Italian Niger mission fuels electoral skirmish

Italian peace-keepers in Iraq, some will be sent to Niger
 ROME -- Opposition parties kicked off the Italian general election battle Wednesday by lambasting the planned deployment of 470 Italian troops to Niger that was due to be approved by Italy's Chamber of Deputies this week as President Sergio Mattarella prepared to dissolve parliament on Thursday, formally starting the campaign for an Italian general election expected to be held March 4. 
 The xenophobic Northern League criticised the peace-keeping mission, designed to help prevent migrants reaching Libya and Italy, saying the money would be better spent patrolling national borders while MPS on the Italian left slammed Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni for sneaking a decision under the rope in his cabinet this week without time for parliament to hold a full debate on the matter.
 The Italian troops are to be withdrawn from the italian contingent in Iraq so as to be able to support French and other peace-keeping soldiers already deployed in Niger.