Italy has sent warships to Libya, to increase security and to conduct “naval exercises” according to a Reuters report. The operation is set to begin Monday, and is being referred to as Mare Aperto (Open Sea).
Protecting their oil?
The Italian oil company Eni has numerous oil platforms in the region of Misurata, Libya that have been “guarded” by Libyan militias. Recently there have been questions as to the militia’s ability to protect them, given the violence from both Ansar al-Sharia, the al-Qaeda linked group, and the incursion of ISIS into Libya, as well as two off shoot militias vying for control of the government.
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The Independent, a news source out of Malta reported,
“The soldiers of the Reggimento San Marco arrived in La Spezia in the middle of the night. They crossed the sleeping city and proceeded next to the Arsenal until they arrived at a military base where they found everything prepared for action.
Yesterday too saw the arrival in La Spezia of the Nave San Giorgio, which had never been there before and which is prepared for an amphibian action.The ship was kept rather hidden and today, after lunchtime, having taken in soldiers and equipment, it sailed.
It would seem the ship’s next stop is Augusta in Sicily where it will take on reinforcements.”
Rome- a seat of Christianity
Italy has been a target of ISIS for some time because of the presence of the Vatican, as well as their participation. But in recent videos, the jihadists threatened that one of their goals is to “conquer Rome.” Libya is a short 300 kilometers from Italy, which has fueled concerns over the potential for ISIS members or other terrorists to arrive by boat in the major exodus of refugees from the region.
Italian naval officials have denied any military action is planned for the arrival of the warships, but did admit that they had been training their troops and ships for any eventuality. Admiral Pierpaolo Ribuffo stated that the presence of the ships would be “like police patrolling the streets.”
“Worries over a domestic threat were underlined by a report of a 64-page document in Italian, inviting Muslims to help “the Caliphate that will conquer Constantinople and Rome”, the two centers of Medieval Christianity.The document, was first reported on an Italian news website called Wikilao, which said it had been circulating on jihadist websites. The report was picked up by several Italian newspapers and television stations on Sunday but there was no immediate confirmation by Italian officials.”
Italy is moving to protect its interests in a pro-active manner.