Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has rejected calls to join the US-led war against ISIS by announcing airstrikes against targets inside Syria, saying that more airstrikes would only add to the chaos in the region.
Renzi has been facing growing pressure from the center-right opposition to join the war, and told a newspaper today that he was interested in defeating ISIS, but not just to “multiply on-the-spot reactions, without a strategic vision.”
“If being a protagonist means playing at running after other people’s bombardments, then I say ‘no thank you,'” Renzi insisted, comparing the new strikes to the 2011 NATO attack on Libya, and saying he doesn’t want a “repeat of Libya.”
Libya was expected to be a huge boost for Italy, its neighbor across the Mediterranean, with Italian companies lining up for huge business deals in post-Gadhafi Libya, only to see those opportunities dry up as fighting grows. With ISIS and others establishing presences in Libya, Italy is finding the country less a source of business opportunities and more an endless supply of refugee ships.