Bisignani rejects Meloni campaign in Libya: mistakes, Italy could be weakened

Dear director, with «your Africa» Giorgia Meloni runs the risk of losing the points gained so far on the international stage. Tripoli’s ugly mess, to quote Gadda, and the usual naming maneuvers are indeed the first cracks in the deep state around the head of government. What is celebrated as a great victory with the Italian Prime Minister’s visit to Tripoli risks turning into the first sensational stumble. There is no doubt that the agreement signed between Eni and Noc (National Oil Corp) of Libya has its weight, being the largest single investment (8 billion dollars) for the hydrocarbon sector in Libya since the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime. in 2011. Minister of Oil and Gas of the defunct government of Tripoli, he defected from the official signing ceremony and even attacked the head of the NOC, Farhat Omar Bengdara, arguing that it would not have been possible to negotiate or make agreements with Eni without the green light of the Council of Ministers. Now, therefore, the risk is that this agreement becomes wasted paper, dragging ENI and the government itself into a legal dispute with imponderable consequences, both in terms of gas supply and immigration. And if that happened, Italy would lose its role – already reduced – of mediation in the Mediterranean area.

Meloni was received in Libya as a true star, but with a legacy of controversy in the world of Muslim social networks due to the prime minister’s anti-protocol attitude, which is prohibited even from touching a guest, especially a woman. In response, the government of Cyrenaica, recognized by Parliament and led by Fathi Bashaga, completely ignored by Meloni, shortly after the signature decided to report the memorandum of understanding to the judicial authorities, as motivated in the indictment: «The outgoing government of Tripoli is not empowered to sign agreements in accordance with the international political agreements signed in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations, above all in a context in which the share of the foreign partner and that of the national partner is growing”. Legal disputes, therefore, which add to the problems of internal security in a country where all the oil operators present in the place are well aware of its dimensions. Furthermore, the old wells in Libya are in great decline and would require substantial investments, while the first new wells will only be able to start operating in at least five years, when the country is pacified. Although the administrative headquarters of the NOC is in Tripoli, where the ceremony The signing ceremony was staged with great fanfare, most of the wells are in Cyrenaica and Fezan, therefore outside the territory controlled by the militias of outgoing Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah. But, due to the negative consequences that this memorandum of understanding on immigration may have, it should be remembered that control of the borders and most of the coasts is also under the control of Benghazi, as the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi, is well aware. One nod would be enough to unleash all hell.

The head of Noc Bengdara seems to have demanded Meloni’s presence at the signing, otherwise he would have postponed everything to a later date. But who suggested to the Italian Prime Minister this “halfway” trip to Libya? And who will take responsibility for this, especially after the Arab foreign ministers refused a few days ago to re-legitimize the outgoing government, boycotting the Arab League Council summit in Tripoli, attended by only two of the twenty-one ministers who are part of it ? The absences of the foreign ministers of the monarchies of the Gulf, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were very serious, as well as the secretary general of the League of Arab States, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who no longer recognizes this executive. Returning to the question of who suggested the transfer of Libya to the Prime Minister, it seems strange that the mission was supported by Aise, our security service, led by General Gianni Caravelli, who always had a deep knowledge of Libyan affairs. It is likely, therefore, that it was Elisabetta Belloni’s DIS or Itamaraty that gave the green light, which has a modest ambassador, Giuseppe Maria Buccino, now outgoing, and an envoy, Nicola Orlando, wholly irrelevant. And speaking of outgoing ambassadors, the government will also have to decide soon, by February, on the appointment of the new head of mission in Tripoli. In the scarce list of names, Nicola Orlando’s also appeared for a moment, then removed due to the meager performance presented so far. Indeed, the role requires a high profile competency, able to act independently and not just follow the email sent from Rome. More likely, however, it was Eni herself who organized the Meloni blitz, where Descalzi is in contention for a coveted fourth renewal and who, to strengthen her position, lured one of Draghi’s Rasputins, Antonio Funiciello, to her side.

Buoyed by the so-called new “Mattei plan”, Meloni threw herself headlong into Africa with the enthusiasm and drive that are her own and then allowed herself to be caught up in the syndrome of consolidated structures, relying on very skilful interests to invent small theaters and slogans that, however, leave the problems to those who have the mandate to really govern. Those who do not believe in the “Mattei plan”, which actually only works in Algeria, are mainly the French and Spanish, who have just signed a very robust bilateral treaty. As for gas in Algeria, in drastic decline, it has become like Mussolini’s cows: it comes and goes. The increase in imports from Algeria was announced by the then Minister Cingolani and the CEO of Eni in June 2022, sealed by a state visit by Draghi in July and reiterated in a “useless” agreement signed a few days ago. Meanwhile, Algeria bought 7.2 billion euros in weapons from Russia, asked to join the economic bloc of the Brics, held joint military exercises with Russian troops on the border with Morocco, closed the only independent radio (Radio M), arrested journalist Ihsane El Kadi. Political choices that provoked the reaction of 26 US senators who, in a letter addressed to the Secretary of State, stated that “Algeria’s relations with Russia are a threat to all the nations of the world”.

But if gas is the protagonist on the international stage, in Italy it’s all fire and flames in the renewal of commitments. The latest news, waiting to find out whether Flavio Cattaneo, sponsor of La Russa, wants to join the game or not, concerns Alessandro Profumo who, contrary to MEF directives, intends to move Leonardo’s assembly due to his painful court deadlines in end of May. Will his main protector, EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, be able to defend him again, as he did to preserve the property of his beloved sister-in-law Alessandra Dal Verme? Giorgetti, at least this time, seems to have said a resounding no. And so Mr. Arrogance prepares the boxes. After Alessandro Rivera, another one out.

Source: IL Tempo