Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The War Next Door (Part 1)

It's not something we can actually see from Sicily, where - except for the steady stream of refugees arriving by the boat-load on the shores of Lampedusa - everything is pretty quiet. But if the civil war in Libya is out of sight it's rarely out of mind. Yesterday Italian air force authorities refused to allow two Libyan fighter jets to land on the island of Pantelleria. In fact, they scrambled two F-16 fighters out of Birgi air field, near Trapani, to intercept them.

Refusing orders to fire on opposition ground forces, a few Libyan pilots have already defected. Two landed on Malta last month.

Italy has sent ships to eastern Libya to provide food and medicine to the people there, including many civilians who can't get supplies from any other source. The Prime Minister recently allocated former US military housing near Mineo (in eastern Sicily) to accommodate Tunisians and Libyans arriving here.

And the conflict continues.

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