From Tel Aviv to Kiev, the Italian front

Since 7 October 2023, the days in Gaza have been a deadly and terrifying succession of bombs, explosions, fires and collapses. In particular, the night between Monday and Tuesday was perhaps among the bloodiest since the beginning of the conflict, counting hundreds of casualties and incursions. Further fuelling this sense of fear and apprehension is the wait for the ground invasion that has seemed imminent for days but which at the moment seems to be suspended, for “tactical and strategic reasons”, Israeli military sources explain. It is likely that there are still many uncertainties on how to carry out the operation and, above all, on what could be an effective “exit strategy”: how to prevent the Gaza operation from turning into a disaster for Israel and the Palestinian population, in humanitarian terms but also in political, reputational and diplomatic terms. If in the days immediately following the Hamas attack, the international community’s support for Israel seemed unconditional, with the passage of time more and more Western countries, especially the United States, have launched intense pressure campaigns to moderate and rationalise Israel’s military reply: to ensure that it is as targeted as possible and that it avoids the risk of the conflict widening to a regional level.

In the meantime, the death count continues to rise while negotiations for the release of hostages and the opening of humanitarian corridors in the Strip are slowing down, despite the mediation of Qatar and Egypt. The situation is similar in Ukraine where, despite less attention due to the unfolding of events in the Middle East region, the fighting continues apace. Kiev’s counter-offensive is advancing slowly, and not without effort, while the Russian armed forces continue their offensive operations unabated. The two conflicts also seem to be intertwined by the difficulty of meeting supply commitments on the two fronts. Ukraine urges the West to increase its production of arms and ammunition, fearing that it will run out of them if the NATO countries’ attention turns more to the South than to the East. If there is an escalation in the Middle East, in fact, the United States and its allies will have to distribute aid and assistance, without forgetting the other hotbeds of conflict that have recently opened – perhaps not by chance – from the Caucasus to the Balkans to sub-Saharan Africa.

And Italy? Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni immediately clarified Italy’s position and confirmed it also in view of the last European Council: Rome is with Tel Aviv and Kiev and against all forms of terrorism. Above all, this geopolitical phase turns out to be particularly functional for a tightening of controls and management of migratory flows, as Italy has been asking for some time. It is no coincidence that Meloni has been in favour of suspending Schengen and has already announced the detection of potential Islamist cells entering Italy via Slovenia. The substance seems to be a return to the strategy of the so-called Mattei Plan, made possible by an ideologically more favourable context at this stage.

Meloni’s report was applauded by the Chambers, confirming the solidity of the majority. A solidity that, however, in recent days has been called into question by the Meloni-Giambruno affair, surely also due to the media’s emphasis on it. A subtle affair, at the centre of which there would be new indiscretions relating to other off-colour stories and, on the other hand, tensions between the Prime Minister and the Mediaset-Forza Italia front. For the moment a diatribe fuelled only by conditionalities. What counts are the facts and the facts report a compact majority. Then, who knows.