Will Italy Bomb Iraq?

Will Italy Bomb Iraq
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Italy is ready to air strike regions of Iraq that are critical to the fight on terrorism, Corriere della Sera reported on the 6th of October.

The Italian newspaper claimed that the possibility of engaging in bombardment was taken into consideration by the central government in Rome after receiving a formal request sent by the Iraqi. The air strike, according to official sources, has not yet taken place.

The announcement created a wave of protests across all Italy’s political parties. Despite several requests for explanation inside and outside the Italian parliament expressed over the course of the past month, the situation remains unclear.

Italy joined the coalition against terrorism in the Middle East leaded by the U.S. but never took part in any military action. Italian forces contributed with recon missions and logistics. After the formal request, Italy prepared and deployed four jet fighters and one air-refueling aircraft to Kuwait ready to strike.

The president of the Defence Commission of the Senate, Nicola Latorre, declared that the request had formally been made by the official government in Iraq, but no decision was taken yet.

The opposition to the center-left government expressed its dissent calling for a parliamentary interrogation on the matter, claiming that considering an act of war without the consent of the nation would be considered a lack of respect of popular sovereignty.

The Five Star Movement (Movimento Cinque Stelle) declared that it was unacceptable to apprehend from the press that Italy in considering to change the rules of engagement in Iraq. They also restated that dropping bombs on so-called “terrorists” won’t actually solve the problem, but it will create even more resentment toward the West and will eventually be the cause of even more violence.

Many commentators on the political scene observed that it is important for Italy to engage in such war actions against terrorism so it can eventually have a say on issues which directly concern the nation. The stability of the region of North Africa has a direct impact on the mass-migration fluxes that have directly effected Italy over the past four years.

By Cesare Baccheschi

Chinese Businesses In Italy – CGIA Report

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On Monday, August 25, the Italian stock market (Piazza Affari) plumbed down roughly 6 percent following the rapid decrease of the Chinese stock market of about 8.5 percent. Despite its geographic distance, China is progressively closer to Europe. The fluctuation of the stock market is just one of the many phenomenons resulting from the increase of relationship intensity between the two regions.

Recently, on Aug. 5, CGIA (Associazione Artigiani Piccole Imprese) of Mestre published an annual report on the presence of Chinese investors and small businesses in Italy.

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A New Resolution to Save Southern Italy from Social and Economic Stagnation

Southern Italy
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A few days before the beginning of August vacations, the center-left government of Italy, lead by Matteo Renzi, announced reforms and investments to lunch the economic take off of the regions of the south after long years of stagnation.

Following the meeting of the PD party (democratic Party), held on the 7th of august, the Prime Minister presented a long-term plan for investments worth a total of 100 billion to be spent over the next 15 years. The main goal of the resolution is to boost infrastructure, create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and offer more opportunities for growth in the tourism industry.

The resolution comes after a very harsh letter published in the national newspaper La Repubblica, in which the internationally renowned Italian writer and journalist, Roberto Saviano, wrote: “Dear Premier, the south is dying: Everybody is leaving, even Mafia.”

The opinion piece that generated the reaction of the institutions was based upon a yearly report released by ISTAT (Italian National Institute for Statistics) that looks at the economic and social condition of each region along with aggregate data on the macro regions, such as north, center and south. The outcomes present a critical situation in Southern Italy compared with the rest of the country. The report lead in the past few weeks to manifestations of concern from all parties, calling for the government to react to the situation, which threatens to endanger the economy of the entire nation.

According to the report, in the past 15 years Southern Italy grew at half the speed of Greece, despite having a population of approximately 20 million people compared with Greece’s 16 million. Svimez summarized its analysis by declaring: “Southern Italy is at risk of industrial desertification, with the consequence that the lack of human, entrepreneurial and industrial resources might lead it to miss the opportunity for an economical and financial recovery. The cyclical crisis risks to become chronic underdevelopment.” 

The report shows that only 5.8 million people (of 20 million) are employed and that only one woman out of five has a job. The employment rate of women between 35 and 64 years of age in Italy is 64%; in the south it is 35%. In 2014, the number of families that went below the poverty threshold rose substantially. Last year, 390 thousands new families became “poor.” 37.5% are in Southern Italy (Sicily 41%, Campania 37,7%). The study showed that in the north one family out of 10 is at risk of falling under the poverty threshold. In the south the ratio is much higher, it is one out of three.

In accordance with the aforementioned situation, the government has investment plans, which are supposed to raise the GDP, creating new job opportunities and fostering the recovery and stabilization of the market. Minister of Economic Development Federica Guidi, defined this plan as a new “Marshall Plan” for the south.

The new resolution, which will be published by the government in the next few weeks, tries to address a series of problems that affected the south for decades and that constitute the so-called “Southern Question.” The chronic inability of the south to grow is due to a series of elements, such as the infiltration of criminal organizations within the economical and political texture of the society, the mismanagement of public assets, the strong lack of parameters and means of control of the state and of privates, the inability of the state to properly manage public resources and investments in an efficient and effective way, the structural stagnation of the market and the difficulties to properly connect the region of the south with the rest of the nation and eventually with Europe as well. Those are some of the elements that led to the straightening of organized crime (such as Mafia and Camorra), substantially contributing to slow down the economical and social development of the southern regions.

The aforementioned elements are some of the main causes that also led many people, both from the left and the right, to heavily criticize the government for the choice of investing even more resources in the regions in Southern Italy. Many politicians and journalists criticized the government for proposing reforms which do not tackle the problem at the source. Il Giornale, a national center-right newspaper, reports that from 2009 up until 2014, the state spent 45 billion, along with other 390 billion from 1951 to 2009. The outcomes of these investments, it says, produced 20% unemployment and 56% of youth unemployment. The national unemployment is 12.8 and the youth unemployment is 42,7%. Southern Italy is considerably below the national average. As the right-wing parties underline, Premier Renzi should revise his model of development.

The reply of the center-left government was the creation of a commission, supervised by Renzi itself, with the aim of efficiently managing the funds addressing investment without wasting important resources.

By the end of august, the government will publish a detailed dossier along with the first set of reforms.

Analysis by Cesare Baccheschi