Feds weigh role in Iraq
OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan pledged Canada’s enduring support for Iraq and the war against Islamic State Thursday — but stopped short of extending Canada’s military mission in the region, most of which is set to expire next spring.
Rather, after hosting a meeting with representatives from more than a dozen countries to discuss the future of Iraq and Syria and plot next steps in the effort to destroy Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), Sajjan said the government continues to weigh Canada’s long-term role in the region.
“Today, we reaffirmed our focus on the enduring defeat of ISIS’s own network of foreign terrorist fighters, financing and propaganda,” the minister said in a statement after the meeting at a government-owned estate on Meech Lake, near Ottawa.
“Moving forward, the coalition’s continued collaboration and partnership remains crucial, and the strategic advice and direction provided during this morning’s meeting will be essential in shaping our next steps toward winning this fight.”
The comments came shortly after Canada’s top general told a parliamentary committee that while progress has been made in the fight against ISIL, it’s still too early to say when Canadian soldiers might no longer be needed in Iraq.
Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance said many of the political, economic and social problems that contributed to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s rise more than four years ago remain.
And while ISIL has lost all the territory it once held in Iraq, Vance says ISIL remains a threat.
SAJJAN Next steps?