Back in late March, shortly after the start of the NATO bombing campaign against Libya, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Meet the Press that the U.S. had no “vital interest” in the country. The remark famously inspired Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to cut in and attempt to explain why, then, the United States was getting involved. Secretary Clinton’s explanation was that the Libyan campaign was in the vital interest of America’s NATO allies and that they had asked for U.S. support. “When it comes to Libya,” she said, “we started hearing from the U.K., France, Italy, other of our NATO allies. This was in their vital national interest.”
Secretary Clinton’s inclusion of Italy in the list was dubious to begin with. In fact, from the start of the unrest in Libya, the Italian government warned about taking sides in the conflict and supporting the rebellion. For example, in an interview published on February 23 in the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini alluded to the creation of an “Islamic Emirate” in the eastern-Libyan heartland of the rebellion. “We do not know more [about it],” Frattini told Il Corriere. “But we know that they are dangerous. There are elements of al-Qaeda there.”
Keep reading this post . . .