When NATO Member States use force to occupy foreign states, they are always ready with some excuse. It is “to support them”. Italy is not derogating from this rule. From the Baltic Sea to Africa, the Italian presence is virtually felt throughout.
What would happen if some Russian fighter jets Sukhoi Su 35, stationed at Zurich airport (only a ten minute flight from Milan) were to patrol the Swiss/Italian border under the pretext of protecting Switzerland from Italian agression? The entire Italian parliament in Rome would have risen to its feet, immediately requesting diplomatic and military countermeasures. Yet this Parliament, accepts the substance of and without so much as a murmur, the NATO decison to station 8 Italian Eurofighter Typhoon fighter planes at a base located at Amari, Estonia, just a ten minute flight from St Petersburg, to patrol the border with Russia on the pretext of protecting the Baltic countries from “Russian aggression”. “Fake news” with which the US-led NATO justified the increasingly dangerous military escalation against Russia in Europe.
To station these 8 Italian fighter bombers in Estonia, with a staff of 250 men, we’re spending 12.5 million euro just for the period January – September. Of course this money comes from Italian public coffers. On top of this, we must also add the operational costs. So for a Eurofighter to fly for one hour, it costs 40,000 euro. This is what a worker would earn (before tax has been applied) in one year.
This is only one of the 33 international military missions that Italy has committed herself to in 22 countries. On top of those that have been going one for some time now – in the Balkans, Lebanon and Afghanistan, are new missions that – emphasises the Government Resolution “are concentrated in the geographic region, Africa, considered as a top strategic interest for national security and defense interests”.
Libya, was a country thrown into chaos by the NATO war in 2011, with Italy doing its bit for NATO. How ironic that today Italy “sustains the peacekeeping and stabilisation action in this same country and strengthens the control and containment of illegal immigration”. Another operation, with the deployment of 400 men and 130 vehicles entails an annual cost of 50 million euro, including an average compensation per mission of 5,000 euro per month paid (in addition to regular pay) to everyone participating on the mission.
In Tunisia, Italy is participating in the NATO Mission supporting the Tunisian government’s security forces, committed to repressing people protesting against deteriorating living standards.
In 2018, Italy is beginning its mission in Niger, to support the “government’s security forces”, “in the context of a combined European and US effort to stabilise the area”, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Mauritania, Chad, Nigeria and the Central African Republic (where Italy is participating in an EU “support” mission). It is one of the richest areas for strategic raw materials – oil, natural gas, uranium, coltan, gold, diamonds, manganese, phosphate and others – exploited by US and European multinationals, that consider their oligopoly now endangered by China’s growing economic presence. From here, the military “stabilisation” of the area that Italy is participating in, sending to Niger 470 men and 130 land transport vehicles, with an annual cost of 50 million euro.
In addition to these commitments, Italy assumed another one on 10 January 2018: the command of the land forces of the NATO Response Force, called to intervene in the shortest periods in any part of the world. In 2018 it is under the orders of the Multinational Command of Solbiate Olona (Varese), of which Italy is the “leader nation”. But – the Italian Minister of Defence clarifies – such a command is “under the dependence of the Supreme Command of the Allied Forces in Europe”. The latter is always appointed by the US President. So Italy is a “leader nation” but at the same time subordinated to the Pentagon’s chain of command. •
* Manlio Dinucci is geographer and geopolitical scientist. His latest books are “Laboratorio di geografia”, Zanichelli 2014 ; “Diario di viaggio”, Zanichelli 2017; “L’arte della guerra. Annali della strategia USA/NATO 1990–2016”, Zambon 2016.
Source: Voltaire Network, Rome (Italy), 27 January 2018
Translation from Il Manifesto (Italy): Anoosha Boralessa
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