The Italian press is reporting that the Ariete armored brigade and the Garibaldi Regiment (Italian Army "heavy" units) have been on standby over the last few months for possible deployment to the front lines in Iraq, albeit for a limited period. The Italian Air Force is also looking into the possibility of providing an air unit, probably 15 Tornado ECR's (to knock out enemy radar defenses) or the IDS attack version.
An Italian Defense Staff source told them that "there is no real military requirement: The United States has everything it needs and more for the war against Iraq. But politics might be in favor of keeping Italy lined up in the field with the Americans regardless." However, sending 400 to 500 "Alpini" (mountain troops) to Afghanistan is also a possibility. - Adam Geibel