Mark Collins – Netherlands and UN Peacekeeping (sort of) in Mali–Canada?

The new Canadian government is looking to get re-involved in UN peacekeeping (scroll down to “Revitalizing Canada’s historic role”–but much peacekeeping now, as in Mali, is of the robust “killer” sort); the government might have a look at what the Dutch, and other Europeans, are doing in that African country:

Dutch may extend military role in Mali, foreign minister says

Ministers are considering extending the Dutch UN mission to Mali [MINUSMA–by the way there is also an EU training mission in southern Mali] past the end of this year, broadcaster Nos says on Friday [April 15].

France has asked the Netherlands to stay on and foreign minister Bert Koenders said he will consider it, the broadcaster says [France is the lead Western nation in military operations, independent of the UN, in the Sahel: the large Opération Barkhane].

The Netherlands has contributed to the UN mission since 2014. There are currently 450 Dutch soldiers, four combat helicopters and three transport helicopters in the war-torn country. One-third of the soldiers are due to return home this year and will be replaced by Czechs, Danes and Germans [see the last’s quite substantial contribution]…

Via MILNEWS.ca. That Dutch contribution is pretty robust itself:

…The Dutch contingent in Mali is mainly involved in conducting reconnaissance and gathering intelligence, serving, as it were, as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the mission.

The UN operation’s primary objective is to restore security and stability in Mali and to protect the civilian population [with ddeadly force if necessary]. The Dutch contribution chiefly consists of:

• Special Operations Forces;
• intelligence personnel;
• Apache attack helicopters;
• Chinook transport helicopters (from October 2014);
• police trainers…

One really wonders if our government would be willing to be so robust or be able to contribute anything like those numbers whenever it does re-engage with UN missions.

And note also what the Dutch are doing in the fight vs ISIS, including 6 F-16s for air strikes.

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

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