Italia e Libia, verso un nuovo equilibrio?

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Negli ultimi mesi si è parlato molto, e con poca chiarezza, di un possibile intervento militare contro l’IS in Libia. L’Italia, inizialmente immaginata dagli Stati Uniti a capo di una coalizione Occidentale, per lungo tempo non ha preso chiare posizioni su un futuro intervento.Le ultime notizie sembrano smentire un futuro ritorno in Libia da una possibile coalizione occidentale per ragioni politiche, di sicurezza, e tattiche. Al contrario si può notare una nuova attenzione da parte dell’occidente agli sviluppi sul lungo termine nella regione e alla necessità in Libia di maggiore stabilità politica.

Nel dicembre 2015 il Consiglio di Sicurezza aveva supportato la creazione di un nuovo governo Libico con sede a Tripoli. Ma, nonostante il sostegno a livello internazionale, l’amministrazione di Al Sarraj ha dovuto confrontarsi per il controllo del paese con i due governi rivali, a Tripoli e Tobruk, e, soprattutto, con le centinaia di milizie locali. L’Italia, durante le discussioni su un possibile intervento nei primi mesi del governo Al Sarraj, ha dato estrema importanza alla rischiosa frammentazione politica Libica. In un primo momento la condizione posta dall’Italia per un eventuale azione è stata la presenza di un governo di unità nazionale in Libia in grado di approvare, congiuntamente con il Consiglio di Sicurezza, l’eventuale intervento Italiano. Tali considerazioni sottolineano le lezioni imparate dai passati interventi in Medio Oriente e la voglia in Italia di seguire la legge internazionale, muovendosi con il supporto internazionale e locale.

Successivamente, la decisione di Al Sarraj a luglio di non chiedere il supporto di truppe estere contro l’IS indica nuove possibilità diplomatiche tra il Nord Africa e l’Occidente. L’IS non ha la capacità di impadronirsi di una zona estesa in Libia e, al momento, un intervento sarebbe precoce. Inoltre, a differenza di quanto precedentemente deciso ed attuato in Iraq e Siria, la consapevolezza che l’IS non possa essere sconfitto senza un forte e legittimo governo locale ha guidato le decisioni Italiane. L’interesse mostrato dall’Italia verso le scelte del governo locale è un importante precedente per le future scelte politiche e militari, in quanto si è posta attenzione alla ricostruzione e alle scelte del governo, presupposto per la creazione di una stabilità interna.

Shock continues as circumstances around the Giulio Regeni atrocity unfold

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Contribution by Ashley Forbes

Public outrage continues to soar over the mysterious death of Italian student Giulio Regeni, whose mangled body was discovered last Wednesday on an Egyptian roadside. New information has emerged regarding Mr. Regini’s involvement with a left-wing Italian newspaper, Il Manifesto. The newspaper published an article last Friday claiming that weeks before his death, the student wrote an article for their paper under a pseudonym, criticising Egyptian President el-Sisi.

Over the years, foreigners, and even locals, who dare to express opinions in opposition to the ideas of the Egyptian government tend to find themselves imprisoned, tortured, and sometimes dead. Usually, those detained find themselves in jail or in a courtroom. This begs the question: why wasn’t Mr. Regeni jailed instead of tortured to death? The barbaric nature in which Mr. Regeni was found indicates that his death was no accident. However, even if he was writing for Il Manifesto, and even if the Egyptian government took issue with his opinions, why was he not brought in for questioning, or given his time in court? This occurrence undoubtedly heightens security risks for all foreigners travelling to Egypt. If a PhD student can end up brutally tortured to death for simply wanting to expand his academic background through field research, then are any of us really safe anymore?

In memory of Giulio Regeni

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Giulio Regeni, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge, was a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo, researching on trade unions and labour rights in post-Mubarak Egypt. He was of Italian origin, but had an international background which made him a citizen of the world. On the 25th January, the anniversary of the 2011 uprising, Giulio was supposed to meet his friends near Tahrir square. He never got there. His body was found five days later in a ditch, half-naked from the waist down, with clear signs of torture (stab wounds, cigarette burns, mutilation): evidence of what was a non-accidental, slow death.

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As the Italian and Egyptian authorities proceed with a supposedly joint investigation, we cannot help but wonder: How is this possible? How can we accept this horror? Giulio had moved to Egypt for academic purposes, doing research on the field on what was his expertise. The circumstances of his murder suggest that he was killed because of his ideas, that is, because of his decision to pursue his studies even if that meant living in a difficult environment.

As Angelo Martelli, PhD student at the London School of Economics, powerfully commented, “Giulio has paid the price of someone who believed that knowledge has no borders and that academic research in order to flourish needs to be truly free. (..) With Giulio’s murder academic research has also been assassinated, because we are depriving academia of its core idea of universitas, of a community of scholars without borders, where minds are challenged to discover new knowledge and contribute to the welfare of a broader society. A community where freedom of thought is elevated to its highest level without the fear of being persecuted for your ideas or discriminated on the basis of culture, religion or ethnicity. (…) Giulio was an example of a young free man who does not give up, who follows his instinct for knowledge and finds his sense of fulfilment by contributing with his research work.”

Now not only do we find this terrible loss hard to process, but we are more than concerned about the ramifications this event has in terms of freedom of movement, freedom of thought, freedom of expression. As The Guardian recalls, Giulio’s death ‘is not the first incident of a foreign national dying in suspicious  circumstances on Egyptian soil’. Thus my first appeal goes to Egypt to provide better security for its national and international citizens. But what if, as many have suggested, the Egyptian government or its institutions are to some extent responsible for this death? Should that be the case, then the same appeal goes to the international community: we cannot let our people be killed in such a dramatic and terrible way. If it is true that pursuing one’s research in sensible topics may carry the risk of travelling to unsafe areas, this cannot entail torture and death. It is simply not acceptable.

Giulio, we will remember you as a person who followed his dreams and interests and was not afraid of doing that, raising up your voice in search for a deeper knowledge. At the same time, as we keep on affirming, when terrorism and extremism bring horror and death, this tragic event should not represent an obstacle to those of us willing to explore the world and continue our work, whether it is for academic purposes or not.

We believe in freedom, and we want justice.