Mark Collins – Yes, Canadian Forces into Africa: Where, When, How Many? Really Peacekeeping?

Further to this post and “Comments”,

Canadian UN Peacekeeping in Mali? RCAF Helicopters? Part 2

the latest from the Minister of National Defence:

Harjit Sajjan has numbers but not location for African peacekeeping
‘Absolute atrocities’ committed in Africa can’t be ignored, defence minister says

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan knows how many troops he wants to send to Africa, but says he has no clear direction from cabinet on where to place them.

Sajjan told reporters in a conference call on Monday [Aug. 15], at the end of a five country tour in the troubled region, that an announcement on Canada’s renewed United Nations peacekeeping commitment will be made shortly.

There has been a lot of speculation about a possible Canadian contribution to existing missions in Mali, and perhaps even Congo [see “How’s UN Killer Peacekeeping in the Congo Working Out?“].

The UN Security Council recently approved a beefed-up protection force of 4,000 troops in South Sudan, which has been torn apart by civil war. But the government in that nation has said it won’t co-operate.

When asked if any country had been stricken off his list as a result of the fact-finding mission, Sajjan did not rule out South Sudan, or any nation in the region.

He rejected the notion Africa is somewhat off the beaten path when it comes to Canada’s security interests, saying peace support operations and de-escalating conflicts are concepts that have been raised repeatedly in the Liberal government’s defence policy review.

“I think it’s very important for Canadians — and the rest of the world — to know the challenges and the absolute atrocities that are being committed in Africa,” he said. “They can’t be ignored [but need some real deadly force to stop when necessary].”

Complicated region

But there are few countries — or UN missions for that matter — without some messy political or humanitarian aspects that could threaten to derail the good intentions that underpin the Liberal election promise to make Canada a player in peacekeeping again…

“We are going to be announcing our general contribution about what we’re going to be doing in Africa shortly,” he said. “No decision has been made in terms of all the resources. That decision will also be taken into account with the overall contribution that we in Canada will be announcing.”..

Let’s hope whatever is decided makes some real utilitarian and military sense. Now see this intriguing note about Ethiopia.

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


6 thoughts on “Mark Collins – Yes, Canadian Forces into Africa: Where, When, How Many? Really Peacekeeping?”

  1. Looks like announcement soon:

    “Liberal MPs to get peek at plans for climate change, peacekeeping
    Two-day caucus strategy session will set scene for fall sitting of House of Commons

    The broad strokes of Canada’s United Nations peacekeeping commitment are…likely up for discussion following Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s whirlwind five-country Africa tour this month.

    Upon his return, Sajjan said he had a good idea how may troops would be deployed but was awaiting direction from cabinet.

    The figure is expected to be in the hundreds, sources told CBC News.

    The government is expected to make a formal public commitment at a UN peacekeeping conference in London in early September…”

    Mark Collins

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