Multinational Special Forces Operations

NATO’s Special Forces Operations in Bosnia were mostly planned in support of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which was formed by a UN Resolution in May 1993. Half the operations I worked on were to detain Persons Indicted for War Crimes (PIFWCs); the other half were designed to collect evidence for the Chief Prosecutor in the Hague.

The operations involved three groups. The local NATO multinational brigade provided the outer cordon; then the Italian Carabinieri Multinational Specialized Unit (MSU) deployed to set up the inner cordon and finally the Special Forces from one of four designated countries flew in to complete the mission. Secrecy was paramount and when a leak led to the failure of an operation, the US 3* general asked me to find the source. Everyone believed it was the Carabinieri, but I discovered they were blameless and traced the treachery to the heart of the NATO headquarters.

My deep respect for the Italian Carabinieri increased exponentially when I worked with them again in Baghdad. After the tragic attack against the MSU at Nasiriyah, which resulted in the highest loss of Italian soldiers since World War II, they did more than anyone to upgrade the Iraqi National Police until NATO pulled out in 2011. Their high standards of morality in the face of extreme provocation clearly demonstrated that they are an exemplary model of Special Forces in the modern world.

Italian Carabinieri Training Iraqi National Police 2008

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