[That night in 1987] Let’s speak about it…Ben Ali rose to power thanks to Italy
|sabato 29 gennaio 2011||Scritto da Plex - 350 letture||
Ben Ali took power in Tunisia after a bloodless coup, some 23 years ago. Matteo Pugliese tells us what happened that night between 6 and 7 November 1987 in Tunisi.
Fulvio Martini was an Admiral of Italian Navy, Chief of Italian Military Intelligence (SISMI) for seven years, a pillar of Italian intelligence for any government, no matter what color, as assessed by NATO’s and Soviet’s colleagues. Known as a gentleman, PRI elector and author of Sigonella. In 1999, Martini testifies during a secret section of Italian Parliament’s Committee on Massacres and tells for the first time what really happened in Tunisia. Unfortunately, he didn’t go down into the details and died four years later, with Ben Ali still in charge, in the palace where Martini had put him.
We know that in the 80s the Israeli-Palestinian crisis was already burning and that Islamic fundamentalist fringe groups threatened the lands of the Sunset, the Maghreb, including Tunisia. The consequences of a possible escalation to power by the Islamist forces were almost clear to those, as the Italian Premier Bettino Craxi (Foreign Minister being Giulio Andreotti), who during that time was undertaking a Mediterranean-centered foreign policy.
Martini was told to plan the succession to power in Tunisia, as President Bourguiba 84 and thing were mature for him to leave his place after a 30-years leadership. Bourguiba, patriot and hero but now demented and isolated, aimed at eradicating Islamic fundamentalist threat with some summary executions. Italian 007s, coordinated by Martini, at the first stage contacted regime’s bigwigs, paving disagreements, and then imposed a peaceful succession that became his pride, as not a “drop of blood” shed.
SISMI’s (and others’) dauphin was a man with a dazzling career: military professional, leader and founder of Tunisian National Security, Ambassador to Poland, Prime Minster and Minister of Interior. His name was Ben Ali. He persuaded Bourguiba’s doctors to declare him non compos mentis, and assumed the Presidency of the Republic of Tunisia, with everyone’s blessing. The only victim of the process – as highlighted by Martini himself – was his French counterpart, who lost his job because Italians anticipated him. A month after the coup, ENI’s President, the socialist Franco Reviglio went to Tunisi with Craxi in order to conclude an energetic agreement. Years later, Craxi will be protected at Hammamet by Ben Alì.
When Ben Alì surrended to the protests and fled abroad, he did so for two main reasons: the fear of being removed by a violent coup and the lack of international support, likely combined with the action of some Intelligence.
It seems that Friday, January the 14th, the President flew away from Tunisi, escorted by two flighter whose nationality is still doubtful. Simultaneously, a spokesman for the Government of Malta announced that “sSortly after 19:00 Ben Ali’s plane flew over Maltese airspace in the north.” Meanwhile, French authorities passed from ‘taking note’ of Ben Ali’s arrival to the definition of his visit as “unwelcome”. There is a gap of several hours in which nothing is known of the plane. However, towards evening, a Tunisian Falcon asks permission to land for refueling in Cagliari. The crew initially refused to board the police but the control finally takes place and both Italian Minister of Interior, Maroni, and Italian Foreign Minister, Frattini, assure that Ben Ali is not on the plane. But, when the Falcon takes off, the news that Tunisian former President is headed to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, starts spreading.
Paris refusal is maybe due to two reasons: fear of hosting an unpopular figure among the large Tunisian community in France and resentment towards the man that, thanks to Italy, climbed over the plans of French Secret Services, traditionally influential in Maghreb politics.
Algeria, Libya and Egypt are facing the same Tunisian conditions, oppressed as they are by regimes masked and tolerated by Europe as a bulwark against the advance of Islam. The centerpiece of this balance of power is Egypt. It is falls, the whole Maghreb will fall with it.
Matteo Pugliese_20 years old and a honorable career in the Italian secret service. To be honest, he is Labouratorio mole within the Services.