Official Web Site of the Kosovo Force
Brothers in Arms - Carabinieri
By Sgt H. P. Schoesler Danish Army and WO2 G. Mattiello Italian Air Force (Photo)

Italy is the biggest contributor to KFOR, with more than 5,900 soldiers in Kosovo, Albania, Greece and FYROM (1). One very important contribution is the contingent '260 Carabinieri,' that serves as part of the Multinational Specialized Unit (MSU)

Pristina, MSU HQ - The Carabinieri entered Kosovo in August 1999 in order to form the MSU with Estonia and France. The MSU's primary mission is to enforce law and order, and to gather intelligence to prevent organized crime and possible terrorist threats against KFOR and the people living in Kosovo.

Organized crime

"Our daily assignments vary from patrols and crowd control to gathering and assessing information. Each morning the MSU dispatches 50 to 70 vehicles to execute these various assignments throughout the territory," said Sgt La Torre who is one of the most experienced members of the MSU, with 23 years of service in various rooms of operation in Italy.
The Carabinieri concentrate in particular on special types of criminal activity; such as the smuggling of weapons, fuel, illegal and stolen vehicles, cigarettes and drugs. Furthermore, the MSU has made a special effort in the fight against prostitution and human trafficking throughout Kosovo. They have made a significant impact on the wave of crime that followed in the path of war in Kosovo.

Track units all the time

"These efforts of containing and fighting crime is all coordinated in the room of operations from where we have radio contact with all our units. Furthermore, we can track the position of all our units in real time on screen via a GPS, that is installed in all MSU vehicles," Sgt La Torre said.
In order to make crime prevention effective the MSU is well equipped and organized: For their mobile patrols they drive the Landrover 90 and 110 as light vehicles, and use the lightly armoured vehicles VM-90 Armoured and the VM-90 Torpedo when the going gets tough. The standard issued weapon of the Carabinieri is the Beretta 92 9 mm pistol.

Extremely versatile

General Information

Official name: Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana)
Location: Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia.
Background: Italy became a nation-state belatedly - in 1861 when the city-states of the peninsula, along with Sardinia and Sicily, were united under King Victor EMMANUEL. An era of parliamentary government came to a close in the early 1920s when Benito MUSSOLINI established a Fascist dictatorship. His disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany led to Italy's defeat in World War II. A democratic republic replaced the monarchy in 1946 and economic revival followed. Italy was a charter member of NATO and the European Economic Community (EEC). It has been at the forefront of European economic and political unification, joining the European Monetary Union in 1999. Persistent problems include illegal immigration, the ravages of organized crime, corruption, high unemployment, and the low incomes and technical standards of southern Italy compared with the more prosperous north.
Country Size: 301,323 km2
Population: 57,563,000
Capital city: Rome (Roma)
Languages: Italian, German (regional), French (regional)
Political structure: Parliamentary Republic (since 1948)
NATO Member: Yes
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Carabinieri
Military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - fit for military service (males age 15-49): 12,244,166 (2001 est.)
Strength of Carabinieri (Peacetime/Wartime): 120,000 soldiers
Military structure: All men over 18 are liable for military service, which they can perform in the armed forces, the military police, fire brigades or police. However, conscription is being phased out and the armed forces will be completely professionalised by the end of 2005, therefore young people born after 1985 will not be drafted. Military service lasts for 10 months.
Special forces: Carabinieri SWAT Team - Special Intervention Group (G.I.S.)
Standard issued weapon: Beretta 92 (9 mm) - Pistol
Participated in missions in: Crimea, Crete, China, Chile, Russia, Lebanon, San Marino, Somalia, Namibia, Persian Gulf, Iraq, Cambodia, Mozambique, and East Timor.

Furthermore, the organisation and structure of the MSU makes it extremely versatile and fit for the fight against organized crime. It has detachments of 15 - 20 people in police stations in Prizren (MNB South), Gjakova/Dakovica (MNB West), Silovo (MNB East), and Mitrovice/Mitrovica (MNB North), and is autonomous both operationally and logistically.

Primary advisor

The operational autonomy means that the MSU is independent of the brigades in Kosovo and therefore reports directly to COMKFOR. This makes the Commander of the MSU (COMMSU), Col. Georg Dipauli, the primary advisor to COMKFOR on public security matters.
The Carabinieri also contribute to current and ongoing missions in Bosnia, Albania, FYROM (1), Israel, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Similar to Gendarmerie

The Carabnieri corps was created in 1814 by Victor Emanuel I, king of Sardinia, in the aim of providing the region Piedmont with a police corps similar to the French Gendarmerie.
Both a military and a police corps, Carabinieri fought in every conflict in which Italy was involved, reporting losses and one of the brightest collection of medals of the world, for the many heroic acts. The nickname of the corps is La Benemerita (the well deserving).

Specialized parties

They are organized in a wide territorial display in Italy, which covers the national territory in its entirety, and in many specialised parties, some of which have international reputation, such as the Nucleo Tutela Patrimonio Artistico (specialised in the protection of artworks and in the recovery of stolen pictures).

Lots of peacekeeping ops

The Carabinieri has a long history of participating in peacekeeping operations. They started in Crimea in 1855, and have since then served in Crete, China, Chile, Russia, Lebanon, San Marino, Somalia, Namibia, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Cambodia,

Mozambique, and East Timor just to mention a few of the many places where the Carabinieri have been deployed outside its homeland.

  1. Turkey recognizes the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name.