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(en) Sicilia Libertaria: A natural aircraft carrier in the "enlarged Mediterranean" (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Sun, 19 Mar 2023 07:56:24 +0200

For some time now there seems to be a renewed interest in the role that Sicily will be able to play in the coming years in the eventful geopolitical framework which sees the Mediterranean as a crucial junction of opposing interests between world powers. To make this centrality clear, a new term has been coined: Mediocean. That maritime (and also terrestrial) space which, since the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and even more so with its doubling in 2015, connects the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific routes, precisely where the game for hegemony between USA and China. But the Italian Ministry of Defense prefers this term to that of the enlarged Mediterranean, "A Region that includes areas immediately contiguous to the Mediterranean "in the strict sense", incorporating the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf and passing through the sub-Sahara belt, which from the Horn of Africa, through the Sahel, it extends to the Gulf of Guinea: strategic quadrants which, not incidentally, are the priority place of the international projection (missions and operations) of the Armed Forces and the main object of our cooperation plans", thus as defined in the document Defense and security strategy for the Mediterranean, signed in May 2022 by the then minister Guerini, with the aim of setting the political-military guidelines and identifying the resources and tools for a strong presence and stability of Italy in this area.

Limes magazine insists a lot and on several occasions on the centrality of the Mediterranean in world geopolitics and on the fact that Italy must adequately equip itself to play a non-marginal role, which has dedicated two issues to this theme: the first in February 2021 from title Italy at the front of chaos and a second in August 2022 entitled The Italian sea and the war. In the editorial of this last issue, the need for the Italian presence is argued as follows: "The three generations born and lived in the privileges enjoyed for having snatched the Second World War from the side of the lucky ones have evacuated history. And war, a tragedy that threatens every community at irregular intervals. Caught between oblivion of the past, unconsciousness of the present and inertia towards the future, there are three probable outcomes: abandoning oneself to the destiny that does not exist, tearing oneself apart in terror or sticking one's head in the sand. Removal cultivated by the exhausted Europeanist pedagogy, which wants us to be vegans in a world of omnivores. And he invites us to glory in it, almost enjoying a superior dispensation from the noise of arms. We hope to re-educate ourselves to reality before reality has us". And the stark reality for the editors of Limes is that of war, which we must equip ourselves with, if we don't want to end up overwhelmed by events. The Ministry of Defense responds to these concerns in the aforementioned document: "The «Enlarged Mediterranean» is the strategic dimension of reference for our nation, within which the State exercises priority, but not exclusive, action in order to pursue the interests national strategies. These include the set of actions, projects, ambitions and objectives of the nation that contribute directly or indirectly to the prosperity and success of the country system, i.e. those fundamental interests for our value, political, economic, cultural and military system".

And it's not clear who influences who.

That a new centrality of the Mediterranean is actually confirmed by some economic indicators. 20% of the world's maritime traffic passes through its routes, gas pipelines, oil pipelines and telecommunications system cables linking Africa and Europe are located in its depths, even more relevant today following the Ukrainian war. For this reason, conferences and meetings promoted by institutions and associations have recently been held. The most recent was held in Palermo on 21 December entitled Noi, il Mediterraneo, which was attended, albeit remotely, by ministers Salvini and Musumeci. The president of the port system authority of the western Sicilian sea Pasqualino Monti, who promoted the conference, hoped that Sicily would become the hub of Europe. Another conference, to which we will return later, took place in Syracuse from 27 to 29 October last. But a real programmatic document for the economic development of the island - and what development! - had already been drawn up by The European House-Ambrosetti which, in collaboration with the Region of Sicily, conducted a study which culminated in a Final Report , the "Act Tank Sicily - Political strategies for a Sicily - at the center of the Mediterranean - open, attractive, connected". The report was presented on 25 March 2022 at Palazzo Belmonte Riso in Palermo and identifies four areas of intervention: Environment and energy: industrialize the water sector, build two waste-to-energy plants, reconvert contaminated industrial sites, develop technologies for green and blue hydrogen , new investments in wind and photovoltaic plants; Agrifood and large-scale retail trade, here everything is aimed at making large-scale distribution grow with strong operators who expand outside the region; Tourism and culture, the usual refrain of the "Sicily brand" is repeated and the need to attract large national and international groups in the hospitality sector; finally Infrastructural equipment, ranging from the high-speed Messina-Catania-Palermo railway line, to the expansion of the ports of Augusta - commercial - and of Catania - tourist -, to the arrangement of the motorways, the bridge over the Strait is missing.

But let us return, in closing, to the Syracuse conference organized by the Incontri a Siracusa association and entitled Sicily, the Mediterranean, Europe: the challenges of energy and security. In the conference brochure, which was attended by Defense Minister Crosetto, Romano Prodi, Joscka Fischer, Calogero Mannino, members or former members of the Armed Forces and journalists, the problem is posed without going around it: "From the Trinacria you can control the Strait of Sicily from which the routes that connect the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific pass. Control of Sicily is, and will remain, central to the match between the United States, China, India and Turkey." We are warned, there is no escaping the destiny of colony and military outpost. In one of the appointments of the conference, reasoning with Paolo Valentino, editorialist for Corriere della Sera, Calogero Mannino, minister several times between the 1980s and 1990s, supported the thesis of a Sicily hub, an important energy and military platform, but which at the moment it remains "passive", not integrated, as according to him happened for Friuli with the Aviano base, in a system in which political forces and military forces collaborate and support each other to start a virtuous path of development. In the vision of the old former long-time parliamentarian, even the arrangement of the motorways would be necessary, not so much and not only for their commercial importance, but more for military movements on an island so important in the Atlantic defense system.

Beyond the ravings of the eighty-year-old Mannino, this is precisely the future envisaged by the national and international ruling classes: an increasingly armed island, at the service of big capital as well as the aspirations of hegemony of an Italy, which dreams of a of a small regional power, perhaps imagining who knows a new Libyan campaign against Turkey, no longer Ottoman.

Angelo Barberi

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