Trained by the US State Department, Emma Bonino is an ardent ally of Washington.

In her meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry, the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino reaffirmed her country’s firm engagement to contribute to a Palestine–Israel peace agreement, and in general, to the peace process in the Middle East.

There is indeed no doubt that Italy is engaged, although we didn’t know in what. That was revealed two days later by a plane crash. The crash ocurred in the region of Savona last Saturday (11th May 2013), and involved a prototype of the M-346 fighter from Alenia Aermacchi (Finmeccanica), which crashed during a certification test. Thirty of these fighters are to be supplied to Israel as from 2014. Considered to be the most advanced flight school trainer in the world, the twin-jet M-346 could be used by the Israeli Air Force not only to train their pilots for even more deadly attacks, but also as combat fighters for « low-cost operations », in other words, for low cost aerial attacks against Gaza, Syria and other countries - the M-346 can carry three tonnes of bombs and missiles. Alenia will ensure the logistical support. This is how Italy will contribute to the peace process in the Near East which, according to Bonino, is actually accelerating, thanks to the « impressive dynamism of the US administration ».

In Rome, Kerry and Bonino also spoke about the Syrian crisis, underlining the fact that a solution will have to be found quickly, in order to avoid the « the spill-over of the conflict into other areas of the region ». This is the same logic as the man who, after setting fire to his neighbour’s house, shouts « FIRE » when he feels the heat of the flames.

The solution, Kerry reminded us, must be « political », and founded on the condition that Bachar el-Assad will not participate in a transition government in Syria. In other words, the present government must be deposed and replaced by a government chosen by the « rebels ». His « diplomatic »solution is clear - the government that Syria needs is to be decided by the United States with the agreeement of their NATO allies.

Kerry took meetings with Prime Minister Letta and a few others on just this subject. With pride, the Farnesina (headquarters of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) declared that the city of Rome has become « an important diplomatic hub for the Middle East file ». In reality, as far as Washington is concerned, Rome is above all an important military hub. This is confirmed by the fact, as revealed by the New York Times, that the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) recently sent liaison officers to the US Embassy in Rome to « advise the Italian special services forces and coordinate their activities ».

What this essential « activity » might be is indicated by the fact that liaison officers from USSOCOM were sent at the same time to Turkey and Jordan, where the forces that have been infiltrated into Syria are trained and armed. In fact, USSOCOM’s mission is not only to carry out commando operations to eliminate or capture the enemy, but also to train foreign troops and accomplish intelligence operations. According to information provided by the Commander himself, USSOCOM operates regularly in more than 70 countries and , last March, had operations under way in 92 different countries.

The USSOCOM liaison officers were sent to the US Embassy in Rome to « advise » Italian Special Forces and « coordinate » their operations – this indicates that Italy is increasingly implicated in the hidden war which is being waged in the Middle East and in Africa. At the press conference in Rome, Kerry explained that « about 30,000 US soldiers » live in Italy. This number will rise as soon as the plans for moving the US Special Operations Command in Europe from Stuttgart to Sigonella (Sicily) come to fruition.

Pete Kimberley
Il Manifesto (Italy)