Canada In Syria

Canada and the fight against ISIS in Syria

What is ISIS and what is happening in Syria?

  • ISIS stands for The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
  • An extremely violent Sunni jihadist group in Iraq; now the most powerful and effective extreme jihadi group in the world.
  • Want to redraw Middle East borders in order to create an Islamic state governed by an extremist interpretation of Islamic law.
  • Known for making surprise attacks, inflicting maximum casualties, then withdrawing without suffering heavy losses.
  • Used the Syrian civil war as an opportunity to gain control and influence in Syria, control areas in Syria in which there are rich oil fields
  • The chaos in Syria allowed ISIS to hold this territory pretty securely. This is a big deal in terms of weaponry and money. ISIS gained a large portion of its wealth as a result of taking over land in Syria
  • Syria  is hugely important as a safe zone. When fighting Syrian troops, ISIS can safely retreat to Iraq; when fighting Iraqis it can go to Syria. Statistical evidence says these safe "rear areas" help insurgents win
  • It allowed ISIS to get battlefield experience, attracted a ton of financial support from Gulf states and private donors looking to oust Assad, and a crucial safe haven in eastern Syria. ISIS also absorbed a lot of recruits from Syrian rebel groups
  • In Syria, they've built up something like a mini-state: collecting the equivalent of taxes, selling electricity, and exporting oil to fund its militant activities, this includes extorting money from humanitarian workers and selling electricity to the Syrian government that it's currently fighting-a significant amount of their revenues are as a result of taking of their control in Syria

The blue portion of the map show the areas controlled by ISIS in Syria

What is Canada doing to combat ISIS in Syria?

What is  the current event: Canada beginning to expand its military mission into Syria!

Canada is poised to begin airstrikes in Syria against ISIS. Canadian fighter jets will soon be launching air strikes in Syria now that the House of Commons has approved the federal government’s plan to expand and extend its military mission in Iraq into Syria. The government has elected on expanding its military mission against the Islamic State into Syria. Federal MPs voted 142-129 in favour of a motion extending the mission for up to a full year and authorizing bombing runs in Syria against the targets, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Up to 69 Canadian special forces advisers will also remain in the region to advise and assist Kurdish peshmerga forces in their efforts to beat back the advance of ISIS militants.

Why did Canada get involved in this capacity in Syria and ISIS?

The party holding the majority government in Canada are the conservatives. The Conservatives say military strikes in Syria are legally justified and necessary, and that Canada has a moral obligation to continue to do its part to beat back the global threat of terrorism. The conservatives believe that ISIS is of a significant threat to Canada, and Canada should therefore expand upon their role in the fight against ISIS by now going into Syria. Stephen Harper said, “While the coalition [this is referring to Canada's original involvement in the fight against ISIS which did not involve being in Syria] has succeeded in stopping ISIL’s territorial spread, the global threat that ISIL poses remains,” “In particular, we cannot stand on the sidelines while ISIL continues to promote terrorism in Canada as well as against our allies and partners, not can we allow ISIL to have a safe haven in Syria,” Harper said.  A report released by the house of commons, said that Canada cannot ignore the threat posed by ISIS. The report said, “However, no matter how seemingly intractable the general situation in neighbouring Syria may be, it cannot be overlooked that ISIL is active in both Syria and Iraq, and does not respect borders,”. “Ultimately, defeating ISIL will require defeating them on the ground in Syria and achieving a political solution to the longstanding conflict in Syria.” In summation, the government is of the belief that fighting ISIS in both Iraq and Syria is the only way that ISIS can be taken down, and thus they have approved this extended mission into Syria.

How does this affect Canada's foreign policy and what are the political concerns?

This foreign policy likens the  Canadian one similar to that of the US. The US has a knack for illegal entering countries to wage war. Canada has now also done this by waging war in Syria without permission from the Assad government. This move has pulled Canada further way from its legitimacy as a peace keeping nation.  Canada is the only Western country to join the United States in the fight against ISIS. This puts Canadian soldiers at risk. Canadian pilots will be further from help if their planes crash in Syria, where there is no ground support, and the air strikes inadvertently put Canada on the same side as the Bashar al-Assad regime that rules Syria despite an international reputation for a murderous war on its citizens. Last October,  Harper promised he wouldn’t conduct air raids inside Syria without the consent of the Assad government.But last week, the Prime Minister said he’d changed his mind after watching Islamic State forces seeking safe haven there from the larger-scale aerial bombardment in Iraq.The Conservatives have framed the expanded and extended mission as a matter of national interest, saying Islamic State poses a direct threat to Canada because it has urged jihadists to launch attacks here – a threat opposition parties have questioned.The federal government said it will shortly notify the United Nations by letter – as the Obama administration did – and cite Article 51 of the UN Charter, the self-defence clause that says a country can take individual or collective action on behalf of a member under armed attack. The liberal and

This move into Syria can have a significant impact on the elections that will occur later on this year. This has given parties the opportunity to clearly state their beliefs that will impact their election. However the Liberal and NDP party don't believe that this defence is a good enough  to justify going to war in Syria. Both parties are of the belief that the conservative plan is too vague and therefore should not be supported as they don't believe it will do what it was made to.Both the NDP and Liberals are of the beliefs that the government should send aid in the form of food and water to Syria.

This move into Syria can have a significant impact on the elections that will occur later on this year. This has given parties the opportunity to clearly state their beliefs that will impact their election.

This has given the conservatives a chance to further establish their hardline views on crime, and has given them an opportunity to display  their foreign policy ideals. This has also allowed  NDP and liberal parties to establish their views. Both of which are anti-war, and pro-foreign aid to Syria.

Lastly, this move can have a negative affect on Canada's global political standing. Illegally entering a country can give Canada a bad reputation world wide. In addition to this, Canada entering Syria without permission from the security counsel can demonstrate to the UN that Canada does not care about breaking international law.

Works Cited List

"Canada planned for a larger role in Iraq; Harper action just a continuation of existing foreign policy." Spectator [Hamilton, Ontario] 11 Sept. 2014: A15. Global Issues In Context. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

"Syria air mission to be pushed through; Conservatives will use Commons majority to authorize expansion of Canada's military operations against the Islamic State." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada] 30 Mar. 2015: A3. Global Issues In Context. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

"MPs vote to take fight against Islamic State into Syria; Strikes could begin 'in a matter of days' as Canada only Western nation to join U.S. in mission beyond Iraq." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada] 31 Mar. 2015: A1. Global Issues In Context. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

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