By Stephanie Carvin
Whether you agree or disagree with its reasoning, the Liberal government has taken Canada’s Iraq/Syria strategy in a new direction. Despite the criticism (much of which I share), the new policies are far from a disaster. Canada is making a clear commitment to provide aid in one of the most complex emergencies the world has seen. And we are keeping key military capabilities in theatre to assist our allies, such as refuelling and reconnaissance planes. Significantly, Canada will be putting more troops in theatre, including our Special Operations Forces, who have an international reputation for their effectiveness.
But announcing a policy is one thing; implementing it and achieving the goals the Liberals have set out is another. Indeed, there remain several challenges that the government faces in implementing its new policies that could threaten the success of its new strategy.
1. Incongruent interests between Canada and the Kurdish Peshmerga will likely trump training efforts.
By Jean Daudelin
In an enthusiastic endorsement of Barrack Obama’s new offensive in Syria, Brookings’ Kenneth Pollack argues that the key to the stability of the region lies in effective nation-building.
In the face of innumerable failures and, over the last 20 years, of the progressive reconfiguration of Germany, Central Europe and the Balkans around newly created — or re-created — ethnic states, Pollack still argues that multi-ethnic or multi-communal nation-building is possible in the Middle-East, from the outside and without rearranging the absurd boundaries of the region.
And yet, if it were successful (a big if), the most likely outcome of the strategy he outlines — arming a “moderate” Syrian opposition and helping it take control of the country against both Assad and IS — would be the rise to power, in Syria, of a Sunni regime that would be a mirror image of Iraq’s Shia one, and under which you wouldn’t want to be a minority: Alawite, Kurdish or Christian, in this case, instead of Kurdish and Sunni in Iraq.