Franco Gabrielli, the head of Italy’s police, stated that sooner or later, the ISIS will mount an attack in Italy. The question is, why hasn’t this happened already? Germany, France, Belgium and the United Kingdom have all suffered at the hands of ISIS sponsored terrorist attacks but Italy, a little surprisingly perhaps, remains unscathed.
The ISIS, also known as Daesh and ISL, has threatened to attack Italy more than once. More specifically, it’s threatened Rome and the Vatican. So far though, and thankfully, nothing has happened. There are a couple of theories why this is the case.
One theory is that with its experience of past episodes of terrorism in Italy – Red Brigades and various right wing extremists organisations – the nation’s security services have been able to nip any ISIS attack plots in the bud. This article in the Guardian, written in June 2017 — after this post — reinforces the opinion that Italy’s national security agencies, having learned from past experiences, are highly effective at managing the threat of terrorism and countering it.
Reports of imminent attacks, like this one, pop up in Italy’s press quite often but nothing has happened. Italy has generated a small number of ISIS sympathisers, around 100 or so. 17 of these people have returned to Italy after fighting in Syria. If numbers are known, then someone must be keeping an eye on them. That might explain why attacks have not occurred.
However, Italy’s security services obviously didn’t know enough about Italy connected Berlin attacker Anis Amri to prevent him from driving a truck into crowds in Berlin. Amri was later shot dead by police in Italy.
Admittedly in view of the Berlin incident, Italy’s police would have been on a higher state of alert than normal – something which may have saved the officers lives. Even so, the shooting of Amri appears to have been little more than a case of police being in the right place at the right time as opposed to a preplanned anti-terrorism operation. The question of why Amri was in Italy remains unanswered. This leads to the conspiracy theory aspect behind the absence of ISIS attacks in Italy.
The other theory is that Italy, owing to ISIS-mafia links, is a kind of safe haven for terrorists. There are reports that Italy’s mafias have been doing business with Daesh. Running guns and drugs are some of the enterprises Italy’s mafia organisations are suspected of assisting the ISIS with. According to the Daily Beast, the camorra mafia has been helping supply false documents to the terrorists too.
Have these criminal business partnerships led to a kind of ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ pact? Who knows but Italy’s legions of behindologists will tell you this is likely.
If your Italian is up to it, various theories on why Italy has remained immune from ISIS attacks are espoused in the 300 or so comments on this article on the website of Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano. Take the theories with large pinches of salt.
Italy’s mafias have also offered to keep an eye on ISIS activity in Italy. Seems they want to have their cake and eat it. But some do assert that a mafia-ISIS pact may have kept the streets of Italy terrorism free.
Despite the wild speculation, the fact remains that Italy has not been subjected to acts of ISIS terrorism. Let’s hope Italy does not suffer at the hands of ISIS extremists; though if it never does might this may leave one feeling a mite suspicious or extremely impressed by Italy’s anti-terrorism efforts.
It’s not just this Italy watcher who’s been asking this question, Italians themselves have been wondering why Italy has remained attack-free as evidenced by articles in Italy’s press asking the very same question.
Care to espouse your own theories?
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