Mark Collins – Canada vs ISIS: No CF-18 Airstrikes/Greater Risks–Plus Libya and Tables

Video at both of the first two links below:

1) No Canadian airstrikes (Matthew Fisher–bad title at story):

The federal government is placing troops at greater risk in the fight against the so-called Islamic State, says a veteran war correspondent, and it has not been entirely up-front with Canadians about it.

Matthew Fisher, Canada’s longest-serving foreign correspondent with more than 30 years experience abroad, told The West Block’s Tom Clark that it’s clear to him that increasing training resources to help local Kurdish soldiers fighting the terrorist group near Mosul will place Canadians in harm’s way.

‘It’s on the frontlines with Islamic State,” Fisher said. “Well fine, good. I think we can help out there. But the Canadian public should be made aware of this. Instead, we’re getting drip, drip, drip, little bits of information.’

WATCH Chief of defence staff says risks to troops will increase…

According to Fisher, pulling Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets out of the U.S-led bombing campaign is likely drawing a lot more criticism from Canada’s allies than the Liberals are letting on. For the allies to say they welcome the change in Canada’s tactics is “hogwash,” Fisher said.

‘Governments are not supposed to criticize other governments when you’re allies. You can kick the hell out of Vladimir Putin or the Iranians as much as you want, but with your friends, you settle your disputes in private.’

It’s no coincidence that Canada has ramped up its mission a little bit more than initially planned, Fisher noted. That was probably done in response to complaints by the United States and France…

2) Greater Risks (MND Sajjan):

…As Canada prepares to pull its CF-18s out of the air mission against the Islamic State group and triple its efforts on the ground, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the military’s new role will carry greater risks, but that it is “what the coalition needs.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week that his government plans to halt Canadian airstrikes against ISIS militants by Feb. 22.

Instead of continued airstrikes, the government says it will triple the size of its “train, advise and assist effort” on the ground. Canada will also keep one refuelling plane and two surveillance aircraft in the region…

Sajjan said the new approach will be riskier, but that it is part of Canada’s duty to support the international coalition fighting ISIS.

“Yes, it is more risky, just for the simple fact of having more troops on the ground,” he said. “But we’ve always been a responsible coalition partner, and we look at the needs of the coalition and this plan fills those gaps.”

And if Canadian troops do come under attack, Sajjan said they will have the right to fire back.

“It is a conflict zone in a high-threat environment,” he said. “If unfortunately they’ve been put in a situation, they will defend themselves. We have robust rules of engagement to help them protect themselves.”..

3) Libya and tables (at

Quote from: recceguy on Today [Feb. 14] at 14:27:48

“The MND has said we are going to be part of the mission. At least, once they figure out what kind of contribution we can give. However, once again, Canada does not seem to have a seat at the table with the United States, France, Italy and Britain, or we are not being acknowledged, at any rate. Deja vu all over again?”

Wrong. There is a small planning group that was formed in Jun last year when the Italians took the lead on planning for a Libyan International Assistance Mission, or LIAM. We have been included, at our request, in the planning since Dec. The group includes US, UK, ITA, FRA, ESP, GER and CAN. The LIAM presumes an established Government of National Accord (GNA), an invite from said GNA, and a UNSCR [Security Council resolution, good luck with Russia (and China) after the 2011 Libyan bombing stretch].

As to a “seat at the table”, note the 8 nations that, literally, sat at the table for the C-ISIL Ministerial meeting on Brussels earlier this week: US, UK, ITA, GER, FRA, AUS, NLD and CAN – in other words, those at the infamous 20 Jan Paris meeting, PLUS Canada.

All of that to say that we definitely do have a seat “at the table” [still see: “Anti-ISIS Gang of 7 Meet Again in Paris Jan. 27: No Canada Again“].

Very relevant:

Back to Libya’s Shifting Sands: Western Action vs ISIS?
[note “Comments”]

Moral Dishonesty: The New, Improved Canadian Mission vs ISIS

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


2 thoughts on “Mark Collins – Canada vs ISIS: No CF-18 Airstrikes/Greater Risks–Plus Libya and Tables”

  1. Gosh!

    ‘Top Trudeau adviser blasted Harper for ‘tinkering’ with the definition of ‘combat’ before election

    Less than a year before becoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy guru, Roland Paris blasted the Conservative government for not being upfront about the fact that Canadian troops in northern Iraq were indeed engaged in combat.

    The comments were made in a January 2015 blog post written for the University of Ottawa’s Centre for International Policy Studies, where Paris was director. They came after the Tories revealed that Canadian soldiers had been operating on the frontlines with the Kurdish forces they were “advising and assisting.”

    The Conservatives as well as senior military officers maintained the mission was non-combat, even though the Canadian troops were calling in airstrikes and had engaged in firefights with Islamic State fighters. But Paris accused the government of “redefining” combat, and said Canadians deserved the truth.

    “Our national government — regardless of the political party in power — must be forthright with Canadians about something as serious as putting Canadian soldiers into combat situations,” Paris wrote…’

    From a post at the time Prof. Paris posted:

    “Combat? Prof. Saideman Parses Canadian SOF Ops in Iraq

    The usual suspects are in quite a tizz-wazz…

    …Roland Paris, amongst others, is calling this mission creep. I have many problems with that term, but given that this seems to be the mission all along the way, the mission did not creep–it was just not what people thought it was…”

    Mark Collins

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