Italy’s Air Force Restructures Special Ops Brigade

Sep. 30, 2014 – 11:55AM   |   By TOM KINGTON
New Machinery: The Italian Air Force is due to receive AW101 helicopters for search-and-rescue and special operations missions.
New Machinery: The Italian Air Force is due to receive AW101 helicopters for search-and-rescue and special operations missions. (AgustaWestland)

ROME — Through a shake-up of its bases, the Italian Air Force is streamlining its special operations and rescue operations, trimming costs as new aircraft come into service, and reflecting what officials describe as a shift in the type of mission they are handling in the 21st century.

On Sept. 22, the Air Force’s 1st Brigade for Special Operations moved into new premises at Cervia Air Base on Italy’s Adriatic coast, part of an enlargement of the brigade that saw it take command of the 15th Wing already based at Cervia, which undertakes combat search-and-rescue missions.

Three wings already grouped under the brigade’s command, which are spread around Italy, are set to partly shift personnel and machinery to Cervia. Continue reading

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New Intelligence on Italian Jihadists

English: War flag of al-Shabaab

English: War flag of al-Shabaab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

August 25, 2014

Compared to France, Germany, or Britain, Italy’s problem with domestic jihadism is relatively modest, yet it is growing fast, thanks to the wars in Syria and Iraq. A new report in Corriere della Sera, Italy’s paper of record, based on current intelligence from Italian secret services, paints a disturbing picture of rising radicalism.

At present, according to the latest intelligence in Rome, some fifty Italians are fighting with the Islamic State (IS — get my assessment of that dangerous group here), of whom a shocking eighty percent are converts, not immigrants or born Muslims. Many go abroad to wage holy war after a surprisingly brief period of conversion and radicalization. They are very young and come mostly from northern Italy. The Salafi jihadist scene in Italy is fragmented regionally and a key role is played by what Italian intelligence terms “liaison officers,” the individuals who facilitate the recruitment of new holy warriors and get them to the war zone. Continue reading

The development of home-grown jihadist radicalisation in Italy

Lorenzo Vidino. ARI 9/2014 – 14/2/2014

Theme: The Muslim communities and jihadist networks in Italy and Spain present similar characteristics and it is therefore interesting to look at the recent development of home-grown jihadist radicalisation in Italy.[1]

Summary: Over the last three years the demographic and operational features of jihadism in Italy have shown significant shifts. The first generation of foreign-born militants with ties to various jihadist groups outside Europe is still active, although less intensely than in the past. The Italian authorities, however, have increasingly noted forms of home-grown radicalisation similar to those recorded in other West European countries over the past 10 years.

The lag has been caused by a simple demographic factor. As in Spain, large-scale Muslim immigration to Italy began only in the late 1980s and early 1990s, some 20 (in some cases 30 or 40) years later than in economically more developed European countries like France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. The first, relatively large, second generation of Italian-born Muslims is therefore coming of age only now, as the sons of the first immigrants are becoming adults in their adoptive country. Of these hundreds of thousands of young men and women, a statistically insignificant yet security-relevant number is embracing radical ideas.

Analysis

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India may drop terror charges against marines

Italy could resort to international arbitration

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By Denis Greenan). (ANSA) – Rome, February 14 – India may buckle to international pressure to drop terrorism charges against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen two years ago, while Italy could take the knotty case to international arbitration. A leading Indian daily reported that New Delhi is re-assessing the terror rap.
The Indian Express said the government had decided the justice ministry should weigh charging Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone under the country’s penal code rather than the draconian SUA law, India’s tough interpretation of an international treaty against terrorism and piracy framed after the infamous 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking when wheel-chair-bound American-Jewish passenger Leon Klinghoffer was shot dead and shoved into the Mediterranean. New Delhi, which has already taken the SUA-mandated death penalty off the table, appears to be gradually ceding to pressure not just from Rome but from the European Union and the United Nations, according to news reports from Italy, India and Europe. European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton raised the issue again with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday, while Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino saw United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

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