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Canada’s Best Option to Deal With ISIS

by John Brian Shannon | November 18, 2015

It’s a fact of international law that military aircraft from one nation entering the airspace of another nation (without permission) is illegal and considered an act of war.

It’s also illegal for aircraft (or ships) from ‘Country A’ to enter ‘Country B’ and kill people there — even if the people they kill are members of a heinous terror organization.

This is a matter of international law. There’s no ambiguity, it’s not up for discussion, and it’s not under debate by legal scholars anywhere. No constitutional lawyers anywhere dispute this part of sovereignty law.

(For the record; Some countries don’t respond militarily to illegal incursions into their air, sea, or land space — while others respond aggressively. It’s the aggrieved nation’s right to respond in any way it deems appropriate)

Two exceptions are allowed under international law

If a country or a coalition of countries, have a mandate from the United Nations (via a UN Security Council or General Assembly resolution) then they may enter and engage hostile combatants under the conditions set within the UN resolution.

The other exception is when the host country has formally requested that a country, or a coalition, intervene inside their borders.

International laws apply equally to every nation. They aren’t like an à la carte dinner menu where you can simply choose which laws you wish to follow

File photo: Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter/bomber. Image courtesy of Canadian Press.

Oh, Canada; Don’t you know that under international law it’s illegal and considered an act of war, when military aircraft from one nation enter the airspace of another — without permission? Unless the host country has formally asked us to intervene inside their borders — or there is a UN mandate allowing it. Neither of which has occurred in the case of Syria as of November, 2015. File photo: Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fighter/bomber. Image courtesy of Canadian Press.

No matter how evil some terror groups are, countries that break international law are just as guilty of breaking laws as those terror groups

If some countries in the West send their fighter-bomber jets into Syria; a) uninvited by the host government, or; b) with no UN mandate to do so — they are just as guilty of breaching international law as ISIS, perhaps moreso — as nation states know full well the responsibilities of international law and they know that they are bound by those laws. Any protestations by government spokespersons are doublespeak.

ISIS is not a country. Having pretensions at being a country, is not the same thing as being a country

ISIS is a terror group, and although bound by the criminal and civil laws of whatever countries they operate in, they’re not a country and are therefore not bound by the same laws that nation states must uphold.

My point is, if we in the West are saying that we’re a great moral force in the world, then we better start acting like it.

Historically, Canada is renown as a nation that abides by the rule of law

In no way should Canada be invading the sovereign airspace of any nation with our fighter aircraft, no matter the pretext.

In fact, our constitutional document refers to ‘Peace, Order and Good government’ as the justification for supporting the idea of a federal government in the first place. So…

Either Canada is a nation that respects international law, or it isn’t

If we abide by international law, then we are setting a good example and we should expect to be treated accordingly by other nations. And if occasion arises when our good example is not reciprocated by other nations, then we can claim full legal recourse with support from other law-abiding nations.

If we don’t abide by international law, but instead rely on the law of the jungle — then we must realize that we will be treated accordingly by the UN, by other institutions and by other nation states.

One way or another, we’ll get what we deserve

Therefore, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems on the right side of international law when he indicated that Canada’s CF-18’s would stop flying into Syrian airspace to bomb civilians — only some of whom may be ISIS members.

Until then, Canada continues to break international law by flying into Syrian airspace and bombing civilians

Let’s not forget that ISIS members are civilians who have joined a terror organization — they’re not members of the Syrian Army and Canada isn’t at war with Syria — therefore, we have no legal right to be there regardless of how evil the ISIS entity is. The anger we feel at their horrific terror attacks doesn’t entitle us to become lawbreakers.

We’re supposed to be the country of ‘Peace, Order and Good Government’ – not a country of ‘Anger, Revenge and International Scofflaws’

The sooner Canada returns to conformance with international law the better; For the reputation of this country, for the example that this country sets to the world, and for this country’s future security.

Canada’s best way forward for dealing with ISIS, is to operate within Iraq, a country which has formally asked for our assistance

Canada can contribute to operations on the ground and in the air in the fight against ISIS within Iraq. We’ve been asked to be there, and we should therefore, show up and contribute our best effort.

If Canada, claims that it is part of a great and moral fight in the world, then let us start by being moral

And in this case, that means getting out of Syrian air, sea, and land space, ASAP — and fulfilling our mandate to be enablers of Peace, Order and Good Government by assisting the government and people of Iraq to our best ability.

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Syria: The Wisdom or Waste of ‘Boots on the Ground’ in Iraq and Syria

Syria: The Wisdom, or Waste, of ‘Boots on the Ground’ in Iraq and Syria | 08/10/14
by John Brian Shannon John Brian Shannon

President Barack Obama has charted a wise course with regards to the developing terrorist situation in Iraq and Syria, thus far neither committing too much nor too little in an attempt to mitigate the threat posed by ISIS to the U.S.A.

A lack of reaction to the threat might have emboldened the terrorist entity known as ISIS or ISIL, while overreacting may have turned every American voter against the President and his party which would have been incredibly bad timing with midterm elections just weeks ahead.

Rather than veer to either extreme, Obama has pursued a unified effort aiming to build a broad-based coalition to fight ISIS with airpower in Iraq and Syria. And he has succeeded in building that broad-based effort.

It is a mature response to a rising threat which could, conceivably, cause harm to America, someday

So far, the threat from ISIS is 95% ‘smoke’ and 5% ‘fire’ as ISIS seems content with murdering it’s own countrymen and women. It’s true, that could change in the future. But the President must react to what is real and present now — not to ‘sky is falling’ scenarios — that may or may not ever occur.

Addressing ISIS with a measured response and a ramping-up humanitarian aid as Mr. Obama has done has taken much of the wind out of the sails of ISIS, which had been poised to loudly accuse the West of being the biggest bully on the block, of killing huge numbers of civilians in major air campaigns and street-to-street fighting and of wreaking wholesale destruction in the region.

While the President has skillfully charted a middle course, the expected cry of; ‘We need Boots on the Ground to contain and destroy ISIS’ is becoming louder by the week.

The political hawks can barely contain their excitement — imagining all of the additional capability that ‘boots on the ground’ could add to the fight against ISIS in Iraq and in Syria! They could name it; Operation Déjà Vu.

So if all that, is so good; Why didn’t 10-years-worth-of ‘boots on the ground’ work in Iraq?

At the peak of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, the United States alone had some 356,000 combat troops along with hundreds of warplanes and artillery pieces inside the country. Not to mention a formidable US Navy presence in the Persian Gulf that fired hundreds of Tomahawk missiles into Iraq from positions in the Gulf.

But ten years of combat, $1 trillion dollars, and 4487 deaths/32,223 wounded, didn’t solve the terrorist threat in Iraq. Now it’s worse than ever. The very definition of failure

Yet, the cry of; ‘We need Boots on the Ground in Iraq and Syria to deal with the growing terrorist threat’ persist! What is it with some people? A failed policy, is a failed policy, is a failed policy — and you can shoot the messenger all you want — but at the end of the day it’s still a failed policy!

Raise your hand if you honestly think that yet another 10 years of war, another $1 trillion dollars and another 5000 U.S. troop deaths/32,000 wounded, will solve the ISIS problem for good

If you put up your hand, go turn in your Drivers Licence and your gun permit right now — you are too dumb to drive a car and too dumb to own a gun. You’re not smarter than a 5th-grader! If you need help with any of this ask your kids.

It didn’t work the first time and it won’t work the second time. By the way, it didn’t work in Afghanistan either. There are thousands more terrorists there now too

Out of a handful of bad choices, President Obama has, so far, chosen the least-bad choice. We should give him credit for that.

Continually degrading ISIS capabilities, ramping-up humanitarian aid and dramatically increasing diplomatic and other ‘soft power’ efforts, is the long-term solution to this long-term problem. Increasing awareness and investigation of suspect individuals here in the West is also an important step.

Military power can only solve military problems — and the rise of Islamism is not a military problem.

But we’ve got all of these bombs, we might as well use them!

The problem with that — is that every time you kill 1 person in war, you make 250 new enemies. That’s right, each person on the planet is acquainted with or is related to, 250 other people on average. When you drop a bomb, lob a shell, or fire a few hundred bullets — and thereby kill 100 people — you’ve just made 25,000 new enemies.

If you drop a lot of bombs and kill 100,000 people (regardless if they’re terrorists or innocent casualties) each 1 of them have 250 friends and families — living somewhere in the world — and you’ve just made 25 million new enemies.

That’s the way it is with bombs, shells, and bullets. And friends and family, by the way.

Which is why war — that is, killing people who disagree with you politically — is always a bad idea and should be reserved for the most extreme of emergencies and only in actual cases of self-defence.

By some counts, the original coalition is responsible for the deaths of between 654,965 people (The Lancet) and 1,033,000 people (ORB International) during the Iraq War (all of whom likely had the global average of 250 family and friends each) and we’re scratching our heads here in the West wondering why those bad ‘ol Iraqis and Syrians hate us.

Here’s the math on that:
654,965 X 250 family and friends each = 163,741,250 (using the Lancet’s Iraq War body count total)
1,033,000 X 250 family and friends each = 258,250,000 (using ORB International’s Iraq War body count total)

Why would we want to add to those numbers? Why would we want to get another 4,500 US military members killed? Why would we want to spend another $1 trillion dollars?

What reason is good enough? I’d like to know and so would a lot of people. You can call those people ‘taxpayers’ or ‘voters’ — your choice

We can keep ISIS down to a dull roar via the use of airpower, by negating their anti-Western propaganda effort through enhanced humanitarian aid in the region, and by ‘boxing them in’ to a tiny region of the world via coalition-building in the West and especially with and among the Middle East nations.

We shouldn’t shrink back from prosecuting ISIS criminals in Iraqi or the International Court of Justice

Hey! We’re in the right. They’re acting against their particular nations’ laws, and quite possibly against international law. So, obviously, let’s stay on the right side of Iraqi and Syrian law — and on the right side of international law too! — and use the full force of the law against these illegal actors. Let’s make them feel like criminals, because, well, they are criminals.

The rest of the solution will come via aggressive and innovative diplomacy, by increasing the level and quality of intelligence sharing with Iraq, Syria, and neighbouring countries, as well as promoting the same between Middle East nations.

Soft Power will be the solution to the rising and long-term ISIS problem. Coalition airpower is merely buying us time, so that soft power efforts have time to ramp-up and begin showing some success.

If we can’t do it soon and do it well, all we are doing is wasting our bombs and creating more enemies for ourselves.

Dwight Eisenhower quote

President Dwight D. Eisenhower – “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, from those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Lebanese Army captures hundreds of suspected ISIL fighters in Bekaa Valley refugee camp

Lebanese Army captures hundreds of suspected ISIL fighters in Bekaa Valley refugee camp | 01/10/14

Maha Hamdan

Originally published at WorldTribune.com

by Maha Hamdan Intelligence Analyst at TheIntelligenceCommunity.com & Political Consultant For Lebanon, ANDERSON Consulting, Canada

The Lebanese Army has battled Islamic State of Iraq and Levant in what resulted in scores of casualties and injuries in the Bekaa Valley.

Lebanese troops near the Syrian border on Aug. 28 / AFP

Lebanese troops near the Syrian border on Aug. 28 2014. Image courtesy of: AFP

Officials said at least 40 Islamic fighters and Lebanese soldiers were killed in an army raid of a Syrian refugee camp on Sept. 29. They said the army also captured hundreds of suspected supporters of ISIL and Nusra Front for the Defense of Levant near the border town of Arsal.

“The number of [Syrian] refugees arrested before today was around 200 or 250,” Arsal Deputy Mayor Ahmed Fleeti said.

The ISIL-Nusra presence in the Bekaa Valley was said to have been led by Hatem Al Hassan, a Palestinian. Al Hassan’s deputy was identified as Ahmed Al Rifai, a Syrian in charge of strongholds in the Syrian villages of Asal Al Ward and Serghaya.

Officials said those arrested included Lebanese and Syrians as well as four confirmed operatives of Nusra. They said Arsal contains at least 40,000 Syrian refugees.

“The Lebanese Army is determined to protect the security of our people in Arsal,” Lebanese Chief of Staff Gen. Jean Qawhaji said. “There is no siege on the town of Arsal or its people.”

The fighting around Arsal could spread throughout Lebanon. Officials said ISIL and Nusra could recruit tens of thousands of the 1.2 million Syrian refugees, about 100,000 of whom served in the military.

“If weapons reached those men that means they will become more powerful than the Lebanese Army,” Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said.

On Sept. 29, Derbas urged the government to relocate Syrian refugees to the eastern border. Currently, the refugees were spread throughout 1,400 locations.

“The alternative to organized [camps] would be chaos.” Derbas said.

[Editor’s note: This article has been republished with the kind permission of the authour, Maha Hamdan.]