Saturday, February 17, 2007
Italian leftists stage major protest over proposed US base expansion
Italian pacifists and Leftist staged a major protest with crowds of at least 50,000 yesterday against the presence of a new large-scale US air force base.
The base was scheduled to be placed on a former civilian airport in the northern city of Vicenza to replace two bases in Germany and act as a departure point for US troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.
What the Italians are worried about is that the base could be used as a staging post by the US military to launch assaults against jihadist threats in the Middle East...which could lead to retaliations and terrorism by the jihadis against Italians at home and abroad.
In other words, these particular Italians favor the position of the Spaniards taken after the Madrid Bombings..neutrality and appeasement in the hopes that the crocodile will eat them last.
Obviously there's more to it than that.
The deal was originally cooked up by the Berlosconi government, (which was a staunch ally of the Bush Administration and was tossed out of office partly because of it) and later ratified by Berlosconi's successor,leftist Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
It also comes just after an Italian court ordered 26 CIA agents to stand trial for the "rendition" of a Muslim cleric who was allegedly kidnapped in Milan and another judge ruled that Mario Lozano, a US marine, face trial for the fatal shooting of Nicola Calipari, an Italian spy.
Prodi is still trying to push the deal through, but the widespread protests coming from his constituency are making it politically dicey, so it remains to be seen if the Vicenza base will be built.