Thursday, February 25, 2016

Top Canadian general says Canada will play a role in Libya

Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance claims Canada will end up playing a role in Libya where many western nations are worried about the increasing strength of the Islamic State.

Vance said he is not ruling out military action. Vance's statements simply add to those earlier of Minister of Defence Harjit Saijain, who hinted recently that Canada could soon join a coalition of countries who might intervene in Libya. There is already evidence of special forces operating in Libya.
Vance was at a security and defence conference in Ottawa on Friday when he made his claims. He noted the international community is taking a great interest in Libya of late. Vance said:“I don’t know whether we will be involved militarily, but we will certainly be involved somehow Libya sits at a crossroads of some very important and dangerous things that are happening that are affecting Europe, it’s affecting Africa.."When asked about Vance's remarks Defence Minister Saijan said Canada was will studying the matter.
Saijan said:“When we have further discussions, and if there’s a need, and where Canada can bring in a certain capability that can assist part of the coalition, we will consider it at that time. It’s better to get a good understanding of what’s happening and what’s needed and then look at what we as nations are good at, that we can provide and that’s how we’re going to be approaching this.”While the role of Canadians on the ground in Iraq could very well result in their becoming involved in combat, Vance was adamant that their role should be not be described as a combat role. The same type of situation might arise should Canada become involved in Libya in a training role.
Defence Minister Saijan said Canada needs to look at what the potential political solution is. The UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA) is still not up and running as it needs a vote of confidence from the internationally recognized House of Representatives. A vote is scheduled this this Tuesday and there are discussions with the Presidency Council of the GNA this weekend. Many countries are waiting for the GNA to be established and then hope that it will request an intervention against the Islamic State by foreign forces. This would provide justification for foreign intervention. As the GNA encounters problems in its formation, some countries are preparing to intervene without being asked to by the GNA.
The United States has recently unilaterally attacked an alleged IS training base in western Libya. However, the attack also killed two Serb diplomats who had been kidnapped and were being held at the site attacked. The U.S. claims the attack was undertaken with the cooperating of Libyan authorities but it must have been Tripoli General National Council authorities rather than the internationally recognized HoR in Tobruk. The GNC praised the attack while the HoR condemned it. In spite of the attack the U.S. appears still to be waiting for the GNA to request aid before any concerted action in Libya.

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