Mali

Canadians Send Contradictory Messages Regarding Possible Intervention in Mali

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Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay has said that Canadian officials are considering what Canadian forces might be able to contribute to the planned intervention in Mali, which aims to dislodge Al Qaeda militants from the north of the country.

From The Globe and Mail:

"We are contemplating what contribution Canada could make," Mr. MacKay told reporters at CFB Halifax Sunday, where he announced a rent cap for some defence housing.

"Training is something that Canadian Forces are particularly adept at doing," Mr. MacKay said. "We have demonstrated that repeatedly … throughout our history. But certainly the training mission in Afghanistan is testament to that commitment and that ability and is something that has garnered the admiration of recipient nations but other countries as well that emulate Canadian training techniques."

MacKay's statement contradicts earlier comments from Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, who said that the Canadian government was not planning on sending troops to Mali. Were Canada to commit troops it would be the latest in quite a long list of countries preparing to get involved.

French peacekeeping veteran General Francois Lecointre was recently announced as the leader of the E.U.'s mission in Mali. The E.U.'s mission is separate from the Africa-led mission approved by the UN Security Council, which will include 3,300 troops.

Earlier this month UPI reported that the French were putting pressure on Algeria to back intervention and that although the U.S. was not planning on sending troops to the region it is "likely to become the main financier of any regional operation."

Although the planned intervention in Mali seems to be gathering considerable support there is good reason to think that the fight against Al Qaeda will lead to difficulties similar to those that we have seen in Afghanistan.

Our campaign in Afghanistan succeeded in displacing much of Al Qaeda from the country. However, many Al Qaeda fighters are now in Pakistan. If the planned intervention in Mali is successful there is a good chance that we could see something similar, with Al Qaeda militants moving to a bordering country like Niger.

It should be of little reassurance that UN Ambassador Susan Rice described the plans for the intervention as "crap," saying, quite rightly, that the planned African force does not have the skills required for the mission in Mali. Canadian officials ought to consider how likely it is that thousands of unprepared occupying troops will improve the situation in Mali.  

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  1. Now that a Democrat is in the White House any Tory warmongering is okay since they will be lackies of King Barack. If anything Harper is not enough of an Obama toadie so that’s why we need Justin Turdough or Mulcair.

  2. Wow. This tops my list of “who gives a fuck?” so far today. Good job, Canada!

    What next, a mission to “assist in the training of administrative procedures” for the locals in…Lithuantia?

  3. …which aims to dislodge Al Qaeda militants from the north of the country.

    The Canadian contingent is going to get in there mucking and grinding until either they get al Qaeda dislodged or they get a whistle.

    1. I was going to praise your comment, but it made me realize how much I miss the NHL, damn you…

  4. Send in the clowns.

    1. Don’t you mean “Send in the clowns, eh“?

    2. They may have old, worn out, falling apart equipment and lousy political leadership – but the average Canadian soldier is OK by me.

  5. We can fucking train you to death. We’re training machines.

    I find that an odd remark for some reason. I can’t see the U.S. military saying anything like that.

    1. It struck me as oddly Canadian too. That, and “peacekeeping” are things that are on the approved list of military talking points. People would find it jarring and distasteful to be any more specific.

  6. Do not mock the Canadian military. Canada was heavily populated by veterans of British army regiments, and has a pretty hard-core martial tradition.

    Up to WW-II the Canadians loved to rush to the bang of the guns to get their oar in.

    Then came the disaster at Dieppe, which changed Canadian culture dramatically. No longer did they want to run to the bang of any guns, but tell them the guns are banging to keep the peace, and the Canadians have run like their grandfathers did to make their mark on the field of battle.

  7. Has the Canadian military updated its uniform from denim pants, a denim shirt, and a denim flack jacket?

    1. And a toque over the helmet. DUH.

  8. Believe it or not, the US learned a lot from Canada in preparation for WWII.

    Just put a small contingency on the Nigerian border to intercept those that flee, kind of a no-brainer there, huh?

  9. Alt-text: Okay, eh, how long do I have to stand on guard for thee?

  10. And sometimes you jsut gotta throw your hands in the iar like you just odnt care.

    http://www.ItsAnon.tk

  11. Earlier this month UPI reported that the French were putting pressure on Algeria to back intervention and that although the U.S. was not planning on sending troops to the region it is “likely to become the main financier ofbe three any regional operation.”
    ……….
    Hey, great! We get to pay for interventions that we don’t even do ourselves. Now that’s what I call some record-setting mission creep, eh? WTFF?!? (That first ‘f’ would be an adjective for the second one. Hmm… maybe there should be three…)

  12. What happened to that quote…. eh? S/be:

    Earlier this month UPI reported that the French were putting pressure on Algeria to back intervention and that although the U.S. was not planning on sending troops to the region it is “likely to become the main financier of any regional operation.”

    And the right number (of the letter ‘f’) would be at least four. Or a million.

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