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.

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadian-jets-drop-first-bombs-in-syria/article23850987/

 

Comments

i like your discussion about Isis here, however i would like to mention swell that the other reason why the other parties of the Canadian government is resisting the proposal to bomb isis in Syria is because of the Assad regime. many debate that if we aid Assad's regime by bombing Isis we could risk "involuntarily" helping him to further consolidate power in the region. his rule is brutal and has caused mush heart ache in the region, and to aid him might seem a if we are encouraging the human rights violations which he has committed. So ultimately the problem is not whether or not we should fight isis, its whether or not we should help a morally deprived regime fight isis. here is a link i found about the situation if you are interested. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/is-canada-s-isis-mission-ready-for-syria-s-... it covers a lot of stuff but its an interesting read. i hope i helped with your assignment, and i think you should look into this for its inclusion in your research paper.

i like your discussion about Isis here, however i would like to mention swell that the other reason why the other parties of the Canadian government is resisting the proposal to bomb isis in Syria is because of the Assad regime. many debate that if we aid Assad's regime by bombing Isis we could risk "involuntarily" helping him to further consolidate power in the region. his rule is brutal and has caused mush heart ache in the region, and to aid him might seem a if we are encouraging the human rights violations which he has committed. So ultimately the problem is not whether or not we should fight isis, its whether or not we should help a morally deprived regime fight isis. here is a link i found about the situation if you are interested. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/is-canada-s-isis-mission-ready-for-syria-s-... it covers a lot of stuff but its an interesting read. i hope i helped with your assignment, and i think you should look into this for its inclusion in your research paper.

I agree with your statement that understanding ISIS and its ideologies is the first step to determining how – or if we should be sending our military to Syria. Stephen Harper made the rash decision of bombing Syria without first discovering more about the group itself, or outlining the blueprint for the mission. He refuses to answer the NDP’s and Liberal’s questions about the cost, length and exit strategy of our troops. I agree with the Liberal party, and their view that Canada has a role to play in stopping ISIS, but for the time being humanitarian aid is more effective than sending military action. Military action will only kill our troops, innocent civilians and encourage more Syrians to enlist in the group. Humanitarian aid on the other hand, will improve the institutional, political and security capabilities for the Syrian population to combat ISIS themselves.

I agree that ones awareness of military, political and international relations in the Middle East is crucial to properly analyzing and understanding the issue that is ISIL's development. It is primarily what the government and opposing parties have been discussing in the House of Commons and while many criticize Stephen Harper's decision to launch air strikes on ISIL's military bases in Syria, it is very important to consider the threat that has been posed on our nation and its citizens. Canada's involvement in this issue has led to much controversy as both opposing parties believe that military action will worsen the situation as Syrians will most likely be encouraged to join ISIL once the bombing from the West has occurred. They believe that solely humanitarian aid will lead to a positive outcome for the Syrians. However, in my opinion, the government's primary concern should be to deal with the threat that ISIL is posing on Canada and as a result, military action is necessary. Promoting safety amongst the Syrian population is also important but this form of aid will not stop ISIL from causing harm internationally. Many allies to Canada including the United States and the United Kingdom have already begun attacking ISIL militarily. Canada must do its part in this fight to not only bring down ISIL but to maintain political and economic relations with its allies. I believe that the only way to stop this extremist group is if western and middle eastern countries form a coalition and establish a common military action plan.

Your fears are valid, however I would point out there is no possible way to intervene in the Syrian Governments affairs. Since the 2011 Arab spring the Syrian Government has been under the protection of its biggest military supplier Russia. In 2012 the U.S and Numerous coalition allies tried to establish a military intervention in Syria similar to what happened in Libya by bombing key military positions with air power, and allowing rebel forces to capture them on the ground. However when the U.S carriers were set to depart, The Russian Black sea fleet created a blockade around the island of Cyprus. The Syrian government is protected by strong allies, and the result is simple, we cannot fight this war for the Syrian people. The best way forward is to supply rebel groups and hope they use the tools we provide to further the aims they have claimed to have, not like Libya where the rebels we helped win the war against the brutal regime have now ripped the country asunder. It’s important that we recognize that there must be a clear path to governing the region after there is victory. If the goal is to establish democracy, there must be a method democracy is established so it coincides with the traditions and norms of the region. Syria is a melting pot of numerous ethnic and religious groups, with countless traditions and norms stemming thousands of years. Its history is checkered and covered with much blood, and the thought of military intervention would create unneeded chaos in a region already littered with problems. Here is an article which I find compliments your topic, and expresses many of the concerns that i have over military intervention in the region. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/29/9-questions...

I totally agree with you that we have to pose this question before Canada intervene in Syrian : Is Canada’s intervention in Syria against the Islamic State favorable for Syrians? Personally, i think that Canada has the responsibility to help Syrian gouvernement to against ISIS as a big strong developed country in UN.First, ISIS is a extremist and militant group who are cruel and crazy, they instigate people to make trouble in different countries,even those are not in Middle East. Every country has responsibilities to keep the world in peace. Same for Canada. In other way, we can see news about the conflict in Syria have never stop . It shows that Syrian government does not have the capacity to defense the ISIS and they did not use a correct solution to solve the conflict, such as using chemical weapon on civilian. At this point, I think Canada should do something. We cannot let the ISIS group keeps growing up, and destroy the peace that every country try to keep in 21st century. I believe that Canada have enough reasons to intervene in the Syria’s problem.