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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Canada in Iraq: Final CF-18 Withdrawal Will Be Measured Against Coalition Capabilities

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Monday that the decision on when to pull out Canada’s CF-18s will be based on ensuring there is no “capability gap” for the country’s allies.

“The decision on that is going to be based on making sure that there is no capability gap, and we’re figuring out the exact time to do so,” Sajjan explained.

“We’ve worked out many different options, but we also want to make sure that the contribution that we are going to make is also going to have that meaningful impact, whether it’s going to be training or other components, to the mission that we’re going to be bringing to bear.”

His reference to “other components” could mean a number  of different things. Stephane Dion last week said a police training contigent was possible or even the continuation of the Aurora and Polaris aircrafts in the mission. 

Today, Italy announced that it will not partake in the US led coalition against ISIS - they referenced the outcome of the NATO Air Campaign in Libya as its reasons. 

"Italy will not take part in the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Syria," says Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Renzi questioned the effectiveness of the campaign and pointed to disastrous NATO war against Libya as an example of the pitfalls of such campaigns.

“If being a protagonist means playing at running after other people’s bombardments, then I say ‘no thank you,'” Renzi said. “Italy’s position is clear and solid. We want to wipe out terrorists, not please the commentators. The one thing we don’t need is to multiply on-the-spot reactions, without a strategic vision.”

Renzi pointed to the 2011 NATO bombing campaign which led to the overthrown of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. After the death of Gadhafi rebel groups carved up Libya. The country is now a haven for Islamic extremists and is mired in chaos.

“Four years of civil war in Libya show it was not a happy decision,” Renzi said, pointing out that a different strategy is needed for Syria.“The one thing we cannot allow ourselves is a repeat of Libya,” he added.