Thursday, June 25, 2015

CAF Intelligence Predicted Libyan Civil War

As Canada continues its foray in Iraq and Syria - there have been many opponents of the mission. A report was quietly released earlier this year that CAF Intelligence predicted the current state of civil war in Libya following the 2011 intervention of NATO and it's bombing campaign.

The documents were found by The Ottawa Citizen. CAF Intelligence made warnings just bads before several nationals (mainly NATO allies) including Canada began their March 2011 bombing campaign against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. The campaign in Libya began on March 19, 2011, while Canadian CF-18's began bombing runs on March 23, 2011.

Following Gaddafi's defeat, Libya decended into chaos - as rival tribes and militias began to battle each other for control of the country. Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamad Dayri has warned that factions are pushing Libya into a complete full-scale civil war. Italy is now concerned that ISIS might be successful in gaining a permanent stronghold in Libya - especially as the U.S. led coalition against ISIS is focuses in Syria and Iraq.

The Canadian government and military played a main role in the overthrowing of Gaddafi, and the government took credit for those efforts and touted a victory for Libya and Canadians. However, people are warning the coalition not to make the same mistakes in Iraq, and especially Syria, where the West wants Bashar Al Assad removed from power. A similar power vacuum could be created if the Syrian regime just collapses.

CAF Intelligence officers tried to raise concerns early in the conflict that removing Gaddafi would play into the hands of Islamic extremists, but according military sources - those warmings went ignored.

The RCAF flew 10% of the missions during the NATO campaign.

1,650 CAF members heading to Europe

Defence Minister Jason Kenney announced yesterday that Canada will partake in the largest NATO exercise in Europe since the end of the Cold War in 1991.

Operation TRIDENT JUNCTURE-15 will be held in late September to early November in Spain, Portugal, and Italy; and will include more than 25,000 troops from NATO members. Canada will be sending a contingent of 1,650 troops, including elements of the RCAF, RCN, and Land elements, including Special Forces.

The Conservative government, despite not spending the NATO requested 2% of GDP on defence has been a large supporter of NATO's response to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. Canada is still deciding on how many members (if any) of the CAF it will contribute to the NATO Rapid Reaction Force. However, Ottawa officially offered the RCAF spy planes, tanker aircraft and strategic lift capabilities to the Rapid Reaction Force, which is set to triple in size from the current 13,000 members.

Two weeks ago, the CAF announced that it would provide staff officers to work at the Rapid Reaction Force command centres in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania.

Despite Canada's slow decision making process in sending troops to be part of the reaction force, Canada has had 200 infantry rotating through Eastern Europe since the summer of 2014, and according to DND, plans for the continued rotation is set for as far as March 2016.

Opponents are saying that Canada is planning on establishing a permanent presence in Europe, much like it did between 1946 and 1991 in Germany. However, DND says no permanent planning is in the process, as it is not cost-effective and in most cases too expensive.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Navy: Further Delays expected for Joint Support Ships

On a day when Defence Minister Jason Kenney announced that the government has entered into talks with the Quebec Shipyard about converting a civilian supply-ship for the navy as a stop gap - the Navy has come out and announced that they believe more delays are coming for the Joint Supply Ship (JSS) fleet.

Originally supposed to be built and be in the water by 2012, the JSS's current timeline is to being construction by 2017, and be fully operational by 2021. The Navy currently believes the Vancouver Shipyard will not be ready to begin construction by 2017, due to the fact that they are currently building the government's Fisheries Science and Oceanographic Vessels.

On top of the possibility that construction will not begin on time - a review of the budget has found that the JSS project might not even be affordable. There is a concern that with the lack of ship building in Canada over the past two decades, thaat the Vancouver Shipyard will not be able to hire the qualified staff it will require for the JSS. Also there are questions about the $2.6 billion put aside for the project (another $1.9 billion has been set aside for in-service support). Some critics question whether enough money has been put aside.

The Royal Canadian Navy is planing a third party review of the costs - and will make minor changes to its plans if the costs continue to rise - but says it requires the capabilities of the JSS. The Royal Canadian Navy selected the Germany Navy's Berlin-Class design for the ships - so changes will all depend on what those designs allow.

A Germany Navy Berlin-Class Replenishment Ship

Canada in Ukraine: Trainers to be in place by August

Despite the fact that the CAF's mission to the Ukraine was announced in April - very little has taken place to put the CAF on the ground in the Ukraine.

According to DND, a reconnaissance team has only just arrived in the Ukraine according to Lauren Armstrong, a spokeswomen for Defence Minister Kenney. They are scouting a location for the deployment of Canadian trainers.

Some 200 CAF trainers will help train the Ukrainian military in modern tactics. There has been no information given as to the delay in deploying the troops. Now troops will deploy on their two year mission in mid to late August, right in the heat of an Election campaign in Canada, which is set to vote in October 19.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Canada in Iraq - RCAF CF-18's strike four more ISIS positions

On June 19, 2015, two RCAF CF-18's targeted two ISIS  fighting positions.  One was North West of Mosul, while the second was in the vicinity of Sinjar.

On June 20, 2015, two RCAF CF-18's targeted an ISIS fighting position South East of Mosul.

And, on June 21, 2015, two RCAF CF-18's targeted an ISIS fighting position West of Fallujah.

No further details were released.