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Not just Afghanistan: what military missions abroad cost to Italian people

Expeditions to Kabul and Iraq burned 10 billion € from the italian budget.

Imagine if Italy had not participated in the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. On balance Italy would have saved exactly the money needed this year to finance the Income of Citizenship and Quota 100. According to the analysis carried out by Milex, the Observatory for military spending, in fact, the only military mission in Afghanistan, which now lasts since 2001, it has cost about 7.7 billion euros. To which we add another 2.6 billion spent to maintain italian military contingent in Iraq, in a mission that has been going on practically since 2003. These are only some figures regarding our military missions. An issue that was not dealt by the goverment and came back to the current news after the words of Minister Elisabetta Trenta who, despite the discontent of the League, announced the intention to withdraw Italian troops at the end of the year, following the example of the non-pacifist Donald Trump.

Yet the missions that could perhaps be cut are many. Every year the total budget for the various theaters of war in which italian government is engaged is around one billion euros. Italy send around the world almost 6,000 soldiers (in 2018 were 5,816) to participate, in most cases, missions wanted and carried forward now by NATO, now from the European Union. Some examples to understand what we are talking about: in 2018 Italy spent about 167 million euro to maintain a contingent of 900 men in Afghanistan; another 150, however, were spent for Lebanon. The mission, however, that requires the greatest (and justified) effort is that which commits Italy in the international coalition against Daesh, for which in the last year we have spent over 250 million euros.

Alongside missions of this magnitude, however, few know that Italy is participating in a NATO mission to defend air borders from possible Russian attacks in Latvia: a contingent of 160 men (plus airplanes) for an annual expenditure of about 22 million euros. And it went well: until 2017, in fact, Italy for the same anti-Russian reason was also engaged in Iceland and Bulgaria: it will seem crazy, but so that year Italy spent another 15 million euros. But it did not end here. In other theaters, in fact, italian contingent is decidedly limited. To say: in Cyprus only 4 of our soldiers are employed for a total expenditure of over 200 thousand euros. In Bosnia-Herzegovina Italy still have 5 units (for a cost of 250 thousand euros). Two soldiers are still in India and Pakistan, three in Libya, three in Somalia, seven in Mali for a UN mission, two in Niger and one soldier in Rafah, a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip. All micro-missions that together involve an expenditure of over 3 million euros. That, perhaps, if we had saved, we could have used it in another way.

Taken from the campaign Milex Osservatorio sulle spese Militari Italiane, and based on the article publish by Carmine Gazzanni. Originally published (in Italian) in “La Notizia Giornale”. Read it here!

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