Italy has sent thousands of peacekeeping troops to Lebanon. Some say Italy’s Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema is pushing Italy into a stronger role in world affairs – one of peacekeeping and conflict resolution.
Patrick has sent the following dispatch from Italy. Feel free to comment. Any other views from Italy – and indeed France – are very welcome.
Even if I agree with you that Mr Prodi (the current Italian Prime Minister) is a friend of Syria, I don’t believe the previous government (lead by Mr Berlusconi) was an enemy of your country!! Moreover I think Berlusconi’s government policy towards Syria was not as aggressive as Bush’s.
The Italian parliament approved the mission in the south of Lebanon, although some political parties wanted the international coalition to disarm Hezbollah. Most of them infact (not only the right, but many on the left) see Hezbollah as a terrorist movement that started this tragic war.
Very few politicians (except the communist parties) defend Hezbollah’s actions. When Oliviero Diliberto, the leader of one of the Italian communist parties, visited Hezbollah, some years ago, he was accused of supporting a terrorist movement and even few days ago when our current foreign secretary Massimo D’Alema visited Beirut, and was seen walking with a Hezbollah member of parliament, he received a lot of criticism.
Nevertheless the mission is supported by a huge part of Italian public opinion.
I’m one of the great supporters of this mission, even though I would like to see a calendar for the complete disarming of Hezbollah. I know the group is seen among Arabs as a resistance movement, but I don’t think so. Anyway, good luck, italian soldiers! We support you!!