21:34 GMT +3 hours24 July 2016
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Italy Becomes Base for Armed US Drone Operations in Libya

© Photo: U.S. Air Force
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Italy agrees to drone flights out of Sicily to combat Daesh in North Africa.

The Italian government agreed on Monday to allow armed US drones to be flown out of an American base in Sicily, in an attempt to bolster the fight against Daesh in Libya. The agreement comes as the violent extremist group expands its territorial presence throughout the Middle East and North Africa in spite of efforts by a US-led coalition to limit and eventually eliminate terrorism in the region.

The agreement will be strictly enforced, with Italians authorizing drone flights from Sicily’s Sigonella air base on a case by case basis. Under the agreement, armed drone flights cannot be used for offensive purposes, only to protect personnel on the ground.

The only way to get rid of Daesh (Islamic State) in Libya is to support locals fighting against the terrorist organization on the ground, Jason Pack, a scholar who specializes in Libyan affairs, told Radio Sputnik.
© REUTERS/ U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Matthew Bruch/Handout

Over the last 18 months, Washington has reached out to Italy with repeated requests to conduct armed drone operations from Sigonella, citing the risk of Daesh extremists spilling into Europe in the ongoing Middle East refugee crisis.

The agreement signals a potential turning point for Washington’s European counterparts in combating Daesh in Libya. European officials have remained reticent to intervene more fully in the highly factionalized and destabilized country.

America’s 2011 intervention in Libya, to depose the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi, left a power vacuum with two rival governments, both suspected of terrorist affiliations, warring for control. Daesh has exploited this instability, turning Libya into a primary military training outpost.

The gains in Libya by Daesh have spilled over into neighboring Tunisia, a moderate nation in perhaps the world’s most volatile region, and recent attacks have killed scores, including civilians. In response to these terrorist strikes, the U.S. launched a raid last week on a Libyan base in Sabratha, near the Tunisian border, targeting Noureddine Chouchane, a Tunisian-born militant who masterminded two terrorist attacks in his home country, killing dozens of tourists. The US looks to escalate containment strikes in coming weeks.

For their part, the Italian government has stated that it refuses to take part in military strikes in Libya until a legitimate Libyan government requesting assistance should arise. Further, despite increasing pressure from Washington for offensive operations to be launched from Sigonella, Italian officials continue to refuse to escalate, for fear of becoming embroiled in another country’s civil war, and the unpopularity of Middle East intervention among the domestic electorate.

Washington hawks would like to view the move as a first step toward an expansion of Italy’s presence in Libya.

Related:
Hillary Clinton Destabilized Libya so the West Could 'Exploit the Country'
US Intelligence Collection 'Improves,' More Spies Needed to Fight Daesh
Daesh Using Civilians as Human Shields Against Advancing Syrian Army
Benghazi: Tragic Sideshow Distracting From Real Scandal of Libyan War
Tags:
U.S. Department of State, Predator Drone, armed drones, Drones, Daesh, US Defense Department, Presidential Administration, Italy's Foreign Ministry, Noureddine Chouchane, Muammar Gaddafi, Barack Obama, Matteo Renzi, Washington DC, United States, Tunisia, Benghazi, Libya, Sicily, Italy
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  • Mitach2002
    So back to murdering innocent people in Libya are we?
  • jasin reply toMitach2002(Show commentHide comment)
    Mitach2002, Renzi at it again.
  • Zhukov
    Make the US fly them from Florida. Italy is such a vassal state.
  • armor
    Italy: don't do that. You will regret bitterly. Tell the Us of NA to go elsewhere.
  • nobody asked to italian people if we want this. As always, we (italians) are a colony or USA/GB/Germany/France.
    Simply disgusting.
  • in reply toZhukov(Show commentHide comment)
    Zhukov, we lost the WWII war, and we see the result. You are totally right, we are a vassal state, not a sovereign Nation.
    Who tried to make this country back to his sovereignity has been killed and still today, insulted every day as the "devil".
    You can image on who i am talking about.
  • in reply toarmor(Show commentHide comment)
    armor, armor, How? I can't decide simply nothing with my hands, as all italian people can't do and decide on nothing.
    we are simply a colony of usa,germany,gb, france and their criminal tools called EU and NATO.
    we lost the war, and we lost all our sovereignity. with EU, we lost our money and the control of our economy, policy, welfare, fiscalilty and so on.
    we are just slaves that are sleeping while other nations are killing us every day.
    I would kick out tomorrow from Italy every 113 military USA bases that we have been forced to have here on our soil. Nobody asked to italian people if we want it or not. they simply do what they want and we must always say "yes Sir, thanks!".
    sad as disgusting.
  • CocoChannel
    Another exemple of the reasons for which, the USA founded their EU enslaved colony, and will do everything to prevent Grexit, Brexit, and so on.
  • Zhukovin reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    paolo.marinelli, Italy's politics was divided after WWII, and that allowed the foreign Allied Powers to divide the political class and infiltrate the military and internal security forces. Actually, Italy almost broke free in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the rise of the anti-NATO Left, but the murder of PM Moro by Gladio operatives ended that effort IIRC. The US is ruled by the same type of NATO jackboots that have your country under house arrest.
  • armorin reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    paolo.marinelli, thank you, you have just confirmed in my mind what I knew already, but not to that degree, as you wrote. It is really, really, true that Europe is made of vassal states, and crudely put, slaves , you are quite right.
    Things are coming to a boil now, keep the Faith, keep Hope, the situation is going to change( for the better), unexpected things will happen. Many people I know and I thank God that Russia has intervened in Syria for the legitimate Government. The Us of NA have gone mad, I now firmly believe that. Not the good people there, and there are many. My humble wish is that the diabolical EU is disbanded, and that the true individual nations/countries will rise again, free of the domination of the Us of NA/Nato/occult societies, retake their independence, regain their currencies, their identities, their culture even which otherwise may even disappear. Courage, do not give up.
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