Canada’s intervention in Syria: How research from military studies, politics and international relations in the Middle East, and Studies in Islam can help analyzing the issue
by RimaAlha on April 14, 2015 - 12:38am
A few weeks ago, Canada declared itself at war against the Islamic State. Harper’s government sent its first bombs on old Syrian military installation that had been taken by the Islamic forces. Despite the fact that the two opposite parties, NDP and Liberals were against this expansion, the government insisted on its importance.
As Defence minister said, “Canada is helping to ensure that ISIL has no safe haven”. A certain fear for Canadian militaries is present, but the minister assures that they have back up plans. Even though there is not the ground support there was in Iraq, militaries are well trained to respond to any situation. And they know who to shoot. Canada’s only goal in this mission is to weaken ISIS.
Personally, I think it is important as a nation to think about our participation in this conflict. Of course, the Islamic State is a threat, but the Syrian government should be put in place too. I wrote a long post about the possibility of intervention in Syria by several countries and why they should intervene (Saving Syria in 3, 2, 1, 1, 1…), but here another matter can be discussed. Instead of talking about the intervention only, we can discuss Canada’s decision to bombard only ISIS. Since a while, we hear a lot about our own country’s actions and we should evidently question those as informed citizens. The research question I expect to answer is: Is Canada’s intervention in Syria against the Islamic State favorable for Syrians?
Three disciplines that could help answering this question are Military and Strategic Studies (http://www.rmc.ca/aca/ac-pe/ug-apc/mss-ems/index-eng.php), Politics and international relations in the Middle East (https://www.soas.ac.uk/politics/programmes/mscmepol/) and Studies in Islam (https://uwaterloo.ca/studies-in-islam/academic-programs). Military and Strategic Studies teach military history, strategic thought, and international relations, as well as in Canadian government, Politics and Economics, English or French Studies, and Military Psychology and Leadership. Military history, international relations and politics are essential to understand why Canada decided to declare war and if its forces will be able to counter ISIS. Politics and international relations in the Middle East are central to comprehend the population’s reaction to such an intervention. Other countries are involved as well (Iraq for example) and different approaches (class, ethnicity, etc.) are important to understand what happens in the mind of the ones who live in the middle of these bombardments. Studies in Islam is a vast subject, but certain courses they offer have to do with extremism, such as ISIS. The understanding of such a group and of its Ideology is crucial to know whether or not Canada is really helping or not.