Italy and the global challenge of jihadist terrorism. The centrality of the Mediterranean. L’Unità discusses the issue with the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Enzo Amendola, on his return from a diplomatic mission in Libya. “We must come to terms with the fact that jihadism has broadened its geographical scope of action from Africa to Asia,” said Mr Amendola. And the Dhaka massacre is the tragic confirmation of this. As for the jihadist threat in Libya and in other North African Countries, the Undersecretary said: “Our task is to facilitate political processes, starting from Libya, which might enhance the capacity of local players to overcome the domestic crisis and to combat terrorist groups. This is the message that, compounded to our strong show of solidarity and direct aid to tackle the emergency, and together with regional and international partners we are communicating to the Libyan Authorities who are now engaged in freeing Sirte.”
Italy is in shock for the massacre at the Dhaka café-restaurant, where nine Italian citizens were killed. The threat of jihadist terrorism is becoming ever-more global, as proven by the carnage in the heart of Baghdad. How should the international community respond?
«There is no doubt that international jihadism has recently broadened its geographical scope of action from Africa to Asia, wedging into those societies whose political and social problems, or even failed States, have triggered a wave of madness and violence following the call to arms launched by the Mosul mosque in 2014. It is evident that the international coalition of which Italy is part has the force and the duty to militarily defeat the “Caliphate’s” black flags from Mosul to Raqqa. However, at the same time, this coalition and the forces investing in multilateralism, must broaden their horizon to include those Countries that are subjected to the emergence of this totalitarian ideology.»
Foreign Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, recently affirmed that «the Mediterranean is the epicentre of global disorder». And the situation in Libya is crucial in this context. You have just met with the top-ranking authorities of the Tripoli-based government. What is your ensuing impression?
«Within this geopolitical strategy to counter terrorism, Italy is directly exposed to the events occurring in the Middle East, where jihadism has taken root in Libya’s instability or takes advantage of the fragility of young democracies such as the one in Tunisia. Our task is to facilitate political processes, starting from Libya, which might enhance the capacity of local players to overcome the domestic crisis and to combat terrorist groups. This is the message that, compounded to our strong show of solidarity and direct aid to tackle the emergency, and together with regional and international partners we are communicating to the Libyan Authorities who are now engaged in freeing Sirte.»
Besides terrorism, the other crucial issue concerns migration. And this too concerns Libya. More generally speaking, Italy has presented to Europe the «Migration Compact», a sort of "Piano Marshall" for Africa. What is the situation now?
«The element in the tragedy of human trafficking that representatives of the Libyan government highlighted during my recent meetings in Tripoli, in addition to the fact that they literally get rich off the lives of millions of people, migrants and refugees, is the difficulty of controlling 4,000 kilometres of border in the South of the Country. Precisely for this reason Europe, in a strategy also coordinated with the military mission EuNavFor Med, must extend its horizon and interventions southwards towards the Countries of origin and transit of migration flows that are not up to managing this epochal phenomenon. The economic effort for security, as proposed in the «Migration Compact», must also be extended to the Sahel and sub-Saharan Countries.»
Through your diplomatic action and the "Migration Compact", Italy is trying to move Europe’s horizon and political action south of the Mediterranean. But is Europe up to this change of horizon?
«Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has presented a new strategic foreign policy framework for Europe. For years, all attempts at building Mediterranean institutions and cooperation networks have failed. It is a sad result, in the aftermath of the 2011 upheavals, which we have the duty to improve through conflict resolution and development cooperation and by starting partnerships across the Mediterranean in order to share the strengths and the ailments of the African continent, being aware that all this will be crucial in Europe’s agenda for this century.»