Manlio Dinucci (Il Manifesto, 9 February 2021)
Criticism was aroused by the fact that Matteo Renzi, received in Riyadh by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has praised Saudi Arabia.
No criticism was raised instead, but substantial consent - except the denunciation of this newspaper - , when Renzi himself, as chairman of the board as well as secretary of the Democratic Party, went in November 2015 on an official visit to Riyadh to consolidate relations between the two countries.
Yet then Saudi Arabia was essentially the same and had already started the war against Yemen. The visit was part of the traditional Italian policy of friendly relations with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies.
Just recall Emma Bonino who, as Foreign Minister of the Letta Government, declared in 2013 that "Italy and Saudi Arabia really have a lot in common and there are profound reasons for strengthening our ties".
The visit that the Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio made is part of the same line, the 10 January (over two weeks before Renzi) in Saudi Arabia.
Here he not only met Prince Mohammed bin Salman, extolling "the constant strengthening of relations of friendship and cooperation", but he performed a much more important official act: he signed with the Saudi foreign minister, prince Faisal bin Farhan, a memorandum of understanding on the "strategic dialogue" between Italy and Saudi Arabia.
This act, far more serious than Renzi's declaration on the "new Renaissance" of Saudi Arabia, has not aroused criticism in Italy and has practically passed over in silence.
The new agreement links Italy even more to an absolute monarchy, in which the Sovereign holds political and economic power, legislative, executive and judicial. It is currently in the hands of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who seized power with an act of force within the ruling family.
There is no parliament in Saudi Arabia, but only an advisory council appointed by the Sovereign.
Political parties and trade unions are illegal.
The judicial system is based on the Quranic law, administered by religious courts.
Frequent are the sentences of beheading or cutting of hands, carried out in public.
Opponents and critics are jailed, tortured and murdered.
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and his body was dismembered to make it disappear.
About 10 millions of immigrants, half of the workforce in Saudi Arabia, live in conditions of over-exploitation and slavery: for alleged violations of immigration laws, in 3 years more than 4 millions of them were arrested.
The agreement on "strategic dialogue" strengthens the ties of the Italian military-industrial complex with Saudi Arabia, one of the largest buyers of weapons.
While the Italian government revokes the sale of bombs to Saudi Arabia as a measure against its war massacring Yemen, Leonardo, the largest Italian war industry, assists Saudi Arabia in using the Eurofighter Typhoon fighters that bomb Yemen.
Riad bought some 72 of them from the consortium in which Leonardo has the 36% of the industrial share. The Eurofighter Typhoon, as the manufacturer itself certifies, is «combat proven» having already been «tested in operations in Libya, Iraq e Siria», to which Yemen must be added.
Leonardo itself documents that «for over 40 years we have supplied the avionics and communication systems of the Typhoon and Tornado operated by the Royal Air Force of Saudi Arabia "and that" we offer the Royal Air Force of Saudi Arabia unmanned aircraft and target acquisition solutions " (that is drones to identify the targets to be bombed).
Leonardo herself specifies, furthermore, that "we have personnel in the military bases of the Kingdom".
At the same time, the Italian public company Fincantieri is building in the United States 4 warships of the most advanced type (Multi-Mission Surface Combatants) destined for Saudi Arabia on the basis of a "multi-billion dollar order".
There are therefore solid foundations for the development of the "strategic dialogue" between Italy and Saudi Arabia.
(Il Manifesto, 9 February 2021)