Saturday, June 15, 2024

Iraq and the Middle East | Canada extends its military mission

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
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(Ottawa) Canada extends its military mission in Iraq and the Middle East.

Posted yesterday at 10:17 PM.

Defense Minister Anita Anand announced a 12-month extension on Thursday, just hours before the current term ends.

Canada has steadily reduced its military presence in the region. The focus shifted from operations against ISIS to countering the growing Iranian influence.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) first deployed their forces to Iraq in October 2014 as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) threatened to take over the country and Syria. They previously had more than 800 soldiers in the region.

Depending on time, the Canadian mission included combat aircraft, transport and control aircraft, and helicopters, as well as military trainers and special forces working alongside Kurdish and Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS.

The mission has since shrunk in size and importance as concerns about ISIS have been replaced by concerns about Iran’s growing influence in Iraq, and other crises and threats such as those presented by Russia and China and the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic have emerged.

In February, Canada had about 300 members of the armed forces tasked with the so-called Operation Impact, including about 250 command, intelligence and logistics personnel in Kuwait and the Middle East as well as 50 instructors in Jordan and Lebanon. There were only a few soldiers in Iraq.

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