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Conversation With Francesco Pazienza

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For those of you who do not know him, Dr. Pazienza in brief

It would not be enough to write a whole book to describe this incredible character, let alone an introduction. Unfortunately we are forced to be very synthetic. He has been defined in many ways: Brasseur d’affaires, intelligence officer, freemason, playboy. He has been behind the greatest Italian mysteries of the First Republic and even beyond;

He kept in touch with heads of state, ministers, bankers, director of intelligence agencies, high prelates, and obviously beautiful women. Meant to be a doctor, after he graduated with honors (110/110) from medical college from Università “La Sapienza” Roma, he instead became the special adviser to General Giuseppe Santovito, former director of “Servizio informazioni e sicurezza militare” (former Italian Military Intelligence Agency). He caused President Jimmy Carter’s brother to be defeated at the election, thanks to his investigations into some financial affairs with Libyans and sexual encounters in a Rome hotel, thus leading to the Republican Party victory. Involved in the liberation of the Italian politician Ciro Cirillo kidnapped by Camorra and close to the legendary Roberto Calvi, the God’s banker president of Banco Ambrosiano, he knew personally Aristotle Onassis, David Rockefeller and used to spend his holidays on Persian Prince Ali Reza’s yacht. He personally organized the financing ($4million of gold ingots) of the Polish labour union “Solidarnosc”, with the final goal to destabilize the Communism on an international level and the preparation of the diplomatic meeting between Pope John Paul II and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. And all of this is just a taste. In other words, Mr. Pazienza has been, and continues to be, a multifaceted personality. The kind of man that is increasingly difficult to find today. With his savoir-faire typical of someone who, through thick and thin, as really lived life, he reveals himself exceptionally cultured, ranging from ancient China history to the most unusual details Winston Churchill’s life, his favorite historical character. All things considered, what we can certainly say after meeting him is that Mr. Pazienza is a first-class guardian of the truths concealed behind 40 years of Italian and world history. Get ready for next year’s next book, it will be an earthquake for everyone. We strongly suggest to read his first book as well. The title is Il Disubbidiente. However finding a copy might prove harder than you think since, “somehow”, it has disappeared from circulation.

Below we share some interesting and significant excerpts from our conversation with “Frank”, touching some topics of current concern in world politics and economy.

Libya

The first reflection that must be made on Libya is about the problem of the two Libyas.

The Italians risked taking off Haftar’s position, while Macron had straight away the courage to invite him to Paris. Libyans, as strange as it may sound, love Italians. They prefer to deal with Italians rather than with French. Let’s not forget that the mess, because mess is the only right word to use in this case, which we see nowadays in Libya, broke out thanks to Mr. Sarkozy. Subsequently, Obama, who, despite being a good internal affairs president, has done nothing but mistakes on a the international level, joined the French President in the operation against Gaddafi.

Frequent contacts between the Fayez al-Sarraj’s group and General Haftar’s group are taking place since the only thing that they can do at present moment is to reach an agreement. A key issue in Libya is represented by frontiers, which configuration depends on many interests linked to migrant routes. Al-Sarraj is trying to do everything possible to settle this frontiers matter, but clans and tribes are creating big problems because of the influence they gained in the last years on the territory. Once, every two or three months, Gaddafi use to depart with lorries loaded with loads of money and proceeded to distribute them to the various clan leaders, this how he managed to keep them all quiet.

Now Libya is in a very confusing state that must be removed as soon as possible. Potentially, it is a very rich country, having one of the best petroleum in the world, considering the sulfur rate close to zero.

It is essential that Al-Sarraj and General Haftar find an understanding; at last, Italy also decided to meet the Libyan General.

I believe that Libya will be stabilized in the next 6/12 months.

Trump, the United States, and the Shah of Persia

If you make an analysis of what Trump said during his election campaign and confront it with what he is doing now, you realize that, to name Al Capone in “The Untouchables”, he is “nothing but a lot of talks and a badge”. He backtracked to many times.

Recently, he is making a big fuss about the Iran’s nuclear deal.

Just consider that I was a close friend of Shah of Persia’s family and his son Prince Ali Reza’s partner. Moreover, I was also in the United States a business partner with Bob Armao, who was the  Shah’s Chief of Staff in exile. The Shah was dying of cancer, but they did not allow him to enter the United States. I remember spending the 1982 holidays with Prince Ali Reza, who told me “Can you believe it?! We spent the 1978 New Year’s Eve in our palace together with President Jimmy Carter and his wife; President Carter toasted with my father, referring to him as the most faithful friend of America in the Middle East. And just after a few years, they do not even let him enter the United States to get medical treatment ?! “

I remember that at the beginning of Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime the New York Times made an article in which he painted him as an illuminated character.

Today the Iranian regime has stabilized itself and among other things, if you go to Tehran, the worst car you can find around is a Mercedes 500. So to conclude, Trump now is talking so much, but he just should stop talking shit.

National Rifle Association

Everyone still goes shopping for weapons like they were candies. The National Rifle Association is such a powerful lobby that nobody has the courage to take a step against it. It brings millions of votes during each election. The Second Amendment of the US Constitution refers to the 1812 War against England when it was still demanded that everyone had weapons, so that in case of a call of duty, everyone would be ready. Can someone explain what the meaning of all of that now?! It also makes me laugh that by law some weapons cannot be sold as automatic. In fact, you simply go on the internet and for 30 bucks you can buy a small device that turns them to automatic in a blink of an eye.

National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) and US Think Tank

You can be sure that Trump will be present at the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Gala. The President of the United States must attend these events. Do you know the statement about American elections? To win the American elections you need the three “I”: Israel, Ireland, and Italy. Without the three “I” you do not become POTUS.

In my opinion, Think Tanks nowadays has a far more marginal role. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) counted very much some years ago. It was the one that at the time of Reagan presidency practically imposed Haig as Secretary of State. Now too many of this kind of organizations have been created. The American Enterprise Institute does not matter anymore. They are realities that don’t serve more than just to businessman that, by paying expensive membership fees, can say to be insiders. The demonstration that these think tank are less and less influential is Donald Trump’s election, who had none of them to support him. Trump, from a negative perspective, is the equivalent of Carter. When Carter run for the presidency, he almost didn’t have the party (Democratic) support for election. Meanwhile, his brother Billy was invited for dinner by Gaddafi and bought a villa with George Habash. It is not like now that there are thousands of terrorist groups; At that time there were only two or three. The most important were the one of “The Doctor” because, let us not forget that, George Habash was a doctor.

Italy and international scenery

The future of Europe and Italy in particular, will more with the Russians than the Americans. The Russians, first of all, are Europeans like us; Secondly, we Italians have no raw materials and resources and therefore we must exploit technologies and capitals. Actually, the Russians do not know exactly the amount of resources present in the subsoil of Siberia or in other areas of their territory. I would also like to add that Putin, let me tell you, is a man with a thick skin; this is the reality of the facts. It is useless to say that Putin does not respect democracy. Look, let’s move on.

Surely we must be grateful to the Americans because if it were not for their intervention in World War II, we would still greet each other with the Fascist salute. But we must say that Americans do not understand a single thing in foreign affairs. This is my point of view.

China, New Global Power?

The Chinese intervention in Africa looks like this: the Chinese present themselves, at first as a third world countries benevolent supporter; however, after a while ‘time, they turn out to be nothing more than neo-colonialists. One example that comes to my mind is Chad, where the Chinese have invested a lot and have a great presence on the territory.

A special case concerns Iran, where they have invested so much: well, Iranians no longer know how to get the Chinese out of their way. An anecdote among many others concerns a large oil plant financed by China. It was necessary to build a gas pipeline, for which, as you know, pipes must have high-tech construction specifications. Suffice to say that three Chinese cargo ships have arrived later carrying water pipes instead. The Iranians got really upset, however, considering China’s $ 8 billion funding amount to the plant, they had to stay quiet.

I do not think China can overcome America in its role of leading global power. But I must say that the United States will be remembered as one of the greatest empires of all history, but also as the one that lasted less. The Roman Empire remained great for over 500 years, while the Americans if they continue to act as they keep acting …

(*)Interview by Andrea Bonetti and Alessandro Strozzi

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Merkel’s projection regarding nationalist movements in Europe

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In recent years, we have repeatedly spoken about the blows that hit the United Europe hard, and resulted in constant and overwhelming crises in this block. The European authorities now refer to “returning to nationalism” as a potential danger (and in some cases, the actual danger!) In this block, and warn against it without mentioning the origin of this danger.

The German Chancellor has once again warned about the rise of nationalism in Europe. The warning comes at a time when other European officials, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have directly or indirectly, acknowledged the weakening of Europe’s common values. This indicates that the EU authorities don’t see the danger of extensive nationalism far from reality.

“Nationalism and a winner-take-all attitude are undermining the cohesion of Europe”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “Perhaps the most threatening development for me is that multilateralism has come under such pressure,” Merkel said. “Europe is facing attacks from the outside and from the inside.”

A simple contemplation on the issue of “return of the United Europe to nationalism” suggests that the current European authorities have played an active role in the desire of their citizens to return to the time before the formation of the European Union. In the 2014 general election, we saw more than 100 right-wing extremist candidates finding way to the European Parliament.

This could be the starting point for making fundamental changes in macroeconomic policies and creating a different relationship between the European leaders and the citizens of this block. But this did not happen in practice.

Although the failure of European leaders to manage the immigration crisis and, most importantly, the continuation of the economic crisis in some of the Eurozone countries has contributed to the formation of the current situation, but it should not be forgotten that the growth of radical and nationalist parties in Europe has largely been due to the block’s officials incapability in convincing European citizens about the major policies in Europe. In this regard, those like Angela Merkel and Macron don’t actually feel any responsibility.

Undoubtedly, if this process doesn’t stop, the tendency to nationalism will spread across the Europe, and especially in the Eurozone. European officials are now deeply concerned about next year’s parliamentary elections in Europe. If this time the extreme right parties can raise their total votes and thus gain more seats in the European Parliament, there will be a critical situation in the Green Continent.

The fact is that far-right extremists in countries such as France, Sweden, Austria and Germany have been able to increase their votes, and while strengthening their position in their country’s political equations, they have many supporters in the social atmosphere.
Finally, the German Chancellor remarks, shouldn’t be regarded as a kind of self-criticism, but rather are a new projection of the European leaders. Merkel, Macron and other European officials who are now warning about the emergence of nationalism in Europe should accept their role in this equation.

This is the main prerequisite for reforming the foundations in Europe. If they refuse to feel responsible, the collapse of the European Union will be inevitable, an issue that Merkel and Macron are well aware of.

First published in our partner MNA

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Dayton Peace Accord 23 Years On: Ensured Peace and Stability in Former Yugoslavia

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For the past twenty-three years life has been comparatively peaceful in the breakaway republics of the former Yugoslavia. The complicated civil war that began in Yugoslavia in 1991 had numerous causes and began to break up along the ethnic lines. The touching stories and the aftermath effects of the breakaway republics of Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia and in Kosovo are still unfolding. Though the numbers of deaths in the Bosnia- Herzegovina conflict in former Yugoslavia are not known precisely, most sources agree that the estimates of deaths vary between 150,000 to 200,000 and displaced more than two million people. During the conflict a Srebrenica a North-eastern enclave of Bosnia once declared as a United  Nations  (UN ) safe area” saw one of the worst atrocity since second world war.

It has been estimated that more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks were massacred in Srebrenica and it was one of the most brutal ethnic cleansing operations of its kind in modern warfare. The US brokered peace talks revived the a peace process between the three warring factions in Bosnia- Herzegovina. For Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina a United States (US ) -brokered peace deal reached in Dayton on 21st November 1995. In a historic reconciliation bid on 14 December 1995 , the Dayton Peace Accord was signed in Paris, France, between Franjo Tudjman president of the Republic of Croatia and Slobodan Milosevic president of the Federal Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Alija Izetbegovic, president of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

When conflict in Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia ended, the reconciliation began between ethnically divided region. The US played a crucial role in defining the direction of the Peace process. In 1996, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) -led 60,000 multinational peace enforcement force known as the Implementation Force (IFOR)) was deployed to help preserve the cease-fire and enforce the treaty provisions. Thereafter, the Court was established by Resolution 808 and later, Resolution 827 of the United Nations Security Council, which endorsed to proceed with setting up of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to try crimes against humanity . International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was the first United Nations (UN) war crimes tribunal of its kind since the post-second world war Nuremberg tribunal.

In the late 1990’s, as the political crisis deepened a spiral of violence fuelled the Kosovo crisis between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Yugoslav forces. Unlike the Bosnia- Herzegovina, Kosovo was a province of Serbia, of former Yugoslavia that dates back to 1946, when Kosovo gained autonomy as a province within Serbia. It is estimated that more than 800,000. Kosovos were forced out of Kosovo in search of refuge and as many as 500,000 more were displaced within Kosovo.

Subsequent t hostilities in Kosovo the eleven week air campaign led by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) against Yugoslavia in 1999 the Yugoslavian forces pulled troops out of Kosovo NATO. After the war was over, the United Nations Security Council, under the resolution 1244 (1999) approved to establish an international civil presence in Kosovo, known as the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Nevertheless UNMIK regulation No 1999/24 provided that the Law in Force in Kosovo prior to March 22, 1989 would serve as the applicable law for the duration of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

In this  context reconciliation is a key to national healing of wounds after ending a violent conflict. Healing the wounds of the past and redressing past wrongs is a process through which a society moves from a divided past to a shared future. Over the years in Serbia, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia and in Kosovo the successful peace building processes had happened. The success of the peace building process was possible because of participation of those concerned, and since appropriate strategies to effectively approach was applied with all relevant actors. The strengthening of institutions for the benefit of all citizens has many important benefits for the peace and stability of former Yugoslavia. Hence, the future looks bright for the Balkan states of Serbia, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo.

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Hungarian Interest, Ukraine and European Values

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Diplomatic conflicts that have recently arisen between Hungary and its neighboring countries and the European Union as a whole most clearly show the new trend in European politics. This trend is committing to national and  state values of a specific  European country, doubting  the priority of supranational  interests within the European Union. Political analyst Timofey Bordachev believes that “the era of stale politics and the same stale politicians, who make backstage decisions based on the“ lowest common denominator,” are finally coming to an end. Politicians with a new vision of the world order come to power, such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz, or the new head of the Italian Interior Ministry, leader of the right-wing League of the North Party, Matteo Salvini ”.

It is not the first year that Hungary is trying to protect the interests of its citizens and the state from external influence, to protect the Hungarians in the territory of neighbouring states  by establishing for this  a special position (Commissioner  for the development of the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine), to determine relations with other countries on the basis of their attitude to the rights of Hungarians. This is how conflicts with the European Union arose, after Hungary refused to let migrants into the country, in the same manner, a conflict  arose with Ukraine, which is trying to build a state ideology, based on nationalism, which a priori does not provide for the proper level of realization and protection of the rights of non-titular nations.

In relation to Hungary, Ukraine follows the same policy as in relation to Russia – to initiate various accusations, to call for punishment, to talk about the inconsistency with European values of the Hungarian policy under the leadership of  Orban. Doing so Kiev has its multifaceted interest: cooperation with NATO and the EU, support  for any decisions of Brussels, the anti-Russian course, domestic policy based on the nationalist  ideology. And in all these areas  Hungary poses  a problem for Ukraine. In the description of relations with Hungary  Kiev even  uses the word “annexation“.

Hungary is hardly planning to seize any Ukrainian territory, but on what  grounds Ukraine falsely accuses Hungary of its annexation intentions in relation to Transcarpathia?  The Ukrainian side highlights several positions:

Issuing Hungarian passports  to Ukrainian citizens (ethnic Hungerians)

This  is an old story, it has come to light again recently due to the growth of Ukrainian nationalism. Moreover,  there are concerns about the implementation by Hungary of the “Crimean scenario” in relation to Transcarpathia.

The Hungarian government has created the position of  “Commissioner  for the development of Ukraine’s Transcarpathian region and the program for the development of kindergartens in the Carpathian region”.

Ukraine demanded an explanation. A note of protest was delivered to the Hungarian Charge d’Affaires in Ukraine, and the Foreign ministers of Ukraine and Hungary had a telephone conversation on the problem. Hungary continues to ignore the requirements of Kiev.

Ukraine fears further disintegration processes

At the same time, in Kiev there is no understanding  of the fact that combining the ideology of nationalism with the country’s national diversity and European integration is hardly possible.

Ukrainian experts note the growth of separatism in the Transcarpathian region, as well as the “strange behavior” of the governor, who plays on the side of Hungary. They also complain that “pro-Ukrainian ideology”(?) is not being сonsolidated in Transcarpathia, and this region is not controlled and monitored by  the Ministry of information. In a word, the state is losing control over the territory, which it neither develops nor controls. Such behavior of the governor and the region’s residents may indicate that the state is not sufficiently present in the lives of residents of Transcarpathia, and this a financial and humanitarian drawback they compensate with the help of Hungary, – experts believe.

Apparently, Ukraine is unable to reach an agreement with Hungary as relations are tense. In response to the Ukrainian law on education, adopted in the fall of 2017, which infringes the rights of national minorities, Budapest blocked another, the third, Ukraine-NATO meeting. Ukraine witnessed this embarrassing  situation  in April 2018.  At the same time elections were held in Hungary, in  which Viktor Orban’s party won a majority in the parliament. Such a tough stance of Budapest in relation to the Ukrainian educational policy Kiev considered to be just a sign of electoral populism. However, this was a mistake.

Viktor Orban’s victory in spring 2018 was convincing, and a convincing victory means obvious support of his migration policies as well as his support  for compatriots abroad. The party of Orban – Fides – not only won a majority but a constitutional majority – 133 of the 199 seats  in the National Assembly of Hungary.

There is no doubt  that Hungary has become Ukraine’s another serious opponent in the process of its European integration. And it is unlikely that either  country  will take a step back: there will be presidential elections in Ukraine soon, and in Hungary, the victory won by Orban, apparently, confirms the  approval of his independent  foreign  policy  by  the citizens.  So the conflict is likely to develop.

First published in our partner International Affairs

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