Canada Expanding its Fight Against ISIS

Canadian CP-140 Aurora
Image courtesy of Department of National Defense, Canada

Canada Expanding Its Fight Against ISIS
| published March 24, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

Canada plans to join the coalition of countries fighting the Islamic State, according to Reuters and other international news services. The move will be a major step for Canada, a key U.S. and British ally.

The Canadian military, which already has a contingent of about 70 Special Forces troops currently engaged in Iraq, will ramp up its commitment to the fight against ISIS by sending jet fighters and fighter bombers to participate in air attacks in ISIS-controlled sectors of Syria and Iraq.

Canada’s commitment was made official on Tuesday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a member of the center-right Conservative Party. Canada’s Conservative Party has long advocated a stronger level of involvement by Canadian forces, and Harper and his allies have said that ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups pose a serious threat to the Canadian people.

But Harper’s decision—though celebrated in the United States—is not without critics at home. Spokespersons for Canada’s left-leaning New Democrats say members of their party will resist efforts to expand Canada’s military involvement in the Middle East. Several top legislators within the New Democrats say that they will vote against Harper’s measure. Centrist parties and groups have not made it clear which position they will support, though some analysts say that most members of the Liberal Party will back Harper’s resolution. Recent polls indicate that two-thirds of Canadian voters support an expanded role for Canada in the fight against the Islamic State, even if that role means direct combat in Iraq or Syria.

A vote will still be required by the House of Commons, but centrist and liberal support for the measure—coupled with the fact that the Conservative Party has a decisive majority in the House of Commons—mean the measure will likely pass easily.

The U.S.-led coalition includes air power from Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Britain and France. Few coalition troops are fighting along the front lines, and recent gains on ground have come by way of mixed units made up of Iraqi regular troops, Shiite militias, and Kurdish forces.

This October 2014 file photo, courtesy of the Canadian Department of National Defense, shows a ground crew member directing the flight crew of a Canadian CP-140 "Aurora" on an airfield in Kuwait.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Pre-Flight Inspection; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; March 17, 2015.

Obama, Congress & The Fight Against ISIS; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; February 23, 2015.