Crossfire War – ROME WATCH – Mediterranean Theatre: Rome/Damascus – Beirut – Tehran; Rome Assumes Lead Role in UNIFIL Troop Commitment – Extension of Rome Conference – Re-Assertion of International Presence
Night Watch: ROME – Imperial Rome is back. It was only a matter of time and right now her re-emergence is somewhat subtle. AFP reports that Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi has just approved Italy committing 2,000-3,000 troops to the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force for Lebanon), intended to provide a peaceful barrier between Hezbollah and Israel. Though it has no chance of succeeding, with Tehran-Damascus currently re-arming Hezbollah for the next round of fighting that could erupt any moment, it is extremely significant Rome is leading the West’s approach to crises in the Mediterranean and West Asia. Rome has not been this internationally prominent in 70 years. [TURKISHPRESS]
Of course Rome never ceased to be significant, especially with the signing of the strategic economic Treaty of Rome in March 1957, that established the European Economic Community. The treaty still stands. It is the historical pattern that before international significance and political unity become a reality a society first has to become prominent economically and that is what the treaty established. Rome was back and still looked upon as one of the more significant capitals in the West.
Though for reasons of international reality Rome never took the lead in the staging or advocating of Cold War crisis, it remained one of the best places in Europe to monitor the Mediterranean-West Asia. Rome’s military presence may not have been there obviously, NATO however has maintained its base in Naples, Rome was definitely a presence in the region economically. Despite the revolution in Libya in 1969, led by Colonel Mummar Qaddafi, Italy maintained relations with Tripoli.
There is also an intangible psychological-spritual reason for Rome’s continued significance, established Western society, even in the Americas, identify with Rome because it was the ancient capital – empire that established centralized society in the West and incorporated the economic tradition of inherited wealth remaining in the family instead of being taken over by the state. Even the modern political management of nation states was set in Ancient Rome with the creation of the patron-client relationship between political representatives and the established patrons who financed them to present their policies in government.
Another reason for Rome’s re-emergence is the very practical one of geography. Right in the middle of the Mediterranean, one of the centers of international rivalries and conflict that erupted right after the end of World War II. It is a region whose economy Tehran is attempting to extend its sphere of influence over as it has done in Central Asia, which is why Iran has such excellent economic relations with every capital in North Africa except Cairo. Officially Tehran has wonderful relations with Rome. Italy has currently replaced Germany as Iran’s leading trade partner with the West, but I suspect Rome has also noticed Tehran signing the security agreement with Belgrade in January. Italy Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema must also have taken notice today of the response by Iran’s leading nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani who dismissed the incentives proposal by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany as a “lollypop,” as if Tehran had just been insulted. This will just increase the level of established hatred emanating from Tehran ever since the Khomeini revolution 1979. [AKI]
What Rome has to do now is to lead the West in refusing to entertain the myth that Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program can be stopped with incentives and negotiation. Events next month in South Asia will enable Rome to do so. The first target of Iran’s nuclear weaponry will be India and September is the best month for war to begin on the subcontinent with the end of the monsoon season. The Jihad has retained its offensive nature and Pakistan is one of the vanguards of it. Tehran will activate its security agreement with Islamabad and shortly afterward its security agreement with Belgrade to prevent Rome and the West from even considering sending military support to Delhi. Tehran wants to see Rome and the West forced to commit more units to the Balkans in order to reduce the West’s involvement on other fronts.
This is the military “dialogue” Tehran has been preparing with its 20 year nuclear and ballistic missile program and with Rome leading the West’s response it will become a target of Tehran. World War III will solidify Rome’s leadership position as the West regroups around them as it did around London in World War II. As a result Rome will replace Brussels as the leading administrative center in Western Europe and the center of the West’s new military alliance replacing NATO.