Days after the Islamic State turned its murderous finger to Rome, Italian officials are sounding the alarm bells. Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti says that ISIS’s growing power in nearby Libya presents a clear and present danger to Italian shores. Describing the situation in Libya as “out of control,” Pinotti insists that her country “cannot be alone to bear the costs of these operations that affect all of Europe.”
What concerns Italy most is the influx of Libyan immigrants. While the majority of these immigrants are refugees simply trying to escape the civil war, Giacomo Stucchi – the president of Italy’s COPASIR (Parliamentary Committee for Intelligence and Security Services and for State Secret Control) – says that there is a danger that “potential terrorists, even if uncoordinated, are hiding in departing boats.”
To head off the immigrants, Italy is calling on international support. But while some in government think the answer lies in a military response, this view is not shared by Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni. Acknowledging that the situation in Libya was “getting worse,” he insisted that the “only remedy is political.” In a statement that sounded a lot like Barack Obama, Gentiloni said, “We don’t want crusades.”
Italy is not the only country disturbed by the ISIS advance. Egypt’s London Ambassador Nasser Kamel said that Sirte’s proximity to Italy made it a matter of the utmost concern. Noting that the boats leaving Libya for Italian harbor were mostly filled with refugees, he warned that “in the next few weeks, if we do not act together, they will be boats full of terrorists also.”
After ISIS released its video showing the execution of 21 Egyptian Christians, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi closed the Tripoli embassy and vowed military action. Unfortunately, they have little military to speak of. With only 5,000 available troops and a greatly-slashed defense budget, Italy is not prepared to go to war. Recognizing the difficulties, Renzi walked back his fervor on Monday. “It’s not the time for a military intervention,” he said. “Our proposal is to wait for the UN Security Council.”
Ah, the UN Security Council. Those guys are still around?
Like the United States and most of Europe, Italy is going to wait until given no other option before taking action. Surely there’s a chance that diplomacy can still win the day, right? In the meantime, let’s let in every Muslim immigrant with a beating heart, make broad proclamations about the glory of Islam, and pretend like ISIS will give up and go home when they get bored.
The one country that is doing something about ISIS in Libya – Egypt – is doing so outside the boundaries of the U.S.-led coalition. The Obama administration, still believing there is a political solution to the civil war, has refused to comment publicly on the Egyptian strikes. The most we get is a remark from Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, who said Wednesday, “We are constantly reviewing our relationship with Egypt.”
The U.S. – and the rest of its allies – needs to “review” their relationship with terror. ISIS isn’t going away until we make them. The only question is: how many innocent lives must be extinguished before we stand against evil?