Rockets Fired at Italian Base
News from Italy about Iraq via a kind reader there:
Drawing on ANSA News agency (Rome): “Two rockets (NB: Italian journalists aren’t very precise with military terminology, you never know what really was fired) exploded today at dawn inside the “Tallil” base near Nassiriya, where most of the Italian contingent live. No injuries. Ansa got the information from local military sources. It’s the first time that the super-protected base of Tallil has come under fire; besides Italians there are military people from other countries.
‘ “We saw where the explosions came down. We’re now investigating to figure out where they came from,” said Colonel Giuseppe Perrone, speaker for the Italian commander, without explaining exactly where the rockets landed. In any case, he said, there were “no consequences.” Most of the Italian “Antica Babilonia” contingent has recently transferred to the Tallil base. There’s Camp Mittica, with the brigade headquarters, the ROA (Autonomous Operating Group) of the Italian Air Force, the MSU of the Carabinieri and other groups. There are also Portuguese and Romanian military included in the Italian contingent, Korean soldiers, Americans and people from other countries.
“Radio Popolare this morning described Berlusconi’s conversation with Bush (carried on TV during the night, so nobody saw it) as being really hi-there-buddy-good-to-see-ya-again with no mention being made (in public) about the political difficulties here. Berlusconi declared (ansa carried this) that most Italians support the Antica Babilonia mission.
“On Bruno Vespa’s important talk show “Porta a Porta” (“Door to door) last evening, Gianni De Michelis, leader of the resurrected Socialist Party, came out firmly in favor of staying, with only Fausto Bertinotti, of Rifondazione Comunista, loudly insisting for withdrawal. Marco Pannella of the Radical Party also favors staying. The argument for staying is fear of what would happen if the Coalition abandoned Iraq, and even fear of leaving the US alone with the problem. Not present on the program were the political leaders (on the left) who have to support Italy’s contribution to world affairs but whose potential voters include a large number of no-global, anti-capitalist, and crypto-anarchist organizations, screw-the-public transport unions, knee-jerk anti-americans, peace-at-any-price flag-wavers and nostalgic Catholics, whose attitude is “screw Bush at any price.” These leaders are in trouble.
So Berlusconi’s “support” should be read as “most Italians realize that the Coalition is stuck with the problem and has to finish the job.” ”