Friday, September 9, 2016

When Should the "Blue Helmets" Walk Away?

Despite the fact that all signs point towards a Canadian deployment to Mali as part of Canada's "Return" to Peacekeeping - I came across this interesting essay about the UN's current operations in the Sudan, and perhaps it is time for the UN to consider other options. Something to consider before Canada deploys peacekeepers?


The renewed crisis in South Sudan is turning into a decisive test for the United Nations. There is a growing international outcry over reports that local forces raped and killed civilians almost in front of UN peacekeepers. The Security Council has struggled to persuade the South Sudanese government to accept the deployment of an additional 4,000 troops with a robust mandate to stabilize the capital, Juba. Having initially rejected the proposal, which has strong African support, President Salva Kiir now seems willing to at least consider the reinforcements. There are tensions in the Security Councilover how to handle Kiir: the U.S. wants a tough line, but China and Russia insist on respect for that South Sudan’s sovereignty.

Kiir and his advisers profoundly distrust the UN. According to a leaked South Sudanese document they believe that “The UN Secretary General [Ban Ki Moon] has constantly advanced negative views against the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and its leadership,” and even pursued a “regime change strategy.” This is unjust. A few outside analysts have advanced ambitious and probably unworkable plans to turn South Sudan into an international protectorate on the Kosovo model. But the UN is largely struggling to stay on top of the crisis and get aid to the suffering, rather than plotting to overthrow Kiir.

Deployment map of UNMISS, United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (Map No. 4456R23, July 2016) - ©UN Cartographic Information Section

The grim reality is that, far from being in a position to depose the president, the UN has little choice but to work with him and his allies. The alternative could be a severe increase in violence, with peacekeepers in the firing line. This is neither a new or unique dilemma. In “The Peacekeeping Quagmire”, published by the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs exactly a year ago, I argued that the UN’s “greatest strategic weakness” in South Sudan was its ties to an insecure and often aggressive leader such as Kiir.

Yet, as I noted then, peacekeeping forces have ended up in similarly dangerous relationships with other leaders, including Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila. While Kiir may be in the news today, there are also growing fears that Kabila’s efforts to quash political opposition and secure an unconstitutional third term as president in the DRC this year will also lead to serious violence – and once again, a large UN peace operation will be on the frontline trying to keep order.

These crises are a reminder that, in trying to understand why UN peace operations succeed or fail, it is necessary not only to look at the technical details of their mandates and functions (DDR, SSR, and so forth) but also at political personalities and dynamics. The 2015 High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) argued that the UN must emphasize the “primacy of politics” in all its peacemaking efforts. But what happens when politicians are fundamentally unwilling or unable to work constructively with international peacekeepers? As I argued last year, and still believe today, there may be times and places where the UN has to walk away from countries where local political elites set ethically unacceptable conditions for keeping blue helmets on the ground, whatever the dangers of retreating.
This line chart shows the increase in the number of uniformed personnel deployed (red line) and UN authorized levels of uniformed personnel (blue line) of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) from its inception (August 2011) to present.
In January 2015, protests broke out in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in response to an attempt by President Joseph Kabila to circumvent constitutional term-limits and run for a third term as head of state. Security forces killed dozens. Kabila backed down but many Congolese and foreign observers thought this retreat is only temporary. The violence raised concerns not only about the DRC’s political future but also about Kabila’s relationship with the United Nations.

The UN has deployed peacekeepers in the DRC since 1999 and in July 2016 had more than 18,000 troops and police on the ground. It oversaw the president’s two previous electoral victories in 2006 and 2011, although his supporters were widely believed to have rigged the latter. UN troops have assisted the Congolese army, which has an ugly track record of human rights violations, in efforts to defeat militias in the east of the country. Yet if the UN and Kabila have developed a symbiotic relationship, it is also an abusive one. The President and his advisers have accused the peacekeepers of failing to fight hard enough in the east and accused the UN of “neo-colonization”.

The UN Stabilization Force in the DRC (MONUSCO) has become an emblem of the flaws of the UN’s broader peacekeeping project. The organization in July 2016 had more than 101,000 uniformed personnel worldwide, a record. Some of the largest and highest-profile UN missions, including those in South Sudan and Darfur, are trapped in quagmires of endemic violence and dysfunctional politics. UN contingents are often under-equipped and under-motivated, reducing their tactical impact. Yet the UN’s greatest strategic weakness in these cases is that it has become entangled in fractious and arguably unethical relationships with national leaders who, driven by greed or fear, have little real interest in stable, open and inclusive political systems.

The DRC is by no means the worst case. In South Sudan, President Salva Kiir has marginalized the UN mission (UNMISS) since the country slumped into civil war in December 2013. In July 2016, the peacekeepers are sheltering an estimated 200,000 civilians on their compounds but can do little more. In Darfur, troops and militias loyal to President Omar al-Bashir regularly harass peacekeeping patrols. UN officials have allegedly covered up cases where government troops have attacked international personnel.

The Security Council has regularly renewed the mandates for these missions and the UN continues to work with Kabila, Kiir and Bashir. Having aspired to instill democracy and good governance in countries like the DRC and South Sudan, the UN has ended up propping up unreliable and even autocratic leaders in the absence of better alternatives. Peacekeepers have to try to defend civilians from precisely the governments and security forces they are meant to partner with.

It might be honest to declare defeat in Darfur or announce that the UN will pull out of DRC or South Sudan if national leaders do not engage in less destructive politics. But the risk of renewed chaos after the peacekeepers hangs heavily over the Security Council: Nobody wants to close a mission and see massacres spread as the last peacekeepers leave. How did the UN get into this mess? Can it ever escape it?


To understand how the UN finds itself in its current predicament, as argued in previous articles, it is necessary to have a sense of both irony and tragedy. The irony is that the UN’s dilemmas arise from earlier efforts at democratization and humanitarian protection by the UN a little more than a decade ago. The tragedy is that in cases such as the DRC and the Sudans, UN officials, having lost whatever political leverage they initially had, are stuck trying to mitigate cycles of violence that they can foresee but not prevent. Some historical context is necessary here.

Twenty years ago, the UN’s reputation nosedived in the wake of Rwanda and Srebrenica. Blue helmet missions dwindled as alternatives such as NATO took the lead in the Balkans and swathes of Africa, including the DRC, toppled into conflict. Yet from 1999 on, the Security Council and then Secretary-General Kofi Annan collaborated to revitalize UN peacekeeping to manage crises and instill peace, above all in battered African countries such as Sierra Leone and Sudan. The UN also took on small trouble spots elsewhere, like Haiti, Kosovo and Timor-Leste. But Africa has been the priority: over 80,000 of the personnel now under UN command are on the continent.

The new generation of UN missions not only managed to bring a series of bloody conflicts under control but also looked like an effective force for democracy promotion. The peacekeepers facilitated technically impressive elections in cases such as Liberia and the DRC. “Helicopters were deployed, bulletins were printed and electrical generators were sent to remote voting centers,” former UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno recalls of the Congolese effort in a new memoir, The Fog of Peace. “For the presidential elections, some 50,000 polling stations were opened.” Yet as Guéhenno underlines, the sheer scale of these processes obscured far deeper political challenges to democratization.

Almost everywhere the UN deployed in the early 2000s, it found it hard to grasp, let alone unpick, complex local political alliances and patronage systems. In some cases, power-brokers were able to delay elections for long periods: The UN sent a mission to Côte d’Ivoire with a mandate to prepare for polls in 2004, but was unable to deliver on this until 2010. Elsewhere, national leaders took advantage of elections to consolidate their power and do down their rivals. Guéhenno noted in his book that Joseph Kabila pushed his rival in the 2006 elections, Jean-Pierre Bemba, out of the DRC by force. “At enormous and unsustainable cost,” he adds, “the international community consolidated the presidency through elections and largely ignored the other institutions of state,” limiting parliamentary and legal restraints on Kabila.

This focus on bolstering a leader rather than more credible institutions points to a deeper challenge for the UN. Officials sometimes opt for a version of the Great Man theory of history, emphasizing the personal qualities and weaknesses of the leaders they have to work with. Alan Doss, a UN veteran who led the UN mission in Liberia in 2005-2007 and that in the DRC from 2007 to 2010, concludes that while peaceful states require strong institutions, “strong institutions also require strong men and women capable of making a qualitative difference to the way those institutions function.”

Doss contrasts the “particularly effective” Liberian president and former World Bank official Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (elected on the watch of UN peacekeepers in 2006) with the “reluctant communicator” Kabila. Recent research affirms that leadership is indeed an important factor in shaping weak states. But peacekeepers and aid agencies have arguably invested too much political capital in individual leaders, raising their sense of entitlement and compromising the UN’s impartiality.

Even the widely admired Johnson Sirleaf, a joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, has been accused of taking unfair advantage of her position. She appointed three of her sons to senior positions, including a senior position in the Central Bank. The tensions inherent in peacekeepers’ relations with national leaders were much more brutally illustrated in Liberia’s neighbor Côte d’Ivoire in 2010-2011. President Laurent Gbagbo did a fine job of neutering the UN mission in his country, reducing it to a bit part in internal political dialogues. When Gbagbo lost the long-delayed Ivorian elections in 2010, and the UN validated the results, he took the offensive, unleashing mobs on both his political foes and ill-prepared peacekeepers.

The UN mission came close to collapse in 2011 but, reinforced with Ukrainian attack helicopters, eventually helped to restore order in tandem with French forces. Gbagbo surrendered and was later transferred to the ICC. For a brief moment, the UN’s actions seemed to confirm its credentials as a robust defender of democracy.

Yet the Ivorian crisis may have been the exception to a rule: In general, UN missions fail to respond decisively to national leaders’ abusive tendencies. Leaders such as South Sudan’s Salva Kiir have found more effective ways to assert their leverage.


The case of Kiir is striking because he once looked like a natural partner for the UN. Having first deployed peacekeepers to facilitate the end of the intra-Sudanese civil war in 2005, the UN oversaw an unexpectedly smooth independence referendum in the south in 2011. Almost 99 per cent of voters supported secession from Khartoum. The Security Council gave UNMISS an explicit mandate “to help establish the condition for the development in the Republic of South Sudan, with a view to strengthening the capacity of the Government of South Sudan to govern effectively and democratically.” This sounded like vote of confidence in Kiir’s leadership. But their relations with the authorities in Juba soured. The UN worried that the government was growing rapacious and unaccountable. The government complained that the peacekeepers were not doing enough to stop Sudan aiding to revolts on its territory.

James Copnall paints a nuanced portrait of Kiir’s position. “The man with ultimate responsibility for South Sudan,” he writes, “probably never imagined himself running a country.” John Garang, the charismatic leader of the South Sudanese independence movement, died in a helicopter crash in 2005. Kiir has had to keep his supporters satisfied. “Generals and politicians have built multi-story houses in South Sudan and abroad,” Copnall complains, “and drive cars the size of ordinary people’s huts. Corruption has become a defining feature of the new country.” Catering to such an avaricious political base, Kiir bridled at criticism from UNMISS.

These tensions peaked in 2013, when violence between Kiir’s supporters and backers of his former deputy, Riek Machar, spiraled out of control. Kiir scape-goated the UN, accusing it of bidding to form a “parallel government” while his supporters have harassed UNMISS convoys and allegedly shot down one of its helicopters (Machar’s forces have also threatened the UN, and there is a proliferation of armed groups that answer to neither leader). The government and its regional allies cut the UN out of peace talks in Ethiopia. The Security Council ordered UNMISS to focus on protecting civilians – including those on its bases – monitoring human rights and facilitating aid. The dream of close coordination between Kiir and the UN had given way to a more minimalistic focus on saving lives.


It is hard to quibble with saving lives in a crisis. But what should the UN do over the longer term when its relations with national governments have gone off the rails? In many cases, international officials choose to temporize, hoping that they can nudge abusive leaders towards better governance over time. The leaders themselves may find this irritating (Joseph Kabila has refused to meet top UN officials for months at a time) but they do have incentives not to cut off relations completely. The presence of a peacekeeping force offers them some extra security and, perhaps most temptingly, may facilitate international aid. As Giulia Piccolino and John Karlsrud point out, the UN finds itself in a state of “mutual dependency” with these abusive leaders. If Bashir, Kabila or Kiir were to turn against the UN completely, peacekeeping would become impossible. But they would also lose “the opportunity to blame the international peace operation for everything that is not working.”

Nonetheless, abusive leaders can extract a high price from the UN for maintaining even the tenuous cooperation. In the DRC, Kabila has pushed the peacekeepers to assist a series of military offensives against militias in the east of the country. The UN has frequently worried that these are likely to cause unjustifiable human and political harm, and international NGOs have highlighted the presence of notorious alleged war criminals in Congolese officer corps. But UN officials have argued that it is necessary to play along to limit the damage of these adventures. “We were left with no choice, either we were in or we were out,” an anonymous official explained to Human Rights Watch after one notably brutal operation in 2009. “We believed that being on the inside would give us a better chance to protect civilians.”

The UN has tried to place some conditions, such as the vetting of senior personnel, on its Congolese military counterparts, creating new frictions. Kabila’s relations with MONUSCO reached a nadir after the UN failed to halt rebels from seizing the city of Goma in late 2012. The following year, the Security Council tried to regain his trust by mandating a special brigade to neutralize militias in the eastern DRC. Kabila also agreed to enter a regional political dialogue aimed at resolving the east’s problems, and the brigade was initially successful. Yet by early 2015, both the military and political processes were losing steam as Kabila prepared for the 2016 elections.

At least Kabila and MONUSCO remain nominally on the same side. In Darfur, the Sudanese government has sometimes treated the joint UN-African mission (UNAMID), launched with Western backing in 2007, as an enemy. The government views the UN with suspicion, believing that it aims to dismember the state. The International Criminal Court’s 2009 decision to indict President Bashir for war crimes in Darfur further poisoned relations. In early 2014, Foreign Policy released leaked UNAMID emails about attacks by the Sudanese military and pro-government irregulars on its personnel. The army even threatened to bomb a UN convoy. Yet the investigation found that, fearing a rupture, “the UN leadership has routinely withheld information linking Khartoum to threats – let alone violence – against UN personnel.”

UN officials insist that their presence does still provide some security for imperiled Darfuris. But this leaves deeper strategic questions open. At what point do efforts to maintain relations with abusive leaders and regime become morally and politically unsustainable? Does such collaboration contribute to protecting civilians over the long term, or does it simply allow abusive rulers to fortify their positions?


UN officials are fully conscious of these dilemmas. They are able to identify how they might have been avoided. If the UN had not rushed to early elections in so many cases, or focused less on national politics and more on local conflict dynamics, it might not be in so many quagmires today. It should not have cultivated certain leaders so naively. The Security Council should never have sent peacekeepers to some places, like Darfur, at all. There are important lessons from these past mistakes for current and future UN deployments. But while the organization has recently been tasked with stabilizing Mali and the Central African Republic, it still has to grapple with its “legacy operations” in the DRC, the Sudans and West Africa.

Having tried to parlay with Bashir, Kabila and Kiir, the Security Council and UN officials are losing patience. While divisions between the West, Russia and China have complicated diplomacy in the Security Council, in March 2015 it established a sanctions regime for South Sudan that could be used to freeze Kiir’s assets. In February the same year, MONUSCO suspended its backing to a Congolese anti-militia operation over the involvement of two generals accused of human rights abuses. The U.S. has also leant on Kabila, with President Obama calling his Congolese counterpart to discuss how his “legacy as a leader who brought the DRC out of war and set it on a path of continued democratic progress would be consolidated by free and fair elections in 2016.” (A date for these polls remains to be set.)

If Kabila ultimately concludes that he cannot run for a third term in office – or hold onto power by a ruse such as delaying the polls – it will send a signal that national leaders cannot ignore international opinion and the UN indefinitely. But there is no guarantee that his successor will be vastly more accommodating towards the UN: the Congolese elite is divided between relatively pro-Western moderates and hardliners who might prove tougher on MONUSCO. If Kabila does go, it will also make Bashir and Kiir even more suspicious that the UN plans to oust them as well.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Kabila and Bashir launched parallel campaigns to downsize the UN forces on their territory in late 2014. The Congolese president proposed cuts to MONUSCO of a quarter (6,000 personnel) or more. Bashir called for plans for a complete end to the “burden” of UNAMID. In both cases, the Security Council responded with smaller cuts, but the UN set up a working group with the African Union and Sudanese authorities to explore exit strategies for UNAMID. It is likely that the UN’s representatives in the DRC, Darfur and South Sudan will face endless negotiations over further reductions to these missions. A series of gradual reductions could render the peacekeepers less operationally and politically robust, leaving them ever more vulnerable to bullying and manipulation.

The Security Council and UN officials should maintain, and be willing to threaten, the nuclear option of withdrawing peacekeeping forces more rapidly in those cases where national leaders grow too confrontational or autocratic. While it may be hard to imagine pulling peacekeepers out of countries where civilians remain at risk, there have to be moral limits to the sort of regimes that peacekeepers are asked to fight and die for. The longer the UN continues to prop up leaders and governments that treat the organization with contempt, the more that contempt will be deserved.

Richard Gowan is a non-resident fellow at the Center on International Cooperation and a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. | Twitter: @RichardGowan1

DRS Meets the FWSAR Training Challenge

© 2016 FrontLine Defence (Vol 13, No 4)

The topography of Canada is perhaps the world’s foremost challenge for search and rescue operations. If the C-27J Spartan is chosen to become the nation’s next fixed-wing search-and-rescue (FWSAR) aircraft, the mission of DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. will be to help make that challenge more manageable.

Participating in a joint venture known as Spartan Aviation Services between corporate parent Leonardo-Finmeccanica and General Dynamics Mission Systems—Canada, DRS Technologies Canada, as the prime contractor and systems integrator for training systems, leads a group of Canadian companies. The group would build a training centre in Comox, British Columbia, and design a training program for it.

DRS has developed an integrated training solution that combines elements from established suppliers across Canada for the training of all FWSAR aircrew members and maintenance personnel. The Comox location on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island is considered ideal because of its proximity to nearby mountain ranges as well as other government and military training centres that will play a key role in the training program.

“Our training solution brings together first-class Canadian experience and suppliers that will provide state-of-the-art training support systems to meet Fixed-Wing SAR needs,” said Steve Zuber, vice president and general manager of DRS Technologies Canada, Ltd. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure excellent training for these crews who provide a vital service for Canadian citizens.”

The DRS solution combines top-tier training elements from established suppliers located across Canada. They include Bluedrop Training and Simulation of Halifax and TRU Simulation + Training of Montreal. Bluedrop would supply sophisticated courseware to meet the design requirements established by DRS and TRU. TRU would design and deliver training devices, including a full flight simulator. ATCO Structures and Logistics of Calgary, another member of the Spartan team, would design, build and maintain the training center.

DRS also would design and build an operational mission simulator, a sensor station simulator, and a mission procedures trainer. A virtual maintenance trainer would be built by Leonardo Aeronautics(formerly Alenia Aermacchi), the manufacturer of the C-27J Spartan. The training devices would be based on a common architecture, which would support the maximum re-use of the software simulated, optimizing the in-service support and minimizing costs due to configuration changes.

Canada is an imposing challenge for search and rescue operations but certainly one within the realm of modern aircraft and well-trained crews. If the C-27J Spartan is chosen to become the nation’s next FWSAR aircraft, the mission of DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. will be to deliver an integrated training system solution to support the SAR mission.

A rugged and maneuverable multi-mission aircraft, the Spartan offers some of the most up-to-date features available in aviation today. It can transport troops and cargo; air-drop paratroopers, equipment and material; and carry out medical evacuation and special missions. Designed for short takeoffs and landings, the Spartan could use a wide range of airfields, including truncated and unprepared Arctic strips that lack support equipment.

The Team Spartan proposal includes a commitment to deliver 100% of contract-value industrial offsets and benefits in the form of long-term jobs and far-reaching investments in Canadian firms and technology.

“This is a vital mission for Canada and we are bringing together the best Canadian companies to ensure mission success,” Zuber said.

If the C-27J is selected, Team Spartan will manage the integrated logistic support for the aircraft through Spartan Aviation Services, a joint venture company led by General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada and Leonardo Aircraft, and headquartered in Ottawa, ON. It will be the Canadian in-service support integrator for the aircraft. In addition to overseeing all of the training system operations, Spartan Aviation Services will have the support of a strong Canadian partner network across the country.

Canada to host Defence Ministers Summit on Peacekeeping

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch

Canada will host a summit of defence ministers to discuss peacekeeping as it continues its strategy to play more of a role in United Nations operations.

But Conservative MPs are criticizing the Liberal government for continuing to keep Canadians in the dark on where and when Canadian troops and police will be headed to on such missions.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, currently in the United Kingdom to attend a UN defence ministers’ conference, said Canada will be taking a leadership role in such missions. Canada, he noted in a conference call with journalists Thursday, will host next year’s ministerial summit.

But Sajjan noted that no decisions have been made yet on the UN operations that Canada will take part in.

“We are at the early stages of getting the information,” he said. “Our military teams are still doing their work.”

Sajjan noted he hopes to have such details ready by the end of the year.

The Peacekeeping Monument, background, is photographed in Ottawa Monday, August 15, 2016, just one of the things you may see on a walk along MacKenzie Ave. from the Chateau Laurier to the Peacekeeping Monument.   (Darren Brown/Postmedia)

But Conservative MP James Bezan, the official opposition’s defence critic, said Sajjan should have used the UN conference to provide details about the peacekeeping strategy. “Before sending any Canadian Armed Forces personnel to war zones, Canadians expect to know when, where and why our troops are being deployed,” Bezan said at a news conference Thursday in Ottawa.

Bezan noted that such missions could “place Canadian troops in some of the most dangerous regions in the world” and that the public is entitled to more details.

The Liberal government recently announced it would free up 600 Canadian military personnel and more than 100 police for possible deployment on United Nations peace operations.

Sajjan wrapped up a fact-finding mission to Africa in mid-August, having visited the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

A military team has also been sent to Mali to collect information and the Canadian government has been considering participating in the UN operation in that country. That mission currently involves around 10,000 soldiers taking part in an effort to stabilize Mali. Various armed groups, including Islamic insurgents, have been conducting sporadic attacks in that country.

The mission in Mali is considered among the most dangerous now being conducted by the UN.

The Canadian Army will also be sending troops to Niger to conduct training for that country’s soldiers.

A small team of Canadian special forces soldiers is currently handling the training of Niger’s military personnel. They will continue that role in the fall, working alongside Canadian Army staff as they set the stage to hand over responsibility for the training to the regular forces.

The UN summit in the United Kingdom over the last several days brought together defence ministers and senior officials from nearly 80 countries to discuss how to improve the UN’s ability to conduct operations and nations contributions to such missions.

At the conference, Sajjan said a strategy for lasting peace has to focus on eliminating the factors that contributed to war in the first place. He pointed specifically to the issue of preventing the recruitment of child soldiers, something the future stability of Africa depends on.

“We know that child soldiers, for instance, represent a near endless supply of fighters for radical groups bent on exploiting them,” he explained at the conference. “In some African nations, the population under 25 years is nearly 60 per cent. Not only are these youth the most vulnerable victims of conflict, they are the very fuel that powers the militias who enslave them.”

He noted that youth in Africa have to be provided with economic opportunity.

Police officers must also be integrated in peace support missions, as will other trained professionals focused on the prevention of sexual violence and human rights abuses, Sajjan added.

Liberals won’t hold parliamentary vote on peacekeeping deployment

By: Steven Chase, The Globe and Mail

The Liberal federal government is refusing to commit to a parliamentary vote on troop deployments for what it promises will be a return to a major peacekeeping role for Canada – one or more missions that could hold significant peril for soldiers in an era in which stabilizing conflict zones has grown more dangerous.

The Canadian Flag flies over the Peacekeeping memorial in Ottawa Tuesday May 29, 2012. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The government shifted message on this matter within a matter of hours on Thursday. Early in the day, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told The Globe and Mail that the Liberals would not put the matter to a vote in the House of Commons.

The government is currently considering options for a major new peacekeeping deployment and Mr. Sajjan said in a taped interview that the government had already received an election mandate from voters to deploy soldiers to United Nations operations.

Asked twice whether there would be parliamentary votes on peacekeeping deployments, he replied: “No. We will be deciding in cabinet and moving forward as quickly as possible on this.”

But later in the day, after questions from journalists on a teleconference, Mr. Sajjan declined to answer whether MPs would be asked to vote on peacekeeping deployment.

Instead, he said the cabinet will determine how things will proceed. “Once we have that discussion, a process will be decided on,” he said.

His office later said the government was not ruling out a parliamentary vote.

In the Globe interview, Mr. Sajjan said Liberals campaigned in 2015 on a revived commitment to UN peacekeeping and Canadians expect this government to proceed as they promised.

“The Prime Minister, even during the [2015] campaign – we’ve been very prominent about the importance of multilateral organizations and our re-engagement on peace operations with the United Nations.”

Mr. Sajjan was in London for a summit of defence ministers from 80 countries on efforts to bolster UN peacekeeping operations.

He announced that Canada will host the next UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in 2017. This summit is a new forum, inaugurated this year in London, to improve UN efforts to resolve conflicts.

The Liberals are fully within their rights to send soldiers abroad without consulting the Commons, but the past decade saw former prime minister Stephen Harper hold votes in some instances – for extensions or deployments of combat missions.

The government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged last month to make up to 600 troops available for UN peacekeeping missions – and to spend $450-million for peace and security projects around the world – but it has yet to decide where Canadian soldiers will be posted.

Canada is expected to commit soldiers to a peacekeeping operation in Africa and options include Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.

Mr. Sajjan said the government plans to put more focus on bringing gender equality between male and female soldiers to peacekeeping operations – including more leadership roles for women – and said the London meeting has offered evidence that the idea has gone “mainstream” because many other countries are discussing this as well. “You have many other nations who weren’t even allowing females into combat roles [that] are talking about the importance of it now,” he said.

The Defence Minister said he is still gathering information before a decision is made on a new peacekeeping deployment and he could not provide a timeline. “Let’s put it this way: It won’t be years,” he said. “It will be moving much faster.”

He said he would like to make an announcement this year, but he will not commit to a schedule for a decision until he knows that a deployment would make a meaningful contribution.

The Liberals have come under fire this year for limiting debate on legislation on medically assisted dying.

NDP foreign affairs critic Hélène Laverdière called on the Liberals to hold a vote on any peacekeeping deployment. “For a government that wants to consult on every issue, I do not understand why they wouldn’t consult Parliament when it comes to combat or peacekeeping missions.”

Conservative defence critic James Bezan said the Liberals are making commitments without sufficiently informing Canadians.

“Any use of the Canadian military must be in our national interest, not to secure a position on the United Nation’s Security Council or to fulfill the Prime Minister’s political aspirations. The Liberals must clearly lay out the details and risks of the mission before deploying Canadian personnel to a war zone.”

Philippe Lagassé, an associate professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, said he is not a fan of parliamentary votes on military missions partly because there are no clear rules on when they are necessary. “In Canada, the practice is effectively to vote when the executive thinks it’s in its political interest to do so. Is that the best approach?”

He said the Commons could make “take note” debates on deployments mandatory.

Canadian soldiers’ participation in peacekeeping has dwindled over time to about 100 today – a significant decline from historical levels. Current deployments include about 30 in support of UN peacekeeping missions and 70 posted to a non-UN multinational peacekeeping operation in the Sinai Peninsula. The Liberals accused the former Conservative government of turning its back on peacekeeping.

Asked why Canada is pledging only 600 troops for peacekeeping when in the past this country has fielded many more soldiers for such operations, Mr. Sajjan said Canada would have the capacity to deploy more if necessary.

“We have the flexibility for more, but it’s better to be pragmatic about decisions like this,” he said.

He said Canada must also retain the capacity to deal with threats such as Islamic State militants. About 830 Canadian Armed Forces members are being deployed to improve the security of Iraq and surrounding areas.

Canada is also sending a battle group to Latvia as part of a move by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to counter Russian aggression in that region.

At one point in 1993, about 3,300 Canadian troops were deployed in UN peacekeeping operations, but some experts say that was an unusually high commitment.

Stephen Saideman, a professor of international affairs at Carleton University, said the Liberals should consider a peacekeeping commitment in Colombia that could follow a ceasefire signed between Bogota and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to end a half-century-old guerrilla war. Prof. Saideman said this deployment could end up proving “less violent and less costly” than an African mission.

Sajjan says submarines critical for defence, but no decision on upgrades

By: Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the navy's submarines are "critical" for Canada's defence, but that the government has not decided whether to spend more money to keep them for the long term.

"Our submarines do play a critical role for sovereignty, but no decision has been made at this time," Sajjan said from London, where he was attending a peacekeeping conference. "As we complete the defence policy review, we'll have recommendations in there on the route we will be proceeding."

Documents obtained by the Canadian Press show that the first submarine will reach the end of its service life in 2022, with the other three retiring one by one until 2027.

The navy estimates that extending their usefulness would cost between $1.5 billion and $3 billion, depending on the upgrades that are made and how long they are to remain in service.

The Liberal government is currently developing a new defence policy, which will spell out what jobs the military will be expected to perform. That will have direct bearing on the types of equipment purchased in the coming years.

But any investment is likely to stoke controversy as the submarines have been plagued by technical problems since they were bought used from the United Kingdom in 1998 for what the Chretien government described as a bargain $750 million.

While naval officials say they have managed to fix many of the problems and have started using the ships in earnest, two were docked early this year over concerns about shoddy welding. Another had to be repaired after breaking down en route to a training exercise in Norway in June.

At the same time, the government is preparing to shell out billions for new fighter jets while the army has been clamouring for cash for new light and heavy trucks. Half of its current truck fleet has been parked because of age and maintenance costs.

The navy is also waiting to see how much money it will get for new surface warships, which are slated for construction at the same time the submarine life extension would take place. The budget was previously set at $26 billion for up to 15 vessels, but recent estimates have put the cost much higher.

Meanwhile, Sajjan said the government is looking at information submitted by various fighter jet companies at the end of July, but would not say when a decision will be made on replacing the aging CF-18s.

"Our staff is actually crunching through a lot of that data just now," he said. "I want to make sure to give them the opportunity to synthesize that information.

"I want to make sure we have all the right information so that we can pick the right process. This decision will be coming in months, and not longer than that."

- Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tories call on Liberals to release Peacekeeping Details

Karolyn Coorsh,

The official Opposition is criticizing the Liberal government for not providing a “clear understanding” of the role Canadian troops will play in any peacekeeping missions.

During an address at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Thursday in London, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan reiterated Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping, telling attendees that Canada will be a “responsible partner in the world.” Sajjan said that Canada will contribute 600 troops and 150 police officers, but he didn’t say when or where that could happen.

Speaking to reporters outside the conference, Sajjan said that the government is doing its due diligence and that Canadians will be the first to know when a decision is made on which mission the peacekeepers will join.

“If you look at the previous announcements we’ve made as a government, whether it’s been in Iraq or in NATO, it’s about understanding conflict first,” Sajjan said, later adding: “We want to make a meaningful contribution that when we provide something, it’s actually going to have an added impact.”

In late August, the Liberals announced they would be contributing personnel and equipment to peacekeeping operations. In addition, the government pledged $450 million over three years for peace and security projects around the world.

Manitoba MP James Bezan, official Opposition critic for National Defence said the UN conference presented Sajjan with the “perfect opportunity” to answer questions that the Conservatives and “many Canadians” have been asking regarding their peacekeeping plan.

“Before sending any Canadian Armed Forces personnel to war zones, Canadians expect to know when, where and why our troops are being deployed,” Bezan said at a news conference in Ottawa.

The government should also provide the public with mission details such as location, length of time for deployment, and rules of engagement, Bezan said, adding deployment could “place Canadian troops in some of the most dangerous regions in the world, without responding to any pressing needs in Canada’s national interests.”

‘Extremely complex’

During the UN conference, Sajjan called “peace support operations” one of Canada’s “most important” endeavours.

“I also want to stress the fact that this will be a whole government effort, not just strictly a military one,” Sajjan said, adding he will be working closely with ministerial colleagues Dion, as well as International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

He said the conflicts he is seeing in regions of Africa are “extremely complex.”

“It is not the conflicts of before,” Sajjan said. “We have radical organizations also in the intermix, in the political strife that’s going on in particular regions.”

Sajjan said the government must be “far more innovative in our approach.

“We need to look at the lessons that our African Union partners have already learned,” he said. “We need to look at our own lessons that we have learned from the different conflicts.”

Sajjan, a seasoned veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, said he “may be new” to politics, but “I’m not a novice to conflict and we need to elevate that conversation.”

CAF Takes Part in OP RENDER SAFE 2016

A member of a Canadian Armed Forces Explosive Ordnance Disposal team inspects a simulated Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Victoria International Airport on June 1, 2015 during Exercise ARDENT DEFENDER.

Photo: LS Zachariah Stopa, MARPAC Imaging Services
Un membre de l’équipe de neutralisation d’explosifs et de munitions des Forces armées canadiennes effectue l’inspection d’un engin explosif improvisé (EEI) simulé à l’aéroport international de Victoria, le 1er juin 2015, dans le cadre de l’exercice ARDENT DEFENDER.

Photo : Mat 1 Zachariah Stopa, Services d’imagerie des Forces maritimes du Pacifique 
A member of a Canadian Armed Forces Explosive Ordnance Disposal team is shown conducting training in this 2015 file photo. Photo courtesy DND
Canadian Forces personnel are taking part in Australia’s Operation RENDER SAFE 2016 to dispose of explosive remnants of the Second World War in Guadalcanal and the Russell Islands. The operation began today and involves 18 Canadian military personnel.

The Canadians will work under the leadership of the Australian Defence Force and alongside some 180 personnel from New Zealand, Solomon Islands, and the United Kingdom until October 7.

Op RENDER SAFE 2016 is Australia’s enduring biennial operation to dispose of unexploded ordnance in support to the nations of the South West Pacific, according to the Canadian Forces.

This year the operation is taking place from September 7 to October 7, 2016, on Guadalcanal Island and in the Russel Islands.

Approximately 200 personnel from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, and the United Kingdom are participating.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is deploying approximately 18 personnel:
  • A task force commander;
  • A deputy commander;
  • A technical advisor;
  • A supply technician;
  • A team of combat engineers from the Canadian Army;
  • A team of clearance divers from the Royal Canadian Navy;
  • Two aviation technicians from the Royal Canadian Air Force; and
  • Two health services specialists.
The clearance diving team is operating near the Russell Islands with an underwater explosive ordnance disposal team. The combat engineers and aviation technicians are part of a land explosive ordnance disposal team on Guadalcanal Island.

Irving facing significant challenges in building Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch with The Canadian Press

Assembly of Canada’s first Arctic offshore patrol ship on time and within budget is proving to be a “significant challenge” for the Irving Shipyard, though its top executive says a promised deadline will be met, the Canadian Press writes.

Here is the rest of the Canadian Press article:

Kevin McCoy said Wednesday his firm still plans to deliver the first of the ships designed to steam off Canada’s northern coasts in 2018, as originally announced.


However, he told reporters at a defence industry conference in Halifax that his firm’s efforts to create North America’s most modern shipyard from the ground up hasn’t been easy.

“Now I’ll tell you, starting a shipyard up from scratch … all new software, new training, over 700 new procedures in place, establishing a supply chain for shipbuilding in Canada, all of that is a significant challenge,” he said.

He also said he realizes that the new Liberal government is observing his company’s progress on the offshore patrol ships as precursor to the yet-to-be finalized contracts for the replacements for Canada’s aging warships.

That project could sustain the yard for the next two decades.

“Clearly it’s a confidence builder for the Canadian government. The Arctic ships are a great warmup to the Canadian surface combatant,” said McCoy, standing before a model of the ships conceived of by the Harper government.

Observers of the procurement process say the Liberal government has been looking for ways to curb costs on the Arctic patrol vessel program.

Michael Byers, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, says Ottawa will likely have to scale back on promises to create six to eight of the Arctic patrol vessels and 15 warships to replace much of Canada’s bluewater fleet.

The original 2011 shipbuilding strategy announced by the Harper government was an umbrella agreement that designated the Irving shipyard in Halifax and the Seaspan shipyard in British Columbia as the two locations.

However, the specific deals on how many ships will be completed is the subject of contracts being worked out between the yards and the Trudeau government.

Byers, who closely follows defence procurement, says the resurrection of the Davie shipyard in Levis, Que., has given National Defence a possible alternative where some of the shipbuilding work could be shared out – putting some pressure on the prime contractors to fulfil timelines and stay on budget.

Original projections put the cost of building 15 new vessels at $26 billion, but internal documents and reports published last fall suggest the bill could run as high as $40 billion, with the federal public works minister recently declining to provide updated figures.

Byers says the Arctic patrol ships are challenging because the Harper government chose to create a new type of vessel that no other country had built, which can lead to design challenges and delays.

“There will be real pressures to compromise on capabilities to keep costs down. The federal cabinet will be scrutinizing all of this closely,” he said.

Still, McCoy announced during his speech that the shipyard currently has 50 of the 64 modular pieces of the first Arctic patrol vessel, HMCS Harry Dewolf, in its facility, and it cut steel last month for the second vessel, HMCS Margaret Brooke.

The company has been trying to build public awareness of shipbuilding’s importance to the Canadian economy, billing itself as being the key to a sustainable national shipbuilding industry that will avoid previous boom and bust cycles.

The company handed out a glossy brochure Wednesday that highlights that the company has hired over 1,300 employees, and said the magazine will be distributed to every household in Halifax to increase awareness of progress at the yard.

Harper announced his plans for Arctic vessels during the 2006 federal election campaign, saying the Tories would build three armed icebreakers.

This promise was later transformed to six to eight Arctic offshore patrol vessels and a refueling berth in the Arctic.

(the above was written by the Canadian Press)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Peacekeeping in Africa: sober reflections

By: James Cox, CDA Institute 

Contrary to current media and public punditry, do not expect a major Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) deployment into Africa anytime soon. Some troops may go, as well as a few police and diplomats, but not enough to have any real effect.

Media jumped on the recent government announcement about re-engaging in United Nations peace support operations and focussed on the related announcement that up to 600 military troops and 150 police personnel could be made available for deployment. Defence commentators were only too happy to raise the volume on the subject.

Let’s step back a bit. Some sober reflection is required.

First, its important to remember that one of the government’s central policy planks during the last election, confirmed in the 2015 Speech from the Throne, was its intention to re-engage in United Nations (UN) peace support operations. Now, one of its priority aims is to gain a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council. In March, 2016, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion addressed the United Nations Security Council and said:

"After almost 20 years, it is time for Canada to be at the Security Council to address global peace and security challenges. […] We seek a seat at the Security Council precisely because the world finds itself at a time when there is a pressing need to prevent violent extremism, to manage conflict and to respond to humanitarian crises. We know Canada can make a difference."

So, the recent government announcement should have come as no surprise, but it was both less deep and less aggressive than reported.

What government really announced was simply an apparent recommitment to support UN peace operations, to be managed – under the auspices of a new Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOP), with a budget of $450 million over three years – by Global Affairs Canada.

PSOP is Canada’s “comprehensive, coordinated approach to support Canadian interests and UN peace efforts.” The announced details reflect whole-of-government terminology, calling upon diplomatic, development, law-enforcement and other assets, including military. A backgrounder identifies three core PSOP responsibilities:
Leadership on stabilization;
Support coordinated responses by the Government of Canada to conflicts and crises abroad; and
Design and deliver catalytic stabilization initiatives.

PSOP is simply a newer (Liberal) version of the former Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START), however, the PSOP promotional text tends to shun militaristic hyperbole, stating its intent to “go beyond military roles and work closely with local authorities and a range of international and regional partners.”

The program aims to concentrate on early warning, conflict prevention, dialogue, mediation and peacebuilding, and the empowerment of women in decision making for peace and security. As stated in a government backgrounder, this whole-of-government effort combines diplomacy, deployment, training and capacity-building efforts, and includes conflict prevention, mediation, peace operations and peacebuilding efforts, all of which constitutes a comprehensive approach drawing on civilian, police and military resources, with protection of civilians as a core concern.

We need not be concerned about another large military deployment because, as PSOP notes, “The Canadian Armed Forces are prepared to contribute personnel across a range of available capabilities, which could [author’s emphasis] include ground troops, leadership for command and headquarters positions, air transport, engineering and medical expertise, military and police training, and capacity building, in order to make a meaningful contribution to peace operations.” This is hardly a call to arms. There is no hint of frontline action here.

Besides, much of Canada’s meagre combat power is committed elsewhere, most field units are disturbingly under-strength and many of the named capabilities do not exist in the Reserve Force. The cupboards, if not bare, are certainly lightly occupied.

Despite this, Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan said, “Canada is committed to re-engaging in a full spectrum of multilateral peace operations. This is why we are making a significant pledge of military personnel and related capabilities for possible deployment to UN peace operations. Minister Sajjan went on to identify his ‘significant’ pledge of 600 troops without any further detail.

Many commentators quickly assumed that all or most of the 600 troops will be deployed on one complex and dangerous peace support mission in Africa, probably in Mali, maybe in South Sudan (both exceedingly difficult to support logistically). However, government pronouncements are far more non-committal than that. Government press notices say that the “exact size and composition of any future CAF deployment to a UN mission will be based on discussions with the UN and Canada’s partner nations, as well as an assessment of where Canada can best make a meaningful impact.”

Where will we go? What will we do? Defence Minister Sajjan has told us that his recent information-gathering visit to Africa provided a variety of authoritative opinions on where Canadian capabilities might best be deployed to have impact. But here’s the rub. If Canada proceeds to simply plug holes where no one else wants to go, it is hard to see exactly what worthwhile impact might be had. Moreover, this government tends to prefer training and support contributions which, while helpful and perhaps gratifying, are never decisive.

Government aversion to anything remotely resembling a combat mission is a guarantee that no large Canadian military contingent will deploy within sound of the guns. In this way, any future Canadian mission will probably reflect, once again, Liberal government (present and past) habits of sprinkling Canadian missions across the globe, simply to show the Canadian flag and create the impression that Canada “is back.” Where a previous government refused to “go along to get along,” the motto of the current government could well be, “how do you like me now?” “Sunny ways” are simply stage lighting for a bit player.

Don’t get me wrong. Whether deployed singly or in small groups, Canadian military, law enforcement, diplomatic, development, or any other personnel will perform admirably, but let’s face it, even if all $450 million were spent on one mission, and all 600 military personnel and 150 troops were deployed on the same mission, it’s not big enough to have a decisive impact on any UN peace support operation. So one must wonder why government makes such a big thing out of not much at all. It’s not such a big deal.

It seems that narcissistic political leadership and partisan hubris, mixed with a reluctance to directly engage nasty adversaries will steer future Canadian contributions away from any really meaningful role. In these circumstances, one must wonder whether it is worthwhile to put Canadian lives in danger abroad, simply for appearances.

Dr. James Cox is a Research Fellow with the Conference of Defence Associations Institute. He is a former Canadian Armed Forces Brigadier-General with extensive UN and NATO operational experience. He now teaches civil-military relations in the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, at Carleton University.

Canadian Surveillance Aircraft feeding ISIL bombing campaign with info

By: Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Despite the withdrawal of Canada's fighter jets from Iraq and Syria last spring, a senior officer says Canadian military aircraft are providing vital intelligence to allies for air strikes and other operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The Liberal government announced in February that it was ending Canadian combat operations in Iraq by withdrawing six CF-18s that had been part of the U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIL since October 2014.

But the Liberals left behind a Polaris air-to-air refueller and two Aurora surveillance aircraft. Those aircraft have continued to support the bombing campaign against ISIL, also known as Daesh, even as public attention has turned to the role of Canadian special forces operatives in northern Iraq.

National Defence says the Polaris has flown 544 missions and delivered more than 14,200 tonnes of fuel to allied aircraft over the last two years. The Auroras, meanwhile, have flown 575 reconnaissance missions over ISIL territory.

Brig.-Gen. Shane Brennan, commander of Canada's Joint Task Force-Iraq, says at the same time the number of Canadian intelligence officers assigned to the anti-ISIL effort has grown to 50. Their mission is to analyze the pictures taken by the Auroras so the coalition can plan air strikes and ground operations.

"What we do is gather the trends and the activities of what is happening with Daesh," Brennan said from the task force's headquarters in Kuwait. "That is used to support what you would call targeting, whether that's munitions-based or lethal targeting, or other types of targeting."

Brennan described the work of the Auroras and intelligence officers as a "critical contribution" to the fight against ISIL.

"In military operations, the planning and intelligence preparation is usually a key to success," he said. "In this way, we're actually feeding into the larger coalition process and making a significant difference."

U.S. and other coalition officials have credited the bombing campaign with helping to push ISIL back after it initially overran large swaths of Iraq and Syria in 2014. But there have also been concerns about civilian casualties, particularly following a series of U.S. strikes around the Syrian city of Manbij in July.

Brennan said the Auroras were not involved identifying targets in Manbij and have instead been flying over northern Iraq in support of the coming battle for the city of Mosul.

Preparations to liberate Mosul from ISIL have become the main focus for allied and Iraqi forces over the last few months, given that the city is the last major urban centre still controlled by the militant group in Iraq.

The approximately 2,000 Kurds trained by Canada over the last two years aren't expected to actually enter Mosul when the battle begins, but will instead secure territory to the north and east while the Iraqi military clears the city. At the same time, Brennan said Canada will be contributing in other ways.

An additional helicopter is being deployed into the area — bringing the total to four — to help transport troops and equipment. In addition, a field hospital is set to be deployed from Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.

But Brennan also acknowledged the many political challenges facing Iraq besides ISIL. Those include questions about the country's long-term stability, particularly given Kurdish desires for independence, and the surprise sacking of Iraq's minister of defence on corruption charges last month.

"It is a difficult time for the government of Iraq," he said. "Obviously there's all kinds of challenges that occur within a diverse country like that as well."

The good news, Brennan said, is that there are discussions between central Iraqi officials and the semi-autonomous Kurdish government in the north of the country. In addition, he said, the interim defence minister previously served with the Iraqi security forces.

"So we're very confident that we're not going to see this as a setback in the ongoing planning for Mosul. So there's good stability from that particular front," he said. "But all these things are of concern, that is true."

- Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

HMCS Preserver to be paid off in ceremony Oct. 21

By: David Pugliese,

HMCS Preserver is currently being used for a “Harbour Replenishment Role.” But in May, the RCN confirmed to Defence Watch it intended to pay off the ship in the coming months. “The RCN’s intent is to pay off HMCS Preserver later in 2016, with an exact date yet to be determined,” Royal Canadian Navy spokesman Lt(N) Kelly Boyden said at the time. “Until such time, Preserver will continue its role of supporting the Atlantic Fleet by conducting alongside replenishment.”

Now Halifax Shipping News has more details. It says the ceremony will be held on Friday, October 21, 2016. The date for the paying off ceremony was revealed in the Halifax city council agenda as a request for a flypast, it reported.

The Royal Canadian Navy has also confirmed with Defence Watch on the Oct. 21 date. The event will happen at 1 p.m. As for the flypast, the RCN says those details are still being worked out. Defence Watch will update once more info becomes available.

Cyclone helicopters to reach full operating capability in 2025

By: Murray Brester, CBC News 

Long, tortured story of getting replacement for Sea Kings a 'case study' in how not to do it
A CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter is seen during a training exercise at 12 Wing Shearwater near Dartmouth, N.S., on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. The air force says it will now be 2025 before the Cyclone fleet reaches full operating capability.
A CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter is seen during a training exercise at 12 Wing Shearwater near Dartmouth, N.S., on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. The air force says it will now be 2025 before the Cyclone fleet reaches full operating capability. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)
The country's air force is now projecting it will be 2025 before its long-suffering CH-148 Cyclone helicopter fleet is fully up to speed with all of the aircraft, pilots and ground crew needed for deployments — both at home and overseas.

The date for what's known in the military as Full Operational Capability (FOC) will be almost 21 years after Paul Martin's Liberal government signed a contract with U.S. defence giant Sikorsky Aircraft to deliver 28 state-of-the-art maritime helicopters.

Cyclones delays could lead to chopper shortage as Sea Kings retire
CH-148 Cyclones delivered to Halifax airbase

It will also be seven years after the last of the vintage CH-124 Sea King choppers is scheduled to retire after flying for over five decades.
'It is really a case study in how not to acquire something' - Retired colonel George Petrolekas, Conference of Defence Associations Institute

The timelines were released to CBC News as part of research into the country's defence policy review.

Delays in the Cyclone program, which former defence minister Peter MacKay once described as the "worst" procurement in the country's history, may seem routine.

But some defence experts are concerned what the absence of a fully capable maritime helicopter will mean for the military, in light of increasing Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic and recent plans by a number of Asia-Pacific countries to build bigger underwater fleets.
Canada lagging in maritime defence

"Canada needs an enhanced ability to detect submarines and counter them if necessary," said Dave Perry, an analyst with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

"Currently, we're lagging in this area, and getting a fully capable maritime helicopter is crucial, along with maritime patrol assets and capable subs. If the FOC date is now 2025, the project has fallen behind, again, at a time when their [anti-submarine warfare] capabilities are needed more than ever."
Canadian soldiers board a Sea King helicopter as they participate in advanced amphibious training from the Shearwater Jetty in Halifax on Tuesday, July 30, 2013. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)
The last report on major Crown projects, tabled in the spring, said the Cyclone project would be completed and closed out in 2022.

"It is really a case study in how not to acquire something," said George Petrolekas, a retired colonel and senior military adviser. "It's a long saga that has to do with choices made by various governments across the political spectrum."

It is also a cautionary tale for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan as he resets the country's defence policy.
Navy woes blunt impact of delays

The military would be in a lot more trouble with the slow roll-out of the Cyclones if the navy wasn't in such dire straights, he added.

"We're fortunate, in a way, because we have lost four-to-five ships, but we actually ordered a full compliment of helicopters for a navy that no longer exists," said Petrolekas, of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute.

Over the last few years, the navy has retired both of its supply ships, two destroyers and is about to decommission a third warship. A fourth Tribal class destroyer was mothballed in the early 2000s because of budget cuts.

Petrolekas says if the navy "carefully husbands its resources" there should be enough helicopters to meet its requirements.

Another defence expert, John Orr, a retired Sea King pilot and a fellow at Dalhousie University's foreign policy centre, suggested the public should look at the situation in context.

"To my knowledge, there was never a halcyon time when major projects marched smartly through all their major milestones in an orderly fashion," said Orr, a former colonel and author of a history on the Sea Kings, in an email.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces a new $155-million facility at Canadian Forces Base 443 Squadron in Sidney, B.C., in 2011. The new facility is to be home to some of the 28 Cyclone helicopters. (Ben Nelms/Reuters)
He noted in an article in Canadian Naval Review how there were technical problems integrating the Sea Kings into service during the 1960s and that program had "the luxury of sufficient numbers of knowledgeable personnel" and operated "within a coherent procurement system."

Long-running corporate battles

The former Conservative government engaged in a long-running battle with Sikorsky, after the company missed the first deadline for delivery in 2008. A series of contract extensions and further missed deadlines resulted in the government taking a hard look, in the fall of 2013, into whether the troubled program should be ditched.

The Tories elected to stick with it and even doubled-down, announcing a fixed date of June 2015 to begin retiring the Sea Kings, which were still in service because of a decision by Jean Chrétien's Liberal government in 1993 to cancel the first replacement program.

Under the renegotiated terms with Sikorsky, announced by Public Works in January 2014, the air force was promised Cyclones that would be "fully operational" by 2018.

Instead, National Defence now says it will have 12 helicopters outfitted with basic capabilities available that year.
'There was never a halcyon time when major projects marched smartly through all their major milestones in an orderly fashion'- John Orr, retired Sea King pilot

The company will begin delivery in 2018 of the remaining 16 aircraft, which are expected to have fully operational combat software. Helicopters will continue arriving until 2021, but it will take an additional four years before the fleet is fully capable of delivering what the government ordered.

"Although delivery of all 28 aircraft in their final configuration is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, full operational capability, which includes the [air force] having the full complement of Cyclone personnel available and trained to enable the maximum helicopter-detachment deployment capability on [navy] ships, is expected to occur in 2025," said a statement by National Defence.

In a separate written response last week, defence spokesman Evan Koronewski said the Cyclones are expected to be available for deployment aboard navy frigates in 2018. Three of the warships have already been modified to receive them.

Will a Sizeable Canadian military deployment to Mali make matters worse?

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch

Defence Watch received some views about the potential upcoming Canadian Forces mission to Mali from of an individual involved in the NGO community who has recently returned from that country. They have asked that their name not be published. Here is what that person has written to Defence Watch:

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is clearly seen as a party to the conflict by the many islamist groups, and by local powerholders profiting from the black market routes running through Northern Mali, but also increasingly to the north and south borders from Bamako.

MINUSMA was the expected passive UN force locked in by the financial and political interests of participating African contingents.

MINUSMA in Northern Mali has weak counter-IED capability, weak medical, weak engineering assets, and weak tactical ISR. They have had a weaker track record of protecting civilians who displaced themselves near UN bases. Canadians in MINUSMA would likely take casualties from IEDs or ambushes from local forces, so no happy story about blue helmets helping a transition to a peace that no local powerholder really supports. There’s no economy in Mali except the international assistance money they are getting to support this fight, and black market routes connecting Libya to Senegal to Ivory Coast for guns and drugs.

Given the context in Mali it is difficult to guess why the government can win a media victory with the Canadian public over sending more than a few advisers to MINUSMA, or a support company or two such as a role 3 hospital or engineers.

With MINUSMA’s track record something will happen soon that will cast a bad light on the mission (such as the performance of African contingents in making security worse for IDPs in South Sudan), which will expose the folly of placing CF combat assets under UN command run by African interests with little to no interest in tactical security of civilians.

International NGOs in Mali barely operate in the North, and the few that do, like the ICRC, distance themselves sternly from MINUSMA. So no easy media victory for the government in claiming that the Canadian mission will enable the delivery of aid. Whatever Canadians decide to do, it will always be overshadowed by the backroom efforts that the French are throwing around in aid, governance and foreign military support to the government.

The French seem to have an attitude to contain MINUSMA so as not to interfere with their strategic objectives and the influence networks in their former colony. The authorities in Bamako and the different clan-based politics are caught in a political struggle over the change of president sometime next year. So no happy story about governance and democracy promotion for Canadian aid either.

That struggle alone may generate more violence than the jihadist threat, leaving the CF with a weak operational situation as the UN mission gets evacuated and the narrative of the mission slips away from a story of a mission focused on north-south reconciliation and protecting governance from an islamist threat.

Where it would make some strategic sense for the CF to commit to Mali is if the mission is really in support of the US-French/Eurocorps (there are German and Belgian military deployed with the French not under UN command) counter-terrorism mission for West Africa.

AFRICOM may be asking Canada to shore up MINUSMA for better alignment to anti-extremists intelligence and influence activities. Working in continuation of US counter-terrorism objectives would make the most sense for the CF in Mali and with other Canadian commitments in Western Africa, but it would make a deployment under MINUSMA a travesty of the official aims of the UN mission and what will likely be couched in terms of absolute virtues by the government to sell the deployment to Canadians. Frankly the context in Mali is awful if the government hopes to score an easy PR win with the peacekeeping romantics in Canada. That security council seat may be a more substantial justification, but may come at a heavy price when something goes south in Mali to make the Canadian mission look bad.

Opportunities for a CF contingent to enable the delivery of humanitarian assistance may be limited. There are few international aid agencies active in Northern Mali where Minusma is deployed, and NGOs and agencies such the International Committee of the Red Cross who are very active through the Mali Red Cross rely on their own contacts with local communities and all armed groups.

MINUSMA is a party to the conflict in Mali, and aid agencies hoping to maintain their neutrality to access beneficiaries and ensure the safety of their staff often stay away from Minusma and UN coordination mechanisms in their field operations.

My personal comment is that a sizeable CF deployment outside of few staff officers or a field hospital may very well decrease the security and access to beneficiaries for Canadian-funded aid activities in the South of Mali. The statement by Minister Bibeau in support of the mission makes it a bit odd, since there will be no direct contribution at best to Canadian aid project outcomes by deploying the CF in Mali, and at worst Canadian funded aid projects can become the soft targets of the increased Canadian security involvement in country.

The good news is that a CF deployment would likely come with additional money for Canadian agencies present in Mali, notably the Canadian Red Cross who have started a sizeable maternal and child health program in support of the Mali Red Cross and ministry of health North and South of Bamako.

Three RCN Vesselsoutfitted to take Cyclone helicopters; 9 helicopters now with RCAF

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch

The RCAF now has nine CH-148 Cyclone helicopters in various stages of capabilities/configurations. Another six will be delivered by July of 2017.

But as being reported full operational capability – which the Canadian Forces says is having the full complement of Cyclone personnel available and trained to enable the maximum helicopter-detachment deployment capability on RCN ships – won’t take place until 2025.

At this point, HMCS Montreal, Halifax, and Calgary are currently outfitted to receive the CH-148 Cyclone, Department of National Defence spokeswoman Ashley Lemire told Defence Watch. “The hangar configuration and physical integration on all 12 Halifax-class frigates, which is included as part of the overall MHP project cost and scope, are being done concurrently with the RCN’s Halifax-class Modernization Project and almost all of the flight deck structural work is now complete, with the exception of HMCS Montreal, which was the prototype ship modification designed and implemented under the contract with Sikorsky,” Lemire noted in an email. “The remaining ships will be converted at a rate that closely matches and supports the production of deployable RCAF helicopter detachments.”

Monday, September 5, 2016

CFAV Quest to be Decomissioned

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

The Canadian navy’s last research vessel will be decommissioned, leaving the country’s defence scientists without their own ship to conduct research in the Arctic and other locations, according to documents leaked to Postmedia.

The Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessel Quest, an oceanographic research ship used by the navy and Defence Research and Development Canada, was sidelined in 2014 as a result of cost-cutting measures by the Conservative government.

But on Friday afternoon an internal Department of National Defence email announced that the ship was being decommissioned.

In the email Canadian Forces Base Halifax commander Capt. Chris Sutherland confirmed he had received a letter from the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Norman, about the fate of the ship.

“I am now able to share with you the decision from the VCDS that CFAV Quest will be divested,” Sutherland wrote.

A disposal plan for the ship will be developed but Sutherland’s message did not contain details on the timing of that process.

The ship has a 55-member civilian crew, which includes defence scientists.

John MacLennan, national president for the Union of National Defence Employees, said his organization has been trying for two years to get an answer from the Canadian military and the DND about the future of the ship.

“They’ve refused to tell us anything and then on a Friday afternoon, just before a long weekend, they spring this on their employees,” said MacLennan. “It’s par for the course on the way that DND treats its workers.”

The ship has conducted valuable research in the Arctic and in testing sonar and other specialized equipment, as well as contributing to NATO testing, said MacLennan, whose union represents some of the crew.

The ship was commissioned in 1969 but underwent an upgrade in 1999.

In a 2012 article in the Canadian Naval Review, Mark Tunnicliffe, a retired navy officer, noted the vessel has a mandate of not only contributing to acoustic systems development but an “entire range of technologies and concepts needed to support the requirement specifications for the next generation of Canadian warships.”

During a 2012 Arctic mission, for instance, the vessel supported testing for unmanned air, surface

and subsurface vehicles and an experimental Arctic surveillance system, Tunnicliffe wrote.

Sutherland said in his email message that he wants to meet next week with union representatives as well as hold a town hall with the crew of CFAV Quest. “We are committed to working with them and supporting them through this transition,” he wrote Friday. “My biggest concern is for the crew’s welfare, and I believe we need to work together to monitor the health of the workforce and ensure individuals receive the support that they need.”

MacLennan said Vice Admiral Norman was at meetings when he asked about the fate of the ship and how the military planned to do the research job in the future. At one point he was told by Norman’s staff that the Canadian researchers could install their equipment on board U.S. vessels.

“The navy procrastinated and then they mismanaged the situation,” said MacLennan. “I don’t think they have a plan B on how to fill this capability gap.”

MacLennan said for the last two years the crew has been taking care of the ship, painting it and doing other minor jobs.

The Problems with Peacekeeping

By: Richard Warnica, National Post 

Jacob Kathman takes a Moneyball approach to political science. He studies huge data sets on things like civilian deaths in civil war and international military intervention. As a political scientist at the State University of New York in Buffalo, Kathman has spent most of the past decade using that big data to puzzle out issues tied to global peace and security. But he keeps coming back to one question: Does peacekeeping work?

It turns out to be remarkably hard to figure out. That’s partially because researchers can’t seem to agree on what “work” should mean. Does success in UN peacekeeping mean ending war? Sustaining peace? Reducing attacks on civilians? Is it about fostering stable government, fighting terrorists or protecting human rights? Maybe it means just not making things worse?

Like a lot of big data analysts, Kathman speaks about his own work with boundless enthusiasm but also endless caveats. He hedges and qualifies, and always makes the listener aware of the limits of what he can know. Still, in his own cautious way, he’s pretty sure he has an answer. “The general consensus,” he said in a recent interview, “is, for the most part, peacekeeping seems to improve the situation on the ground, generally speaking.”

In other words, yes, peacekeeping does work. At least according to the kind of analysis Kathman and his colleagues perform. What they’ve done over several studies is look at UN troop and police deployments, month by month, all over the world for many decades. What they’ve found is that, despite some high-profile failures, peacekeeping does tend to improve things on the ground. “In terms of reducing violence, maintaining stability, improving progress towards democracy and economic stability, peacekeeping appears to be a pretty positive way forward for many war-torn countries,” Kathman said.

Last week, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced that Canada will soon commit up to 600 troops and about 100 police officers to a United Nations peacekeeping missionin an undisclosed location in Africa. That would mark the most significant Canadian contribution to a single UN mission in a generation. The deployment would fulfill a major Liberal promise from last year’s election. It would also pivot the country in a rhetorical way toward a more big-L Liberal vision of what Canada should be in the world.

But Canada’s renewed interest comes at a difficult time for peacekeeping. The peacekeeping office, the largest in the UN, is in crisis. It is overstretched, undermanned and beset by serial scandals about sexual abuse, disease and self-serving bureaucracy. The system is in such trouble it could be at risk of a massive failure — a Srebrenica-like moment that could doom peacekeeping for decades, believes Richard Gowan, a peacekeeping expert in New York.

At the same time, research from Kathman and others suggests that, for all its many problems, peacekeeping can pay off. “The UN gets a pretty bad rap,” Kathman said. “But … it’s pretty surprisingly effective.”

And therein lies the problem for Canada. Peacekeeping can be abusive, bureaucratic, buck-passing, cholera-spreading and rape-ignoring. It also works. Can Canada re-engage and still keeps its soul?


Peacekeeping in the public imagination tends to ping pong back and forth between poles of horror and heroism. The idea was dreamed up during the Suez crisis in 1956 by, among others, Lester Pearson, the Canadian foreign minister at the time. During the Cold War, division on the Security Council kept large-scale peacekeeping missions to a minimum. But after the fall of the Soviet Union, the age of mass peacekeeping began.

It didn’t last long.

A string of horrific failures in the early to mid 1990s soured many in the Western world on peacekeeping. In Canada, members of an elite airborne regiment tortured a local teenager to death while on a mission in Somalia in 1993. Early the next year, the UN failed to intervene in the Rwandan genocide, despite the pleas of Canadian Major General Romeo Dallaire, who was on the ground at the time.

In 1995, in what became the last straw for many in the West, UN peacekeepers allowed the wholesale slaughter of Bosnian men and boys in Srebrenica. The attack served as a turning point in UN peacekeeping. “Prior to Bosnia, almost half of UN peacekeepers had been from Western countries,” Jean-Marie Guehenno, who served as the head of UN peacekeeping between 2000 and 2008, wrote in a memoir published last year. “When I left office, the West provided fewer than one in 10 of our blue helmets.”
Postmedia Network fileCpl. Tyler Gallant, of Petawawa, watches from the turret of his Coyote as a patrol of Canadian peacekeeping troops roll through the Bosnian village of Sanski Most in December 2003.
Peacekeeping didn’t stop in 1995, though it did slow down dramatically for several years. When it picked up again in earnest in the early 2000s, the missions looked different. The developed world continued to pay for peacekeeping, in Guatemala, Burundi, Haiti, Sierra Leone, East Timor, and more than a dozen other countries. But the soldiers increasingly came from poorer parts of the world.

By July 2016, more than 100,000 uniformed peacekeepers were deployed on 16 missions around the globe, at a cost of over US$8 billion a year. More than 30 per cent of those soldiers came from just four countries: Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. (Canada currently has a total of 103 soldiers, police officers and official observers deployed to five different missions in Africa and Haiti.)

The missions themselves had morphed, too. In some countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Darfur region of Sudan, peacekeepers were deployed into combat where “there was little or no peace to keep,” according to a major UN peacekeeping review published by the organization in 2015. They were tasked with broad mandates to carry out over vast geographical spaces with little high-calibre support.

In his book, Guehenno suggests peacekeeping has become, at times, a way for the Western world to deal with problems it cares about, just not that much. In Darfur, “the leading Western countries … wanted ‘to do’ something, but certainly were not prepared to deploy their own troops and did not want to pay too much,” he wrote. The result was an overstretched, poorly manned mission that had little hope of containing the violence across a huge area of land.

Darfur was no exception. The peacekeeping review panel found, in mission after mission, a “widening gap between what is being asked of United Nations peace operations today and what they are able to deliver.”
ED OUDENAARDEN/AFP/Getty ImagesTwo Dutch soldiers riding on an armored vehicle accompanying a Dutch-UN convoy of 56 engineering vehicles on their way to Lukavac in Bosnia-Hercegovina on Feb. 28, 1994
The answer, some believe, is more Western troops and better equipment. Others see a problem of scale and politics. But scope and structure aren’t the UN’s only issues. Scandals, too, have continued to dog the peacekeeping world. In the past several months alone, as Canada has ramped up its peacekeeping talk, several embarrassing, atrocious incidents have come to light.

In June, Anders Kompass, a veteran Swedish diplomat and longtime UN employee, quit the organization in disgust. Kompass blew the whistle on allegations of child sexual abuse by UN and UN-affiliated peacekeepers in the Central African Republic in 2014. For his trouble, he was hounded by his superiors, asked to resign, suspended and investigated as a leaker. Even after a high-level, independent panel — chaired by former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps — cleared him of wrongdoing, he felt no option but to leave.

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Chris Selley: Are we really any good at peacekeeping?
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Kompass thinks there’s something fundamentally broken about the UN. There’s an ingrained culture of secrecy and self-protection that allows horrific acts like child sexual abuse to go unpunished at the highest levels. “Instead of protecting the people, they are abusing them,” he said in an interview from his new home in Sweden. “And then no one is saying anything. It’s terrible.”

Kompass sees the same instinct — to circle the wagons — at play in another recent UN scandal. In August, the UN admitted for the first time that peacekeepers had been responsible for the introduction of cholera into Haiti in 2010. The disease has since killed more than 10,000 Haitians and made over 100,000 more desperately ill. The evidence linking the outbreak to a UN camp has been overwhelming, and public, for years, but the United Nations secretariat has, until this summer, done nothing but dodge.

“It was a very similar reaction to what I experienced,” Kompass said. “They just can’t recognize that they had (done) something wrong. They expect the rest of the world to do it, but they (won’t do it) themselves.”
AP Photo/Jason Patinkin, FileIn this July 25, 2016 file photo, some of the more than 30,000 civilians sheltering in a United Nations base in South Sudan's capital Juba for fear of targeted killings by government forces walk by an armoured vehicle and a watchtower manned by Chinese UN peacekeepers. According to reports from victims which have come to light Monday Aug. 15, 2016, South Sudanese troops, fresh from winning a battle against opposition forces in the capital, Juba, on July 11, 2016, went on a nearly four-hour rampage through a residential compound popular with foreigners, and the UN peacekeeping force stationed nearby are accused of refusing to respond to desperate calls for help.
Perhaps the most damaging, and disturbing, recent scandal, though has been playing out in South Sudan. According to a series of reports by the Associated Press, UN peacekeepers there have failed to intervene in a host of rampaging sexual assaults by government soldiers against both local and international women this summer. In one particularly brutal attack, on July 11, according to the AP, government troops broke into a hotel compound popular with foreign aid workers and spent four hours abusing the residents within. One aide worker was allegedly raped by 15 different soldiers.

“They shot dead a local journalist while forcing the foreigners to watch, raped several foreign women, singled out Americans, beat and robbed people and carried out mock executions,” the AP reported. “For hours throughout the assault, the UN peacekeeping force stationed less than a mile away refused to respond to desperate calls for help.”

Taken together, the three scandals would seem to confirm the worst fears of the UN-ophobic. Peacekeeping can appear, and indeed sometimes is, a horrific cluster of the ineffective, the abusive and the self-serving. But researchers, and even some critics, don’t think that necessarily means Canada should stay away. Without the renewed involvement of Canada, some believe, peacekeeping will only get worse.

“I think Canada is doing the right thing by re-engaging,” said Gowan, a non-resident fellow at New York University’s Centre on International Cooperation. But they have to do it the right way.

What that means differs depending on whom you ask. Gowan, for his part, sees the UN peacekeeping system as desperately overstretched, with peacekeepers on the ground in places where they have no credible local partners and no hope of restoring peace or protecting more than a fraction of the civilians at risk. “The system almost lives in denial about the number of civilians who have died on its watch in Darfur, South Sudan and the Congo,” he said.
Alex Urosevic / Postmedia News fileCanadian troops in Bosnia in December 2003.
Canada could make a tangible difference in some of those missions by providing high-end equipment or special forces —”no one wants, frankly, battalions and brigades of standard infantry from NATO countries,” he said. But it could make a larger impact by engaging in the system itself and pressing for widespread reform.

Charles Petrie, a former UN assistant secretary general, who helped write the 2015 peacekeeping review, agrees, to an extent. Petrie thinks the entire system needs to be rethought. The focus, he believes should be more on supporting political agreements and structures. He’d like to see smaller, more targeted peace-building missions, supported by small teams of highly trained soldiers able to react quickly to the worst humanitarian dangers. Canadian soldiers, he believes, could help form those rapid reaction teams.

Based on his research, Kathman thinks any increase in Canadian involvement would help. But if Canada does recommit in a serious way, he said, it would be better off focusing on a small number of missions rather than spreading its soldiers out. “The other thing we’ve found is that the more coherent a mission”— in other words, more troops from fewer countries — “the more effective those missions tend to be,” he said.

The consensus, though, seems to be that Canada can’t just focus on its own UN mission. “I think it’s much more than money and much more than troops,” Petrie said. “I think there needs to be a fundamental rethinking of how (peacekeeping works).”


On Thursday, the Canadian government announced a new reconnaissance mission to Mali, home to a large, unusually violent peacekeeping mission. The trip follows an earlier African excursion that saw Sajjan and a team of peacekeeping experts tour the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.

The government insists that no final decision on a destination for Canadian troops has been made. But the Liberals do seem committed to the idea of sending a new wave of Canadian blue helmets somewhere, at some point soon.

“There’s a sense of incredible vulnerability across the UN system,” said Gowan. “And a sense that the organization has gone beyond its capabilities and some sort of reckoning is necessary.”

For better or worse, that reckoning is Canada’s now, too.