Mark Collins – Former Liberal Defence Minister Wants Canada to Help Fight Jihadis in Africa

Further to this post,

Canada’s New Government and UN Peacekeeping in Africa

David Pratt suggests strongly the new government get involved–does he have any influence with his party?

Why Canada should take the fight against Islamic State [and al Qaeda] to Africa 
[headline a bit strong for actual proposals]

David Pratt is a member of the Advisory Council of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and the principal of David Pratt & Associates, a government relations firm based in Ottawa.

The recent bloody attacks by an affiliate of al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) in Burkina Faso, which left at least 28 people dead and 56 wounded, offer further evidence, if any were needed, that the fight against the Islamic State and its confederates ranges well beyond Syria and Iraq.

The six Canadians who were killed – including a family of four – were in the country on a development mission like many of the other victims. Fighters from AQIM’s Saharan affiliate, al-Mourabitoun, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were targeted at Westerners and United Nations workers. If the new government is looking for an effective and coherent means of contributing to the fight against the Islamic State, AQIM and associated radical groups, one of the options it might consider is to continue its current training, surveillance mission and humanitarian efforts, but also take the fight outside of the Iraq/Syria region.

Notwithstanding periodic and conflicting reports of co-operation and competition between the Islamic State and AQIM, there are indications that these groups are metastasizing into a confederacy of global terrorist actors with broad ambitions. The Islamic State is already active in parts of the Sinai, in Yemen and Libya. Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the group and there are others in Afghanistan and some of the al-Shabaab in Somalia who have strong connections with the organization…

One option the federal government should consider is joining France in support of the security measures being taken by the G5 Sahel member states in the region – Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Chad. Such military action would bolster these regional players and the UN stabilization mission in Mali [MINUSMA].

Canada is uniquely positioned to make a very valuable contribution in the region with logistical and engineering support, strategic airlift and perhaps some more trainers and special forces [actually to kill people? not to this government’s taste, see ‘Canada vs ISIS: “we sanctimoniously pat ourselves on the back for our pacifism”‘]. From a diplomatic standpoint, there also needs to be more focus on security co-operation. This would also address some of the foreign policy aims in the Liberal platform, which include doing more in French-speaking Africa and supporting UN peacekeeping missions…

A post of mine in February 2014:

Why No Canadian Participation in UN Mali Force?

[note Dutch at end]

The political mood in Quebec would certainly seem propitious for such a move:

Deaths of Quebecers strengthen resolve in terrorism fight: [Premier] Couillard

Mother of Burkina Faso terror victim criticizes Canada’s IS stance

The mother of one of the victims in the Burkina Faso terrorist attack has sharply criticized the Trudeau government for plans to withdraw fighter jets from the fight against the Islamic State instead of boosting the military response…

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


11 thoughts on “Mark Collins – Former Liberal Defence Minister Wants Canada to Help Fight Jihadis in Africa”

  1. Burundi anyone?

    Plus gov’t looking at overall peacekeeping (not quite) strategy:

    Mark Collins

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