Italy to bolster Libyan military presence, says specialist

(AGI) Rome, Feb 16 - Italy intends to bolster its militarypresence in southern Libya, amid fears that Islamic State (IS)militants in the country may launch airstrikes against Italy,the research head of the IAI Institute of National AffairsSecurity & Defence Programme, Alessandro Marrone, told AGI onMonday. He said there were 1,500 armed groups in Libya withsizeable weapons arsenals, far more of them than those held bythe Taliban in Afghanistan. There was a risk that the missileswould be aimed at Italy, but whether they would be able to getas far as Sicily and

(AGI) Rome, Feb 16 - Italy intends to bolster its militarypresence in southern Libya, amid fears that Islamic State (IS)militants in the country may launch airstrikes against Italy,the research head of the IAI Institute of National AffairsSecurity & Defence Programme, Alessandro Marrone, told AGI onMonday. He said there were 1,500 armed groups in Libya withsizeable weapons arsenals, far more of them than those held bythe Taliban in Afghanistan. There was a risk that the missileswould be aimed at Italy, but whether they would be able to getas far as Sicily and dodge the anti-missile defence systemremained to be seen. Italy observed NATO defence standards,with integrated radar stations and interceptors, but the armedforces had been hit by defence cuts for many years. There wasno chance of acquiring equipment from one day to the next inthe case of a crisis such as this. Should Italy decide onmilitary intervention, it was unlikely that significant resultscould be achieved with airstrikes alone, as in 2011. The onlysolution would be a ground operation, which could cause moreItalian casualties than in Afghanistan, and within a shortertime, if things went wrong. All missions had to be preceded byan agreement with regional stakeholders and political anddiplomatic preparation was needed in order for them to succeed,Mr Marrone added. Libya had become a safe haven for terrorists,there was no control over the country and arms, drugs andmigrants were circulating freely. . .