* Â Â Italy wants Libya to crack down on the thousands of illegal migrants smuggled across the Mediterranean to Italian shores. Libya has largely not delivered on pledges over the past few years to eliminate the problem. Italy will pay for $500 million worth of electronic monitoring devices on the Libyan coastline.
Â “There should be “fewer clandestine migrants leaving Libyan shores for Italian coastlines”, Berlusconi said
There’s little reason to be optimistic they will pay anytime soon.Â QaddafiÂ has a history of discarding his promisesÂ once he gets what he wants.Â And now he’s laughing about it.
BENGHAZI, Libya:Â Italy agreed over the weekend to pay Libya $5 billion as compensation for its 30-year occupation of the country, which ended in 1943.
* Apologies: there is something wrong with this blog entry, some links don’t work and you can’t connect to the next page. We’ll get it fixed asap. Meanwhile, please comment on another thread.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and the Libyan leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, signed a memorandum pledging a $5 billion compensation package that involves construction projects, student grants and pensions for Libyan soldiers who served with the Italians in World War II.
“It is a material and emotional recognition of the mistakes that our country has done to yours during the colonial era,” Berlusconi said Saturday as he arrived. “This agreement opens the path to further cooperation.”
In return, Italy wants Libya to crack down on the thousands of illegal migrants smuggled across the Mediterranean to Italian shores. Libya has largely not delivered on pledges over the past few years to eliminate the problem. Italy will pay for $500 million worth of electronic monitoring devices on the Libyan coastline.
With the agreement, there should be “fewer clandestine migrants leaving Libyan shores for Italian” coastlines, Berlusconi said in comments broadcast on Italian state television.
Rome is also eager to increase its long-consolidated energy ties with Tripoli. Libya is a big supplier of natural gas and oil to Italy. Berlusconi said the agreement helps open the way to more “gas possibilities, possibilities for Libyan oil, which is of the best quality.”
Qaddafi received Berlusconi under a big tent in Benghazi, where they exchanged gifts and discussed the agreement over lunch. The Italian leader said that part of the package would be for infrastructure projects over the next 25 years, including a coastal highway stretching across the country from Tunisia to Egypt.
Berlusconi handed over to Qaddafi the Venus of Cyrene, a Roman statue taken in 1913 by Italian troops from the ruins of the Greek and Roman settlement of Cyrene, on the Libyan coast.
It has taken years of negotiations for the two sides to reach a deal on compensation for Italy’s rule over Libya from 1911 to 1943. The compensation package will also finance the clearing of land mines planted in the Italian colonial era.
Libya says that Italian troops killed thousands of Libyans and drove thousands more from their villages and cities under colonial rule.
“In this historic document, Italy apologizes for its killing, destruction and repression against Libyans during the colonial rule,” Qaddafi said.
Tripoli’s relations with the West have improved dramatically since 2003, when Libya accepted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
On Aug. 14, Libya signed a deal with the United States to settle both countries’ claims for compensation for past bombings.
Berlusconi said that “in the name of the Italian people, as head of government, I feel it is my duty to offer an apology and make plain our sorrow for that which happened so many years ago, and which affected so many of your families.”
Libya named Aug. 30 Libyan-Italian Friendship Day.
Fitzgerald: Spending money like dhimmis
Why should the American government be spending, have spent or committed, nearly two trillion dollars to bring “good government” to Iraq? Why should it have spent $65 billion on the malevolent government of Egypt? Why did American taxpayers pay, not only for that Mercedes 600 that so impressed him with its “smooth ride,” the one that son-of-plucky-little-king-Hussein King Abdullah of Jordan picked him up in, but also for billions of dollars in aid to Jordan? Jordan’s population is said to be possibly the most fervently anti-American in the world. To take advantage of untariffed textiles it can send to America, Jordan’s Arabs — divided between the “Eastern Palestinians” who are called “Jordanians” and the “Western Palestinian Eastern Palestinians” who are called “Palestinians” — own factories where non-Arabs are employed and exploited, in what American labor investigators have called the “worst” labor conditions, amounting in many cases to slavery, they have ever seen.
Why does the American government continue to fund the Fatah warlords, those Slow Jihadists who are still, nominally, in control of their fellow Arabs in the Arab-occupied “West Bank”? And why is it that the American government (with a little help from other NATO states) has come to be expected to lavish further tens of billions on the permanently meretricious and malevolent — generals or rabble-rousing zamindars, it hardly matters — government of Pakistan?
And why does this money, once it starts to flow — to Egypt, to Jordan, to “the Palestinians,” to Pakistan — come so quickly to be regarded as received, as by right, and given, as by necessity or duty? All Western or Infidel aid, whenever given, for whatever ostensible purpose, becomes that dutiful tribute that the Infidel donors are afraid — afraid! — to cut, for fear of offending those (look at Egypt, look at “the Palestinians”) who have come to expect that tribute from the Infidels to be paid. There is not a single example, anywhere, of a serious and permanent diminishment, or still better, ending of such aid — aid that helps improve the military capacity of the Muslim recipients. Could Pakistan have paid for its nuclear project without Western aid to sustain it? And when it is non-military aid, it merely frees up other money that can be diverted to support whatever local Jihads that recipient-state or regime is most directly involved in furthering.
It is maddening that that Infidel aid — given by Infidel states even as they must endure paying ever greater sums to the oil-producing Muslims who share, with their fellow Muslims, almost nothing of the trillions they take in (and are quite content to see the Infidels pick up the Infidel Man’s Burden) — becomes routine, unquestioned, a veritable matter of right, something that, once the Infidels start to supply it, they have to keep supplying it. And the Muslims who receive this aid do so not without any felt gratitude, but with the sense that this Infidel aid is in the natural and just order of things, which for them, in the deepest sense, it is.
Historically , the payment of the jizyah was not only to collect revenue on which the Islamic state depended, but had to be made in conditions that would demonstrate to one and all, Muslim and dhimmi alike, the inferior status of the dhimmi. The dhimmi was supposed to appear with the payment, and in many places he would be struck on the side of jaw, or otherwise. Not, that is, merely symbolically. In India, where Hindus had to pay both zakat and jizya, one practice deserves mentioning (this may be in Lal, or on Sarkar, or elsewhere): the Hindu, treated as a kind of dhimmi even though, as a polytheist, he did not actually count as a member of the ahl al-Kitab or “people of the Book” (who, therefore, could be allowed to survive, and not convert, as long as they fully complied with their dhimmi status), would find that a Muslim would spit into his open mouth — quite a sign of his status.
There is something else. The payment either of jizyah, or the land-tax, kharaj, is only the best-known of the many disabilities, economic, political, and social, which dhimmis had to endure. Examples include the requirement that clothing of Christians and Jews, and their dwelling-places, bear marks indicating that they were either Christians or Jews. The zunnar, or belt, often blue, of the Christians, or the yellow star of the Jews (Hitler borrowed his idea from the “tolerant” court of Abbasid Baghdad), helped to identify people. And why would not need to identify them? Well, suppose one of them did not obey the rules pertaining to dhimmis. For example, dhimmis could not ride on horses, but only on donkeys, and only side-saddle, and they had to dismount whenever they came upon a Muslim. Dhimmis could not repair or build new houses of worship. Dhimmis could not testify against Muslims in court, so if there were any quarrel, the Muslim would always win. And there were of course always the threat that if even a single dhimmi did not fulfill an obligation, or violated some prohibition, not only he, but his entire community could suffer.
Consider the historical data and the present nature of “foreign aid.” Compare and contrast.
Qaddafi Still Dodging the Bill for PanAm 103
Despite all the warm fuzzies between Condoleezza Rice andÂ Muammar el-QaddafiÂ in TripoliÂ Â last week, there can be little optimism thatÂ LibyaÂ willÂ make final payments to relatives of the hundreds of Americans killed in theÂ PanAm 103Â andÂ LaBelle discothequeÂ terrorist attacks anytime soon.
The Bush administration has said repeatedly thatÂ Libya’s bizarre dictatorÂ must finish making promised payments to the families before normal relations can resume.
TheÂ Comprehensive Claims Settlement AgreementÂ thatÂ Secretary of State Rice negotiated with the erstwhile rogueÂ obligates Libya to put up $1 billion in compensation to the families in return for the normalization of relations with Washington.
But the agreement has no timetable or deadline. And none of the funds, whichÂ Libya originally promised to pay in 2003, have shown up.
There’s little reason to be optimistic they will anytime soon.Â QaddafiÂ has a history of discarding his promisesÂ once he gets what he wants.
And now he’s laughing about it.
After he renounced his nuclear weapons program in 2006 — which a number of experts say was going nowhere anyway — the Bush administration announced it was removing Libya from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.Â QaddafiÂ promptlyÂ ditched a near-agreementÂ with a lawyer for families of the LaBelle discotheque bombing for final payments.
When the State Department moved last summer to exempt Libya from suits filed by victims of its terrorist attacks,Â criticsÂ cried that the Bush administration was systematically removing incentives forÂ QaddafiÂ to pay up.Â Â
Meanwhile, even before Rice andÂ QaddafiÂ were televisedÂ beamingÂ at each other last week, the dictator’s son, a powerful official in his own right, was denying any responsibility for theÂ bombing of Pan Am 103, which was blasted out of the air over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1989, killing all 270 aboard, including 180 Americans.
Saif al-IslamÂ QaddafiÂ said Libya had accepted responsibility for the attack — but only to get international sanctions lifted.
“It doesn’t mean that we did it, in fact,” heÂ told the BBCÂ in a little-noted program broadcast Aug. 31, calling the victims’ families “very greedy” for pursuing their claims.
“They were asking for more money and more money and more money,” said Junior, who is expected to succeed his father on the throne someday.
Only months earlierÂ MuammarÂ QaddafiÂ himself hadÂ bragged publiclythat he’d squeezedÂ Â as much money out of American oil companies for the rights to drill in Libya as he’d paid out in claims.
“We have paid off the compensations to the victims’ families but the US oil companies, which wanted to enter our country had to pay such fees that they brought this money back to Libya,” he said in a speech. “So, what we gave with the right hand was later taken with the left.”
A State Department spokeswoman, Ann Somerset, told me Monday that the department remains “optimistic” thatÂ QaddafiÂ will pay up, emphasizing that the normalization of relations with Libya, with all its commercial and political benefits, will not go forward “until the entire amount” has been paid