On November 3rd Maclean's carried a story by Adnan Khan advising us that Canada's role in the Iraq war is “bigger than you think.” Definitely worth a read if you're one of those Canadians who wonder what our troops and our tax dollars are accomplishing over there.
Four days later, Amnesty International came out with a report accusing the Kurdish fighters of committing war crimes in some of the Arab villages they've been helping the Canadians liberate, or we them.
That should raise some questions, wouldn't you think? I mean questions for the opposition in parliament and questions our ever-vigilant fourth estate should be pestering our political leadership with.
When Canada signed on (or more correctly, when our leaders signed us on) for this mission, the public was assured that our military would be well back from the front lines, “advising and training” the Kurdish fighters. It's since become obvious that they've been doing a lot more than that, up to and including taking the fight to “the enemy.”
That's a conundrum, isn't it? Who exactly are our “enemies” over there? At the moment, our enemies are radical Sunni jihadists who nevertheless have some degree of popular support among the Sunni population of Iraq. Mainwhile, our NATO ally Turkey is fighting our allies the Kurds, and we are further allied with Hezbollah militias who remain on Ottawa's terror list.
Confusing? You bet!
Canada has zero strategic interests in the region, a fact that should have tempered our enthusiasm for for getting involved in the first place. Nevertheless, our leaders were after some strategic brownie points in Washington and Brussels, so there we are.
Are we complicit in Kurdish war crimes? We won't know anytime soon.