as well as some demonstrations on problems that existed even before, and the obsessive use of the "buzzword" democracy, which, in the minds of the poor and underprivileged people meant "getting better", while in the words of strategic information managers, hired at a high and useless price by Western governments, meant: "now work for us".
There was also Nietzsche’s "soothing oil" of the democratic myth to calm people’s fears, with some other possible distraction. Sex, above all, or youth amusement and entertainment business.
In the first phase of the Libyan "people’s" revolt, the United States largely had a wait-and-see attitude, but certainly a West believing that reality reasons like snobbish young ladies, like those you can find in some jet setters’ and socialites’ salons, is always doomed to the most tragic failures.
The Libyans did not want to kill the "tyrant", in a Macbeth-style Scottish ritual - since it is a concept completely alien to their political culture - but they simply wanted to improve the Libyan regime, like the Tunisian one, both certainly permeated with nepotism and corruption, especially in Tunisia. Nevertheless, everything would certainly have been better than what happened afterwards.
Just think about the fact that the long war seems to be the silly rule of current "humanitarian" operations and interventions: everything is done with great fanfare and democratic rhetoric - as if the whole world should go on like Vermont, or Paris V Arrondissement - and later you discover that the world is different from the parochial and obscure wealth of certain leaders. Hence "the dose is repeated" endlessly, always with fewer troops, as if the others were idiots or unable to fight, finally believing that everything works according to the repetita iuvant principle. However, foreign policy and strategy never work like that.
The United States will be out of Afghanistan, without having resolved anything. Indeed, the situation will be worse than before, after a treaty with the Taliban drafted in Doha, which should lead to the withdrawal and complete return of U.S. soldiers back home within the next 14 months.
In Iraq, U.S. troops have been the subject of a Parliamentary resolution calling for their removal, despite the fact that the Iranian Armed Forces are still reluctant.
No significant strategic results have been reached and will be reached on the ground. Hence in Afghanistan the Taliban will obviously rise to power, as would have also happened many years ago.
In Iraq, with the Shiite majority in the population and the Iranian oil, economic, political and military penetration, I do not believe that the U.S. presence will achieve other great results.
Certainly the U.S. bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the largest one in the Emirates, are another necklace around Tehran. As the old and new AFRICOM networks around Libya, i.e. as many as 29 military bases in Bizerte, Tunisia; Libreville, Gabon; Ouagadougu, Burkina Faso; Dakar, Senegal; Niamey and Agadez, Niger, to control the great route of African migration, often directed against our shores, as well as 5 other bases in Somalia, 4 in Mali, and finally 2 in Libya.
Hence a terrible game is being played on Libya, which is the command and control on the passages from the Mediterranean to Central Africa, and Italy seems only to repeat the usual formulas of the snobbish young ladies, like those portrayed by Italian comedian Franca Valeri, based on two gross and very dangerous mistakes: a) Libya is not a "national interest", because the usual human rights must be restored, but this is huge nonsense because these famous rights should be restored all over Africa; b) Italy’s interest is only that of the West, which does not have only one interest and, anyway, all the interests already defined are against Italy.
Which is the virus currently inoculated in our childish and immature politicians, which does not let them believe that there is a national interest, in which Libya is an unavoidable axis, considering that, as Napoleon said, "the basis of foreign policy lies in geography"?
At the time, we followed the very childish idea of Silvio Berlusconi and of his "centre-right" coalition that sided with the Anglo-Saxons and France as if we were in a costumed re-edition of the Second World War.
Certainly, just in case, we were also told that we would be bombed "by mistake". But fear is not part of some strategic calculations. If our "allies" – that were stealing Libya and ENI from us - had done so, we would have told the truth. And more train attacks and bombings would have taken place...
The Reductio ad Hitlerum is a naivety that, in Italy, also applies to ruling classes. Ignorant of foreign policy as confirmands.
Now, we are in the fairy world of a government that believes it can mediate while being completely irrelevant. Even on the ground, in Tripoli and Benghazi. A fairy-tale world made of human rights, always slave to propaganda, as well as to the rejection of war laid down by the most idiotic article of our Constitution, Article 11 (and, indeed, it is not the only one), which in fact accepts only unconditional surrender. In fact, those who came to power after an unconditional surrender, remember only that.
Not to mention the usual irregular migrants to be accepted without saying a word - something that our EU friendly countries do not and have never done, but that we should do immediately, considering the Dublin agreement and the always artfully created sense of guilt for old experiences.
It is also worth reiterating that Italy is out of Libya, of the Maghreb region, of Africa and it will shortly be out of the Mediterranean. Thanks to our politicians, who know about strategy and geopolitics like a pizza maker usually knows about the calculus of variations. No disrespect and offense to our pizza makers, of course.
Without Libya there will be no control of the Mediterranean. Without control of the Mediterranean, there will be no Italian strategic and economic autonomy. Finally, without Italian strategic and economic autonomy there will be no growth, the mantra about which current politicians talk grandly.
However, let us better analyse the situation: Russia denies any direct engagement in Libya, but there are at least 14 MiG29 missiles in the Jufra base, as well as some Sukhoi-24 bombers, and also Pantsir anti-missile systems.
Allegedly, in the bases still linked to General Haftar, there are also Serbian and Ukrainian mercenaries, connected to the Wagner networks of Russian contractors.
They are mainly in the base of Gardabyah, but although denying any direct military interest in Libya, Russia has reportedly deployed its 900 "militants" in Syria and Libya in the bases linked to Haftar, as done also by Turkey.
The intelligence Services are particularly active. Especially the French ones, namely the DGSE, as well as the American CIA, which has never left Libya, and the German BND. This is not surprising.
Italy still has an excellent advisor to al-Sarraj, who knows all too well how to deal with certain issues. But he is alone, isolated, and now he is rare breed in Tripoli’s government.
In our opinion, al-Sarraj was not the holder of some Italian geopolitical interests, which should be dealt with well, but has the virtue of having been awarded the holy spirit of international organisations, through complex and sometimes indescribable ploys and ruses.
Italy would recognize also the devil, if it were appointed by some international organisations and fora, possibly even irrelevant.
France does not care about the international choices, which so much entice ambassadors and ladies, although it is a major part of them, more than Italy. In fact, it has always operated with its intelligence Services on Haftar's side. When will the geopolitical servile attitude typical of the Italian ruling classes end?
The passage channel between Libya and Europe - but not in Italy - is always the triangle between Benghazi, Zuwara and Malta, created with light aircraft.
They know more in certain palaces in Valletta, including the "religious ones", than in many Italian palaces of power, if we still want to call them so.
For the French Intelligence Services, the easiest connection is between Algeria and Lyon and, still today, some French intelligence service operatives train the still budding executives of Haftar’s Internal Intelligence Service.
The Germans meet both Haftar and al-Sarraj with communication lines starting directly from Germany and arriving both in Tripoli and Benghazi.
Meanwhile, on July 19, Egyptian President Al Sisi, the former Chief of the Military Services of the Armed Forces in Cairo stated - and he could not do otherwise - that Libya is obviously a national interest for Egypt. Even Italy, however, should have done so, also with possible "harshness".
The EU, another factory of nothing, has stated in these days that we need to go back to the 5+5 mechanism for negotiation. But all the Libyan parties are reflections of other foreign countries and it is useless kicking the dog and meaning the master. We only need to talk to the master. What would be the "resolution of the Libyan crisis" magically awaited by the United Nations? No one knows.
An open and clear segmentation of the territory, which at the time of the Ottoman Empire was not unified at all. Hence it is a matter of “saying goodbye and part without resentment”. Like the aforementioned snobbish young ladies, jet setters and salon socialites.
But are we sure that a split Libya would be in our best interest? Possibly with the Fezzan tribes, happily involved in the illegal migration business, and Italy there to wait and see, as well as pay additional 1.3 million Euros to the so-called Libyan "coastguards", as recently happened?
In a context of oil and hence of public revenue crisis, such as the one expected in Libya in 2020/2021, the only country that will bear a heavy brunt will be Italy, which will probably die economically together with its old Libyan colony.
Al-Sarraj recently explained that 1.4 billion U.S. dollars of oil sales have been lost since the port blockade imposed by General Haftar last January.
It should also be noted that General Haftar already has excellent relations with the Greek Intelligence Services, he has often met in obvious opposition with Turkey. However, the choices made by the Benghazi leader have already caused an 80% fall in Libyan oil sales.
Considering that, in a situation of low prices per barrel and oil extraction restrictions, the least expensive oil in Africa, that is Libya’s, has its own strong significance, if it is closed to markets, we can infer the rule of those who have an interest in still destabilizing Libya and those who have not.
Where would the "playing cards" of Westerners be? A small market in a very severe crisis? A non-existent presence on the ground? The idiotic ideologies that see in rampant immigration or in the impossible sealing of borders the solution to our problems? Those who do not know how to use weapons should not do foreign policy, and there would also be many weapons.
Turkey has quickly taken the place of Italy, which is increasingly apallic.
In Italy they probably fear the reactions of some salon, jet setters and socialites, who would cry out for human rights and, sometimes, for the necessary actions of some lackeys.
Until January 2020, however, Turkey sent 100 of its officers and at least 2,500 militants from a jihadist group operating in Syria under the orders of MIT, the Turkish Intelligence Service, who quickly overturned the military result on the ground against General Haftar.
Turkey has two goals on Libyan soil: firstly, stopping the Egyptian, Emirates and Saudi operations against Turkey's economic and oil expansion in the Mediterranean. They know where the Mediterranean is. We do not.
We have surrendered to a beautiful region full of far more powerful States than Italy, namely Northern Europe, which no longer knows what to do with us. If it were not for the SMEs in the North.
Beautiful those times when Amintore Fanfani, a man with extraordinary strategic and predictive skills - after all Tuscan-Etruscans are a bit haruspices, or predictors, whom the Romans greatly feared, according to Titus Livy - predicted a new "Mediterranean policy" for Italy, so as to take back that area that solum è mio, just to quote Machiavelli in a well-known letter to Vettori.
The other Turkish policy line is that of perceiving a threat of the strategic whole between Israel, Greece and Cyprus - to which at least it reacts - with the probable EU support which, if any, would probably bring bad luck to the Turkish expansion in the Mediterranean.
The reaction of Haftar’s operatives, although defeated on the ground so far, has not been negligible and allows to foresee a long proxy war between Turkey, Egypt, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other countries.
With whom are the Westerners siding? They have left the ground to local players, with the exception of a few intelligence positions. Precisely with the hope of nothing, or rather with the idea that the matter will calm down and be settled by going back to the "negotiation and mediation tables". To mediate what?
The success of Turkey, which will certainly not want to mediate its new presence in Tripoli’s oil market, as well as in the new Turkish Exclusive Economic Zone, stretching from the Libyan coast to Kastellorizo, in the Dodecanese?
What does Russia want? It wants to fight Westerners in the region and, anyway, also Turkey.
But again for Turkey and its intelligence, the services of the Russian contractor company Wagner were allegedly sold to the Emirates. This is not impossible.
Russia does not want a long war in Libya, which would wear out Mediterranean equilibria and probably exclude it from the new strategic context.
On the contrary, Russia officially wants an agreement between the parties, the end of hostilities and the creation of a Government of National Unity.
Furthermore, unlike others, Russia perceives the sense of Turkish penetration in Libya as the antecedent of the hegemonic Islamization of Turkey with respect to the jihadist groups of sub-Saharan Africa.
President Erdogan knows that Westerners - who do not make calculations, but live on paranoia - are now obsessed with "China in Africa". He therefore thinks they will keep quiet while Turkey takes the big piece of Africa not yet fully colonized by China.
Russia, however, will never take great risks in Libya, because it does not want tension with Turkey, and especially with its new Turkish Stream.
In 2016 Russia already printed 9 billion U.S. dollars of Haftar’s new Libyan currency, with the effigy of the old Rais, transported to Benghazi via Malta, which imposed its remarkable "tax".
Moreover, the Russian Federation is playing its future true cards on Saif-al Islam Gaddafi rather than on General Haftar. In short, everyone is playing and making plans on Libya, after the "democratic" disaster of France and Great Britain, while Italy is doing nothing at all.
Professor Valori is President of the International World Group