French Guyana is smaller yes, but I think you're overestimating the size of Libya' population. Even today it only has around 6-7 million.

With a POD in the 30's I think entrenching Italian demographic dominance beyond the possibility of native revolt is very plausible, especially for the Fascists.
Not like that'll stop resistance from happening or being funded. African and Arab states will especially do what they can to destabilize Italian rule.
 
Not like that'll stop resistance from happening or being funded. African and Arab states will especially do what they can to destabilize Italian rule.
I'm sure lots of external powers would love to back a Libyan revolt, but if the native Libyans are well-assimilated and wealthy under Italian rule, they're not going to revolt out of nationalism alone.

You get Intifadas in Gaza, not from Israeli Arabs.
 
French Guyana is a good analogy, or other Caribbean holdings. I mean, nobody really makes a stink about those and they're not even plurality European. If the Italians can bring Libya to an Italian or at minimum European majority by the sixties or seventies, what do you do at that point? I mean, ethnic conflict doesn't sound too implausible, especially since this is a colonial system and therefore indigenous Libyans will be second class citizens for a while, but Algeria this isn't.

I fully expect there to be a lot of controversy in the West, especially the US about Fascism/Colonialism persisting. Although the question of American Italian relations is gonna be fascinating, I mean, ittl, this is an Italy that is still considered something of a Great Power, even if we're getting into the Super Power era, without civil war and the embarrassing defeats in North and East Africa, Italy is probably much more respected internationally in terms of power/influence, even if perceptions may be more negative in some circles.

The thing I'm really curious about is Israel and the Suez Canal Crisis. Hopefully ITTL's Holocaust isn't as bad.
 
How extensive was the ODESSA network in this TL? I imagine it to be much more extensive, especially since Fascist Italy is right there on the doorstep of Germany as the war comes to an end. Nothing so absurd as Himmler vanishing into Trent and becoming a professor of Horticulture at some Libyan University a decade later, but it seems plenty of German Nazis would find it a much more accessible route to "disappear" given it's right there. I suppose plenty of Cossacks who fought for Germany would've have made the break for it and escaped into Italy to avoid being sent to Stalin's gulags.
 
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Since we're talking about Libya:

A friend of mine's writing a story that's equal parts alternate history (an Italy in which the Biennio Rosso turns into a socialist uprising, and cooperation between various socialist forces that were unable to cooperate IRL results in the establishment of a genuinely democratic, multi-party socialist state) and fan fiction (several figures and politicians are anime characters. While doing research for the story, he stumbled upon this:

At the end of the First World War, the Ottoman Empire ceded their claims over Libya to the Kingdom of Italy.[13] Italy, however, was facing serious economic, social, and political problems domestically, and was not prepared to re-launch its military activities in Libya.[13] It issued statutes known as the Legge Fondamentale, for the Tripolitanian Republic in June 1919 and Cyrenaica in October 1919. These were a compromise by which all Libyans were accorded the right to joint Libyan-Italian citizenship, while each province was to have its own parliament and governing council.[13] The Senussi were largely happy with this arrangement and Idris visited Rome as part of the celebrations to mark the promulgation of the settlement.[13] In October 1920, further negotiations between Italy and Cyrenaica resulted in the Accord of al-Rajma, in which Idris was given the title of Emir of Cyrenaica and permitted to administer autonomously the oases around Kufra, Jalu, Jaghbub, Awjila, and Ajdabiya. As part of the Accord he was given a monthly stipend by the Italian government, who agreed to take responsibility for policing and administration of areas under Senussi control.[13] The Accord also stipulated that Idris must fulfill the requirements of the Legge Fondamentale by disbanding the Cyrenaican military units, but he did not comply with this.[13] By the end of 1921, relations between the Senussi Order and the Italian government had again deteriorated.[13]

Looks like the refusal of the Italian government to allow Cyrenaica to field its own military units soured the Senussi on a deal that could've gone quite well for both parties involved; there is no way a Fascist government would ever allow a colony such a degree of autonomy but, had a few things gone differently, Italy could've avoided a headache, and Libya could've prospered, if oil had been discovered, and the Libyan provincial governments had been able to keep a cut of the profits for themselves. Perhaps, autonomy and double citizenship could've been extended to Eritrea and Somalia as well, something that might've made the road to decolonization easier and less traumatic for all parties involved, and hopefully gotten the average Italian used to the thought of people of a different ethnic/religious background living alongside them.

Hell, Mussolini himself thought Hitler's own brand of racial supremacy was a load of bullshit - he was more of a "cultural" racist, still bad, but a step above Herrenvolk insanity - so there's still a chance that, if the accords had not been turned into toilet paper, the Fascist, yet anti-National Socialist government of this timeline could've turned the colonies into more or less equal members of a Fascist International rather than a checklist of crimes against humanity, something that might've kept anti-colonial pseudo-Fascists such as Marcus Garvey & co. from jumping off the Duce's bandwagon. A truly terrifying prospect. :p
 
How extensive was the ODESSA network in this TL? I imagine it to be much more extensive, especially since Fascist Italy is right there on the doorstep of Germany as the war comes to an end. Nothing so absurd as Himmler vanishing into Trent and becoming a professor of Horticulture at some Libyan University a decade later, but it seems plenty of German Nazis would find it a much more accessible route to "disappear" given it's right there. I suppose plenty of Cossacks who fought for Germany would've have made the break for it and escaped into Italy to avoid being sent to Stalin's gulags.
Balbo wasn't a great fan of the Nazis OTL. He's a pragmatist and will shelter people who he can use so I imagine Dornberger, von Braun, the Horten brothers or Hans Kammler even being discreetly welcomed in. Even possibly the likes of Gottlob Berger who would bring lots of valuable intelligence with them. But the likes of Eichmann are going to be turned back at the border or even handed back to countries that are keen to put them on trial unless they can bring something more tangible than a history of anti-communism to the table. They won't be squeamish mind, any more than intelligence agencies OTL were, someone who was involved in deporting Jews but can bring a list of Belgian, Dutch, French or Danish collaborators and informers (who can be blackmailed for foreign intelligence) to the table would be protected. But I can't see Balbo tolerating the OTL Ratlines, I'd say he and Italian intelligence would be a good deal more choosy than the OSS/CIA of OTL.
 
Thoughts I've had reading this discussion about colonialism:

-Europe and the United States will probably not give a damn what Italy is doing in Libya as long as the oil keeps flowing and the Italians are anti-communist.

-For all we know, the United States may not have anywhere near the same political and economic weight in TTL Europe.

-The idea that Europe and the United States would start financing massive uprisings in Libya requires assuming that everyone involved decided to suddenly start hating Italy without any transition or reason.

It's something I've encountered in many TLs: Europe tolerates Victorious Fascist Italy, but suddenly starts hating them out of nowhere, just because the author wants to have his cake and eat it too (Fascist Italy endures, but in the 21st century Italy It is part of a democratic European Union and overlaps with NATO).

The result of this is that it undermines the point of trying to show that fascism would collapse as a result of its own internal problems, by making the eventual collapse and fall of fascism a result of them being subjected to brutal trade embargoes and very severe diplomatic pressures by part of countries that until then were indifferent.
 
Libya: A Conversation in Bengasi
Libya: A Conversation in Bengasi

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Wikipedia entry in 2014

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Bengasi in 2014

As the plane touched down at Bengasi Airport, I was met with the warm embrace of the North African sun. The airport, like the city itself, is a blend of cultures, where Italian and Arabic influences intertwine, reflecting Libya's unique status within the modern Italian state. The journey to this region, historically known as Italian Libya, was not just a geographical shift but a step into a complex world shaped by a rich tapestry of history and diverse communities.

Since the end of World War II and the eventual abandonment of fascist rule, Italian Libya has undergone a remarkable transformation. The region's unique blend of cultures, characterized by the coexistence of Italian, Arabic, and Slavic communities, has played a pivotal role in shaping its identity. But beneath this harmonious exterior lies a deeper, more complex story of struggle, insurgency, and the quest for autonomy. The intricate political dynamics of this land are closely tied to the wider Italian state, especially in the context of oil wealth.

I've come to meet Martin Filipović, a writer for "Il Libico" newspaper, a publication that has its finger on the pulse of this evolving region. Martin's perspective will shed light on the current situation in Libya, as the nation stands at a critical crossroads. The quest for regional autonomy looms large, but the implications reach far beyond its borders, impacting Italy's economic stability and regional relationships.

My journey leads me to Il Libico’s headquarters, an unassuming beige office building, where I’m to meet with my interviewee. As I step inside, I’m immediately greeted by Martin and a few of his colleagues. They’d been waiting for me, and now that I’ve arrived, they leave us so we can carry out the interview.

Q: Martin, thank you for meeting with me today. Let's delve straight into the heart of the matter. Could you give us an overview of the current political situation in Libya, especially in the context of the push for regional territorial government?

MF: Of course, it's a pleasure to speak with you. In Libya, we find ourselves on the edge of significant change. The push for regional government has gained momentum in recent years, with many people advocating for a greater say in their local affairs and a more decentralized system of governance. This movement, as you've mentioned, directly impacts not just our region but the entire Italian state. Many people feel that the concerns of Libya are not heard in Rome.

Q: Could you elaborate on how the push for a regional government is viewed by people in Libya?

MF: It varies significantly, both in Libya and Italy. There are people who want more powers devolved to the provinces – meaning Derna, Bengasi, and all the provinces would have greater power over taxation and infrastructure – and there are people who want a new structure including all of Libya, centralising power in Tripoli before going on to Rome.

Of course, other people are skeptical or concerned. Many businesses, as well as the Italian state, are generally opposed to any devolution. There are the usual excuses, ones we’ve heard for the last 20 years, about instability and impact on the economy. The Italian government is still grappling with economic pressure from the end of fascism.

Q: Speaking of fascism, how does Libya’s past factor into the autonomy movement?

MF: That’s a good question, and it’s really hard to answer. The roots of the movement go back to the anti-Italian youth clubs. After the Third Senussi War in the 50s, Arab resistance really dried up. Then there was integration and migration from the Balkans, and that’s where modern Libya gets its heritage. Those immigrants, along with those from Italy, really formed the backbone of the oil industry and the farm labour.

Q: How exactly did the "new" Libyan culture emerge? If everyone is from different cultures, what's holding them together?

MF: It’s really the diversity that holds us together, and if you’ll excuse a fascist-era term, “Balboism” – that strange idea planted in Libya back in the 1930s. Everyone can become Italian, or in our case Libyan, if they work hard and get along. Hard work, respect, and rule of law. Growing up, we all learned that everything has its reward. Libyans have seen too much put in, with not enough reward. Our oil money goes to Italy, and we really don’t see enough of it here.

Q: Do you think that "new” Libyan culture, this mix of Italian, Slavic, and Greek culture, is why Libya is the only remaining European colony in Africa?

MF: I think it’s wrong to call Libya a “colony” and, while it is in Africa, it really isn’t. Libya is more than just a colony, it’s a unique region and a kind of extension of Italy and southern Europe. Culturally, linguistically, and historically we have more in common with southern Europe, and we prefer to be referred to as “Southern Europeans” really. Libya is also part of the EU, unlike most of the continent.

Q: Are you optimistic about the future? Where do you see Libya in 5 years?

MF: I’m optimistic because I believe we can continue to be prosperous and peaceful. In the world today, you have conflict all over Africa and the Middle East, but Libya remains peaceful. I’d like to see Libya further integrated with other European nations, but of course regional government is necessary for us to really negotiate that. In the next 5 years, I see Libya and Italy strengthening ties and working together to build a better relationship.

---
Note: Sorry for taking so long with this, I've been busy with life.

A few bonus flags, which you might've seen elsewhere

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1955 flag proposal, when Italy considered integrating Libya as a single province with special government, not used anymore because of fascist symbolism

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Updated version of the 1955 flag, "bandiera della corona" (crown flag) used by autonomists who favour maintaining strong ties to Italy

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1997 Autonomist flag, "bandiera stella bianca" (white star flag) used by sovereigntists (strong local autonomy)

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Senussi flag, used by separatists


Edit: fixed the franco-italian border (hardly noticeable here, but it bothered me), thanks to basileus
 
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Interesting that Libya is in the EU, I imagine, if there are any migration crisis, they are a big issue ittl with Libya. Already migration from Africa is one of the hottest button political issues in Italy. Maintaining an EU border that large in Africa sounds like a big pain.

Good update though, I'm really interested to see what else is to be found in Libya.
 
If islamic terrorism is a problem in TTL Libya's probably the single most attacked area on the planet, I can't see them wanting to push away Italian protection.
 
If islamic terrorism is a problem in TTL Libya's probably the single most attacked area on the planet, I can't see them wanting to push away Italian protection.
Separatism is a purely Arab movement, the autonomy/sovereignty movement is mainly over how oil revenue is spent. Libya is majority Italian, Slav, and Greek, and they mainly want oil money to be used more on development of Libya.

Italy still maintains a strong internal security apparatus, and anti-terrorism agencies have incredible powers as they were never dismantled after fascism ended (OVRA was rebranded like how the KGB rebranded into FSB). My thinking is Libya looks something like Assad's Syria (aka not pretty).

A lot of money is put into policing the frontier, and maintaining the border fences/trenches.
 
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Terrific timeline as always!

The implications of a North African "nation" of such size being a part of the EU I think would have quite sizeable ramification for how the other North African nations see themselves in comparison to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

OTL, Morocco didn't join the predecessor to the African Union right away due to their Arabic and European influences and deep trade ties with Europe, and left two decades later after the rest of the group accepted the Sarawi Republic into the fold. Morocco only joined the African Union in 2017, the last one to do so, which further solidified their beliefs of being different from the rest of Africa and with deeper ties to Europe. Even today, you'll find some Moroccans who identify less as African and more as "Southern European". I have no idea if you used this information to assist in your creation of this alt-Libya, but it seems so.

I could certainly see Morocco and maybe Tunisia feeling like this ITTL, identifying more with Europe than with the rest of Africa (especially if someone helps the Moroccans put down Sarawi) - however, I suspect Algeria may not, as a way to seperate itself from France. Though there may also be more immigration to those countries as Italy did to Libya ITTL - many ramifications, love it!
 
Q: Do you think that "new” Libyan culture, this mix of Italian, Slavic, and Greek culture, is why Libya is the only remaining European colony in Africa?

MF: I think it’s wrong to call Libya a “colony” and, while it is in Africa, it really isn’t. Libya is more than just a colony, it’s a unique region and a kind of extension of Italy and southern Europe. Culturally, linguistically, and historically we have more in common with southern Europe, and we prefer to be referred to as “Southern Europeans” really. Libya is also part of the EU, unlike the rest of the continent.
Did Spain lose Ceuta and Melilla or did the interviewee just forget about them?
 
The implications of a North African "nation" of such size being a part of the EU I think would have quite sizeable ramification for how the other North African nations see themselves in comparison to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
Thanks! Yes, there is more of a case for Turkey, Morocco, and Tunisia to join the EU, but they are still opposed by the majority.

could certainly see Morocco and maybe Tunisia feeling like this ITTL, identifying more with Europe than with the rest of Africa
I'd say the feeling of "identifying more with Europe" is stronger in Turkey for sure. Tunisia and Morocco I haven't thought about.

Did Spain lose Ceuta and Melilla or did the interviewee just forget about them?
Spain did not lose Ceuta or Melilla. I meant that Libya is a full colony, as opposed to small exclaves/ports. I will change the wording to make it clearer.
 
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Policing the Libyan Frontier: Gateway Galeazzo

Policing the Libyan Frontier: Gateway Galeazzo​


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Emblem of the “Guardia alla frontiera” (border guards)
– dissolved in mainland Italy but maintained in Libya


The vast expanse of the Libyan desert stretches out before me, an arid sea of sand dunes and shimmering heatwaves. In the heart of North Africa, this desolate yet awe-inspiring landscape conceals an immense challenge for the Italian state, as it grapples with the relentless influx of refugees and migrants from Africa and the Middle East. Here, at the Libyan-Egyptian border, a surreal blend of hope and despair unfolds, a tableau of human resilience against unforgiving odds.

I begin my journey at the border with Egypt, the border fence snaking off out of sight in both directions, a stark testament to Italy's efforts to control the influx of migrants. But as I soon discover, it's not the impenetrable barrier one might expect. From talking with the border guards, I get a sense of the precariousness of the situation. For long stretches of the “border wall”, it's a simple ditch, punctuated by small outposts and patrolling vehicles. The harsh terrain itself offers an initial layer of defense, as the Sahara's unforgiving conditions are a formidable deterrent.

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Lieutenant Giuseppe Romano stands ready – the GaF are armed with a taser gun (front) and 9mm pistol (back)

Speaking with border guard Lieutenant Giuseppe Romano, I learn more about the challenges they face. "This is an incredibly vast border," he tells me, his eyes scanning the endless fence. "Here at Gateway Galeazzo, everything is secure. We can see who’s coming in or out, and we can check papers. Our primary concern is preventing unauthorized crossings out in the desert, in the mountains, and so on, but the size of Libya makes it difficult to cover every inch effectively. We use a combination of physical barriers, surveillance technology, and periodic patrols to secure the border."

Our conversation takes place by the fence, which is a short distance away from the main guard barracks. According to the Lieutenant, the fence abruptly ends after about 40 km. A long ditch, dug countless decades ago, is then patrolled by border guard pickups. The old Fiat trucks used by the Royal Army have long since been replaced by more modern Toyotas, but the tactics are the same. As we speak, a group of refugees can be seen on the Egyptian side of the border, their hopes held high, despite the odds. They've traveled great distances, fleeing from conflicts and instability, in search of safety and opportunity.

While it isn’t as heavily-fortified as Spain’s border fences in Ceuta and Melilla, Libya’s border is much more spread-out. In recent years, the Italian government has stepped up internal security as well – those who made it inside Libya are still likely to have their papers checked while travelling along the main entry highways. Italy’s border police remain strongly independent of the government, a holdover from the fascist years.

Still on the Italian side, I approach a young man waiting in line to have his papers checked. Ali, who is from Sudan, shares his aspirations and fears. "We've come so far, crossing deserts and evading danger, to reach this point," he tells me. "We see Europe as a beacon of hope, a place where we can find safety and a future. But the journey is fraught with danger and uncertainty." Ali is with his family, and is likely fleeing the ongoing civil war in Sudan. “I would be happy just to stay in Libya for a while before we go on to Europe, but I’m worried they will turn us away again.”

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Migrants waiting outside the eastern wall of Gateway Galeazzo

The contrast between the harsh realities of border control and the unwavering determination of those seeking refuge at this remote border is stark. In this desolate frontier, Italy grapples with the ever-present challenge of securing its borders while remaining conscious of its responsibilities to those seeking asylum and a better life. As the sun sets over the Sahara, the Libyan-Egyptian border stands as a poignant symbol of human perseverance, illustrating the complex issues facing a changing world.


Note: the Guardia alla frontiera was dissolved IOTL in 1946, but ITTL they are kept around as Fascism didn't end until 1994.
 
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