Fall 2006 (Volume IV, Issue III)
Promoting new understanding and improvement of Canadian foreign and defence policy.
In this issue:
- Message from the President – Robert S. Millar
- CDFAI New Advisory Council Members
- Call for Papers
- CDFAI 2006 Annual Conference
- Article: Foreign Policy: Initial Impressions - Derek Burney
- Article: Measuring and Monitoring Governance - David Carment
- Article: Supporting our War Effort - Ray Crabbe
- Article: How can the Canadian Forces (CF) move ahead when they're busy playing catch up? -
- Article: Is the 3-D Construct at work in Kandahar or are we kidding ourselves? - Eric Lerhe
- Article: Developing Capabilities for the Canadian Forces - George Macdonald
- Article: Covering the Afghan Mission: A Lament on the Fourth Estate - Scot Robertson
- Article: Lebanon – Why Canada should not participate in the UN Force - Cameron Ross
- About Our Organization
Welcome to the Fall 2006 issue of “The Dispatch” newsletter. In this edition we welcome Perrin Beatty and David Pratt, former Ministers of National Defence as new Advisory Council Members. We look forward to their contributions on Canadian security, defence and foreign affairs issues.
Foreign Policy: Initial Impressions – Derek Burney. “….Even more troubling is the apparent unwillingness of our society to support actions intended to sustain the liberty and security we often take for granted.”
Measuring and Monitoring Governance – David Carment. An overview and some initial findings of the Canada Corps supported research on governance by the Country Indicators for Foreign Policy project (CIFP) at Carleton University.
Supporting Our War Effort – Ray Crabbe. As the only country on Osama Bin Laden’s hit list to not be directly attacked by Al-Qaeda, is the indirect approach of attacking Canada’s military designed to send a strong message to Canadians?
How Can the Canadian Forces Move Ahead When They’re Busy Playing Catch Up? – Sharon Hobson. What is missing? “A promise to provide the CF with the money it needs to buy the equipment it should have been buying all along, as well as the money to transform, and the money to win a war.”
Is the 3-D Construct at Work in Kandahar or Are We Kidding Ourselves? – Eric Lerhe. Although purporting to not provide an assessment, Eric’s analysis is well documented, providing not only observations but also some questions a fuller assessment might consider. Improving the lives of the Afghani, he suggests, requires immediate action.
Developing Capabilities for the Canadian Forces – George Macdonald. “Everyone’s fixation on the purchase of equipment is not inappropriate, but we must keep in mind that this commitment is only the first step in acquiring a capability…. Having said this, one major and persistent disconnect is the provision of personnel for a capability.”
Covering the Afghan Mission: A Lament on the Fourth Estate – Scot Robertson. “Canadians deserve better and more substantial coverage and discussion of a mission as important as Afghanistan.” Scot offers several questions that the media might consider tackling in exploring some of the deeper issues.
Lebanon – Why Canada Should Not Participate in the UN Force – Cam Ross. Not only does Cam point out the reasons why Canada should not participate in UNIFIL-2, he goes on to point out a role that Canada can play.
The rotation from the PPCLI to the Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group is nearing completion and the worst week of casualties in the Canadian Afghan mission has occurred. A friendly fire incident and enemy engagements were the headlines over the Labour Day weekend. Individuals across the country are talking more about the Canadian Forces and our Foreign Policy than at any time in recent memory. Average Canadians are seeking to better understand the situation. It is time for leadership both at the political level and in the various federal government departments to provide a vision and plan that Canadians can understand and buy into.
The Honourable David Pratt, P.C. is currently serving as Advisor to the Secretary General and Special Ambassador for the Canadian Red Cross. Mr. Pratt’s focus is on issues related to conflict prevention, the control of small arms and light weapons, international humanitarian law, war affected children and security sector reform.
For 16 years, Mr. Pratt served as an elected representative at the municipal, regional and federal levels. He was first elected to the House of Commons for Nepean-Carleton in 1997. From December 2003 to July 2004, Mr. Pratt served as Canada’s Minister of National Defence. Prior to his appointment to Cabinet, Mr. Pratt was Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs – a position he held from 2001 to 2003.
He also served as a member of the House of Commons Justice Committee’s Sub-Committee on National Security. As Canada’s Special Envoy to Sierra Leone under two ministers of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Pratt was involved extensively in legislation to address the “conflict diamonds” issue.
|Perrin Beatty was first elected to the House of Commons as a Progressive Conservative in 1972. During his 21 years in Parliament, he served as Minister in seven different portfolios, including Treasury Board, National Revenue, Solicitor General, Defence, National Health and Welfare, Communications and External Affairs. Following the 1993 election, he joined a number of corporate boards and worked as a consultant and columnist. In 1995, Prime Minister Chrétien appointed him President and CEO of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Since leaving the CBC in August, 2005, he has been President and CEO of the Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada.|
Dr. Denis Stairs, CDFAI Advisory Council Member and Fellow was recently awarded Officer of the Order of Canada
|The Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDAI) is pleased to announce that Brigadier-General David A. Fraser has been selected as the recipient of the Vimy Award for 2006.
Currently the Commander of the Multi-National Brigade in Kandahar, Afghanistan, BGen. Fraser is a distinguished Canadian who has exhibited the highest standards of leadership
The CDAI, which sponsors the Vimy Award, is an Ottawa-based think-tank dedicated to increasing public awareness of Canada’s security situation and the vital role played by the Canadian Armed Forces in our society.
The Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDAI) and the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affiars Institute (CDFAI) in collaboration with the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), Queen's University and the War Studies Programme at the Royal Military College of Canada will host the
9th Annual Graduate Student Symposium:
Security and Defence: National and International Issues
Deadline for submissions is September 23, 2006.
Click the following links for more information: English| en Français.
CDFAI 2006 Annual Ottawa Conference
Conference Topic: Foreign Policy Under a Conservative Government: An Interim Report Card
Keynote Speakers: Hon. John Manley and Minister Peter MacKay
Date: Monday, October 30
Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel Ballroom A/B 101 Lyon Street Ottawa, ON
The cost of this year’s conference is $150.00. The fee will include the conference session (five panels), two breaks and lunch. To register, visit the conference website www.peopleware.net/1540 or for more information visit www.cdfai.org.
by Derek Burney
Canada’s new government is still finding its feet and a sense of priorities on foreign policy, trying to manage issues where major Canadian interests are at stake (e.g. lumber), enhancing a fundamental instrument of foreign policy with a series of defence expenditures and reacting spontaneously to global developments, some of which can prove to be neuralgic when assertions of principle intrude on more familiar positions of ‘balance’. One consolation is that there has been no suggestion of the need for yet another vacuous foreign policy review.
In dealing with lumber, and relations with the United States more generally, the emphasis has been to improve the tone and reassert a sensible priority for this pervasive relationship. A negotiated settlement on lumber was favoured in order to bring closure, however temporary, to this long-festering trade dispute and a degree of stability, as well as some redress, to the beleaguered Canadian industry. The deal is not perfect by any means but pragmatic. However, rectifying the fundamental damage that lumber has caused to the Dispute Settlement provisions of NAFTA has been left for another day. With the collapse of the Doha Round, Canada’s broader trade policy agenda needs a new sense of direction.
Despite declining public support for Canada’s role in Afghanistan it is seen, nonetheless, by the Prime Minister, as the “right thing” for Canada to be doing, and consistent with our traditions and values. Inevitably, as casualties continue to mount, our involvement will need a more compelling defence. The Prime Minister’s initial reaction to the Hezbollah/Israeli conflict also reflected a position more of principle or moral judgement than expediency but was criticized for lacking the customary Canadian ‘balance’. The U.N. Security Council resolution offers a temporary reprieve, (and a safe haven of sorts for many politicians), but the task of replacing militant reflexes with genuine negotiation persists as the major hurdle to peace in that region. Canada’s role is likely to be marginal at best.
Decisions on major defence expenditures for trucks, ships and
by David Carment
Within the scope of this project, governance refers to the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised for the common good. CIFP’s working definition of governance identifies seven discrete dimensions of the phenomenon: political stability and violence, rule of law and human rights, government efficiency, accountability, economic and market efficiency, democratic participation, and gender and equality. Each dimension captures one particular facet of the broader phenomenon of governance, to be measured and assessed using a number of different structural indicators.
Level of Democracy
For example, in the figure above, the relationship between a given state’s level of democracy and its relative stability proves complex. Instead, the relationship resembles the inverted ‘U’ relationship that various writers have observed between conflict – both civil and international – and regime type. Clearly, the full democracies are the most stable of all. At the other end of the scale, full autocracies are also stable but slightly less so. However, states between these two extremes tended to be more fragile. The implication is that, while established democracies and entrenched autocracies tend to be relatively stable, states caught between those two extremes, termed anocracies by some writers, tend to be much more fragile.
Intriguingly, a similar relationship exists between human rights indicators and fragility. The graph above, suggests that though states with the best human rights records tend to be the most stable, states with extremely poor rights records tend to be somewhat more stable than those that score nearer the mean. Such insights are in some ways surprising and even troubling, with potential implications for the way in which donor states engage both chronic human rights offenders and states undertaking human rights reform. As developing states work to encourage better respect for human rights within their borders, donors and partners alike must work carefully to minimize the risk of a potentially catastrophic destabilization of the state.
Other findings prove intriguing as well. In particular, the fact that strong performance on gender measurements correlates closely with stability may come as a surprise to some, even as it serves as vindication to others. The scatter plot above, plotting UNDP’s Gender Empowerment scores against the CIFP fragility index, suggests a strong correlation between gender and country stability. The possibility that gender parity may indeed play a strong and measurable role in the stability of the state beyond that of general development is a potentially powerful result, one that at a minimum warrants further quantitative investigation.
Finally, a number of authors have found that GDP per capita correlates strongly with both stability and peace. Interestingly, the graph above shows a non-linear relationship between poverty and fragility. The greatest returns to increasing mean income levels occur among relatively poor states; as per capita GDP increases further, the returns to stability appear to diminish.
by LGen (ret’d) Ray Crabbe
The recent deaths and injuries to Canadian troops in Afghanistan have triggered the inevitable call by several groups to bring the troops home and withdraw from the mission. As the Royal Canadian Regiment completes its handover from the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry battle group, there is little question that attacks by the Taliban and al-Qaida will be fast and furious against the newly arrived and untested troops. They will do so to test the mettle and willingness of the soldiers to operate and carry out their mandate and to test the resilience and courage of the soldiers to bounce back from tragedy and diversity. This tactic has been employed by various factions throughout the history of Canadian peacekeeping and in recent operations.
The suicide bombers, Improvised Explosive Devices and ambushes will continue unabated and more casualties will occur. Canadian support will waiver and many will continue to question the loss of life and limb and whether or not it is really in Canada’s interest to be in Afghanistan. The media will continue to focus on the sensationalism of the nasty and vicious war against terrorism and not on the successes in many parts of Afghanistan, adding to the growing concern by many of the value of Canada’s commitment to NATO, to the Afghan people and to the international community to play our role in the serious threat posed by terrorism.
Canada remains the only country on Osama bin Laden’s hit list to not be directly attacked by al-Qaida. This indirect approach of attacking Canada’s military is designed to send a strong message to the nation, and in the process cause Canada to re-think its strategy, and withdraw its troops. To waver now or in the future to such attacks would be playing right into the terrorists’ hands.
Regrettably, there are many Canadians who are still oblivious to the realities of what Canada’s military is doing in Afghanistan, and the vital importance of the work being done there, on behalf of all Canadians. It is not peacekeeping – peacekeeping is dead. It no longer exists in its traditional form. Our troops are engaged in a war with the intent of bringing some semblance of normalcy to a ravaged and failed nation, and in doing so, fighting terrorism at its source and off Canadian shores. It is a war that pits ethical professional troops who operate within the laws of war against non-ethical and non-disciplined fighters who have no ethics or morals.
Surprisingly and sadly, recent polls indicate that a large number of Canadians do not support Canada’s commitment to fight terrorism in Afghanistan – no doubt brought on by the recent tragedies, suicide attacks and other vile actions by insurgents. Unfortunately, Canadians are now seeing the realities of the threat to our nation and the price of freedom.
There is nothing more devastating for a military commander to lose a soldier under his command. Equally devastating for the troops is the death of a fellow soldier. The bond, trust and teamwork amongst soldiers are the essence of why they fight. Every soldier knows and understands when he joins the brotherhood of arms that he is signing up for an “unlimited liability” to serve anywhere, anytime, under any conditions, and to put himself in harm’s way if required, knowing that in doing so he may be killed. As our troops know all too well, the relegation of their personal safety to the performance of their duty is uppermost in being a soldier. These young Canadian men and women accept obligations to obey lawful commands, subordination to authority, limitations on their freedoms, and the intrusive and pervasive discipline required to be among the best soldiers in the world. It is that sense of duty and discipline that separate Canadian soldiers from others: soldiers like Corporal Ainsworth Dyer, Corporal Paul Davis, Master Corporal Tim Wilson, Captain Nichola Goddard, and Private Kevin Dallaire and the 21 others who have died in Afghanistan, and the thousands of other young Canadians who have and will continue to fight for what is right – our values and freedoms.
For our military to carry out this unlimited liability on our behalf, Canadians have an obligation to support them when they are placed in harm’s way, especially in the face of tragedy. That first responsibility rests with the government of the day and our senior military leaders to mitigate that harm in every practical way possible, through the provision of good leadership, weapons, vehicles, equipment and training. It implies an obligation to look after the families of the troops when deployed and if tragedy strikes, to ensure their service is not forgotten. In both these instances, the Canadian Forces have done an excellent job.
Prime Minister Harper and the current government continue to support Canada’s role and commitment in Afghanistan and have stated so publicly and very clearly. Canadian troops are commanded by the best leadership there is, from the commander of the multi-national brigade, Brigadier-General Dave Fraser, to the outstanding Warrant Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers who are the immediate commanders on the ground.
The second part of this responsibility is support from the Canadian people. It is extremely difficult for soldiers who are committed to operations if their efforts and sacrifices are not supported and appreciated by the very society that they serve. Putting their lives on the line day in and day out for a just and necessary cause requires public and genuine support of all Canadians.
Of particular importance is the unflagging and unanimous support of the families of the fallen soldiers. Having had the opportunity to speak to several soldiers who have returned permanently incapacitated and to the families of those who gave their lives, I have been deeply impressed by their support for Canada’s role and their positive attitude, despite the unimaginable sorrow of their losses.
We can all learn a very valuable lesson in this regard from the brave and courageous remarks of the father of Corporal Paul Davis who, despite the deep sadness of the loss of his son, steadfastly supports the efforts of our troops in Afghanistan. And of Master Corporal Tim Wilson’s wife, Daphne, who expressed hope that her husband’s death would contribute to a better life for Canadians. And Captain Goddard’s parents who so very bravely spoke to the nation of the sacrifices of their daughter for the good of all Canadians.
There can be no greater tribute to the soldiers and their unlimited liability that they accept on behalf of a nation than for that nation to fully and outwardly support their efforts.
by Sharon Hobson
With 2300 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, the CF is desperately trying to find the right combination of equipment and tactics to reduce the risk to life and limb to an absolute minimum. Urgent operational requirements have been issued for such items as uninhabited aerial vehicles, lightweight towed howitzers, armoured patrol vehicles, armoured logistics trucks, satellite phones, and colour cameras for the Coyote reconnaissance vehicle.
As to why the army didn't have at least some of these pieces of kit – and the means to transport them -- already in their inventory, one needs only look to the defence cuts of the 1990s for the answer.
Still, given the previous Liberal governments' proclivity for sending Canadian troops around the globe to various hot spots, it's surprising that they didn't put more resources into acquiring equipment relevant to the role. But they didn't. So now, at the same time as the military is working to undertake a "transformation", it is also having to devote resources to equipment acquisition projects that should have been taken care of years ago.
Balancing the needs of the Afghanistan commitment with the military's transformation plans is causing the planners at the Department of National Defence (DND) a lot of grief.
To complicate things more, at the same time as the planners are modifying their transformation plans, they are also having to integrate the Conservative defence preferences with the Defence Policy Statement (DPS) announced by the Liberals in April 2005.
The minority Conservative government has inherited a defence policy statement which it doesn't necessarily want to discard, but it wants to put its own spin on it.
The Liberal DPS said "a greater emphasis must be placed on the defence of Canada and North America than in the past. This must be the Canadian Forces' first priority." Certainly the Conservatives have nothing to argue with there, given their "Canada First" election promises. The Liberal document also noted "security in Canada ultimately begins with stability abroad" and "the Canadian Forces must retain a spectrum of capability to operate with our allies on international missions." Again, nothing there for the Conservatives to quibble with, particularly as the DPS goes on to say, "This is especially the case in failed and failing states ….. The Canadian Forces will focus their expeditionary capabilities on operations in these states, including in a leadership role". Afghanistan would be a prime example.
For the eight months after publication, the DND strategists concentrated on putting into place the elements to implement the DPS, including standing up four new operational commands. The details of the priorities and force structure were to be published in the Defence Capabilities Plan (DCP). In July 2005, General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff, described the capabilities plan as “an adjunct” to the DPS, and said “how we develop the capabilities is what we’re going to spend the next four to six months walking through.”
Of course, that schedule put completion of the DCP right in the middle of an election, so everything was put on hold. Now that there's been a change of government, everything has had to be reviewed, and the latest is that there will be a new policy statement and defence capabilities plan issued this fall, all in one package.
But what will that package contain? The last policy statement is only a little over a year old, and it's unlikely that the military leadership, with Hillier at the helm, is going to change its mind drastically about its vision of the future and what needs to be done to rebuild the Canadian military and restore military credibility. Therefore, the military advice to their political masters will likely be much the same.
But looking at what the Conservatives promised in the election and talked about in their May budget suggests that the DND will have to reprioritize. In addition to the Liberal plans, the Conservatives want a much larger expansion of the CF, plus the establishment of territorial battalions, an army base in B.C., and a dramatically increased Arctic presence. Consequently, some projects now on the books will have to be dropped, others added, and capabilities changed. But what capabilities will be affected and who will make the choices?
If the Minister of National Defence is set on acquiring Arctic capable ships, the navy may have to give up its frigate modernization. If the Minister wants UAVs, the air force may have to stop the upgrade of its CP-140 aircraft. The army, which is already rethinking its commitment to Strykers and the Multi-mission Effects Vehicles, will have to find a way to acquire the necessary vehicles to accompany a huge expansion in manpower. It's possible that all three services, as part of their joint effort, will have to drop or delay long-awaited programs in order to keep the Conservative promises for new territorial battalions and Arctic capabilities. And the amphibious ship may be toast.
Because there just isn't enough money to do everything. The Liberal and Conservative budgets show a huge increase in defence budgets from 2005 through 2011, but given that major defence procurements stretch over 15-20 years, the DND needs some assurances beyond 2011. The current batch of major defence acquisitions which will provide the CF with much needed transportation capabilities eat up most of the funds allocated, and there's not much flexibility left. The government's decision to change to accrual-based accounting just defers the bills, it doesn't eliminate them.
And, again, let's not forget the war in Afghanistan which has cost over $2 billion so far. Overlaying all of the government's priorities, and the planning for future military capabilities, are the demands of an operation that has all the hallmarks of continuing beyond the current commitment of 2009.
It's true that the DND has always had to balance ongoing commitments with future planning, but it's been a very long time since those ongoing commitments included a war.
What's really missing from all the planning is the promise of long term stable and predictable funding. A promise to provide the CF with the money it needs to buy the equipment it should have been buying all along, as well as the money to transform, and the money to win a war. If a government can't assure the money, it shouldn't make the commitments.
by Eric Lerhe
The increasing casualties resulting from our military commitment to Afghanistan are provoking many to call for reorienting our mission or even abandoning it. In addition, public support is declining with a majority now opposing sending Canadian troops to Afghanistan.1 Given that this mission is supported by two unanimous United Nations Security Resolutions and was agreed to in consultation with every one of our twenty-five allies in NATO, all of which are also in Afghanistan, drastic mission changes may not be merited just yet.2 On the other hand, the increasing costs in both blood and treasure suggest that the way we are conducting that mission is probably due for a mid-course assessment.
This brief paper will not purport to provide that assessment. The federal government should do that review as they have both the responsibility and the resources. This paper will argue, however, that a detailed review should concentrate on the “Defence, Diplomacy, and Development” or “3-D” construct that provides the strategic guidance to our mission to Kandahar and the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) charged with implementing it.3 It will also offer some general findings and several questions that a full review might consider.
In brief, the paper argues that while the “3-D” is our declared national strategy; it is not being adequately supported by the development part of that partnership. Further, the success of our military operations may well rest on a development programme that produces positive local results quickly, and this is not happening. Finally, this paper suggests that if CIDA is not able to provide this capacity, our military should do so.
The theory behind “3-D” suggests that a skilful combination of Canadian defence, development and diplomatic efforts can return stability to failed states and prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for terrorists.4 As a first step, any full-blown assessment must review that theory. In so doing, one probably has to accept that the concept has a strong internal logic. Why would one not expect better results if all Canada’s diplomatic, development, and defence efforts were tightly coordinated? Second, the logic parallels the efforts by our allies to coordinate these entities as seen in the United States Marine Corp’s vision of a “Three Block War” or the United Kingdom’s Conflict Prevention Pools.5 Finally, no one would suggest that crises of the sort found in Afghanistan will be solved by the simple application of military force. At the most basic level, local support for the Canadian security operations will be directly affected by how much the lives of Kandahari are improved or not by the total Canadian effort. Those with long experience in Afghanistan argue that local support may well turn to opposition if personal safety, health, and economic prospects decline instead of improving.6 A recent Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) report - “Canada in Haiti: Considering the 3-Approach” - reinforces that view arguing ”that poverty reduction is a fundamental component of any peace building initiative.”7
Offsetting those arguments are several that suggest some elements of the theory are not that sound at all. First, it is not at all clear that terror issues primarily from failed states. Saudi Arabia provided most of the 9/11 bombers, and it is by no means a “failed state.” It is equally hard to argue that the Afghanistan state that sponsored Al Qaeda qualified either. By most measures it was significantly more united, law abiding, and peaceful under the effective but allegedly unpopular Taliban than was the case before or after. This suggests that any counter-terrorist plan that relies exclusively on assisting failed states will be seriously incomplete. On the other hand, raising the ability of failed states to effectively govern themselves appears likely to reduce the threat posed by non-state terrorists, but this has not been proven in actual events.
A more immediate theoretical problem arises within the “Development” component of the 3-D concept Many key members of this community in Canada simply do not accept significant elements of that vision. CARE Canada President John Watson describes “3-D” as part of a pernicious “groupthink that is leading us towards disaster.”8 He also argues “it is a canard that military deployments are necessary to provide security for humanitarian workers to operate.” OXFAM Canada rejects coordinating activities with the military and claims that the military and development components in Afghanistan “must remain separate to avoid any perception on the part of the local population that humanitarian workers are part of the war effort.”9 In support of this view, John Watson argues “government officials” and “military officials” delivering aid are “not aid workers” but “officials of a foreign occupying power.”10 The broad Non-governmental Humanitarian Agency (NGHA) and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) thrust is that there is little cause to alter their longstanding commitment to the “impartial, neutral and independent” delivery of aid.11 In the view of the NGHA those principles offer better protection than that provided by closely coordinating their work with the military.12 Further, they argue that their assistance has a longer-range focus, more community “buy-in”, and greater overall effectiveness than direct government assistance efforts.13 No evidence supports these claims. However, one must acknowledge the NGHA community frequently offers a deep experience in the local environment that few government agencies can match. This is certainly the case in Afghanistan.
There is only slightly more evidence for those arguing the opposing view that development should be coordinated with defence and development. While the just-cited CIGI report on “3-D” in Haiti argued for close coordination, the report itself acknowledges that the overall tone amongst its participants was “deeply pessimistic” and that the six recent UN missions there have failed to have “any lasting effect in terms of stabilizing Haiti’s turbulent political situation.”14 After three years in Iraq and four in Afghanistan, it is also clear that most Western security and development efforts there, whether performed in a coordinated fashion or not, have not brought greater stability.15 A 2005 Canadian conference assessing the 3-D concept in Afghanistan assessed that the only successful 3-D application occurred within the United Kingdom’s Provincial Reconstruction Team in Northern Afghanistan - the Canadian PRT had not yet been established.16 The evidence, and it is anecdotal, suggests that the UK model, which involved a fully coordinated “command group” composed of military, political, police, and development officials, extended the rule of law and eroded opposition force legitimacy.
There are other successful operations although they do not completely follow the 3-D model. In Zabul province, adjacent to Kandahar in the southwest of Afghanistan, a U.S. PRT dominated by the U.S. military has achieved “remarkable” progress in stabilizing an area once dominated by the Taliban according to Graeme Smith of The Globe and Mail.17 In Zabul, the U.S. formula is based on the logic that “if you promise, you should do it” with the emphasis being placed on project delivery following as rapidly as possible after the initial discussion of the project with the Afghan villagers.18 Rapid action resulted primarily from their military commanders having the personal authority to spend some $30 million on development projects and some $22 million has already been disbursed.19 Local project agreement and final approval of work and funding rarely took longer than two weeks for the largest of their projects.
Today, eleven months since its start-up, an assessment of how the Canadian PRT is performing is due. While acknowledging the mixed results enjoyed by the 3-D approach elsewhere, the short time the Canadian PRT has been operating, and the more dangerous security environment found in Kandahar, the hard data suggests the implementation of the 3-D concept there is largely fiction. There is no doubting the presence of the 2,300 members of Canadian defence component, 140 of which are in the PRT.20 However, the diplomatic component appears to be represented by three people, while CIDA temporary withdrew its single representative in April 2006 as a result of the Taliban attacks.21 Since his return, he has frequently been unable to venture beyond the PRT offices.22
In addition, OXFAM Canada will not station its workers anywhere near friendly military forces in Afghanistan. CARE Canada does not cooperate on aid projects with the Canadian Forces in Kandahar and argued before Parliament that its activities elsewhere in Afghanistan were better able to deliver aid than the competing Canadian Provincial Reconstruction Team.23 Inquiries to DND and CIDA were unable to identify any other Canadian NGHA coordinating its development services with the Kandahar PRT. Beyond the military, the most active Canadian PRT component regularly working with the Afghani is an RCMP six-man team engaged in training the Afghani police.
Despite the lack of support from the rest of the development community, CIDA endorses the “whole of government” approach and states that it “fully supports” the deployment of the Canadian Kandahar PRT.24 As a way of underlining their commitment, their website site announces that Afghanistan is the “single largest recipient of bilateral aid” with some $1 billion being pledged from 2001-2009. However, most of this funding flows to national programmes largely directed by the Afghan national government and disbursed over the entire country. Only some $ 5 million per year is ultimately spent in Kandahar and such spending is not linked with the Canadian PRT.25
In fact, during the Canadian PRT’s first eleven months, CIDA only allocated some $4 million directly to PRT activities in Kandahar. Regrettably, little to nothing of this has actually been spent.26 Given that DND has spent in excess of $616 million on the first nine months of its Kandahar commitment, the overall CIDA contribution seems small indeed.24 The Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has noticed this discrepancy, but the Committee’s Chairperson reported that CIDA had “refused” to provide their Afghanistan budget details.28 This month, John Geddes suggested CIDA was now “feeling the heat” of such public questioning and that this may have spurred the agency to take steps to more obviously support the PRT.29
There are other problems beyond this small level of CIDA funding and its late arrival. Graeme Smith contrasts the rapid allocation of funds to locally approved projects in the U.S. PRT with the more ponderous bureaucratic process followed by CIDA and the U.K.’s Department of International Development. It seems even if the PRT and the local villages agree on a project, the approval must follow a delay-inducing trail up the CIDA decision chain. A USAID assessment of PRT activities in Afghanistan also remarked on the delays involved in CIDA establishing its “project funding and management process” in Kandahar.30 That assessment included concerns by some Canadian PRT members that the Afghans would interpret these delays as a lack of “equal commitment” to Afghanistan compared with the prior generosity of the U.S. effort and that would increase instability.
On occasion, the situation was even worse than that. Garth Pritchard, an embedded journalist who spent four months in Kandahar, reported that CIDA promised $100,000 for water wells and schools contracted by the Canadian military in 2005 and then reneged once they were completed.31 The delays prompted the U.S. Military and the Canadian Department of National Defence to ultimately pay the local contractors.
Certainly there are immense security problems in Kandahar. The January 2006 killing of the PRT’s political director, Glyn Berry, highlighted the risk to civilian workers and likely provoked the initial withdrawal of the CIDA representative and the temporary suspension of their activities.32 Yet when the representative was in place, the evidence suggests the small amounts of CIDA money he brought were offset by the bureaucratic delays CIDA introduced.33
Very recently CIDA started taking action in response to these criticisms. Projects are being increased, older ones are being accelerated, the single CIDA advisor at the PRT will be joined by two more, and they have partially addressed some of the cumbersome bureaucratic processes at the PRT.34 While acknowledging the dire security situation, one still has to ask how it took eleven months to achieve these very small improvements. Further, one also has to suspect that at the end of the day these improvements will not provide the Canadian PRT in Kandahar either the funding or the rapid approval process enjoyed by the US PRT in Zabul.35
It must also be acknowledged that however positive that US PRT may appear to the Globe and Mail, other observers have pointed out significant problems with the US model. Mismanagement, “marginal success” in development tasks, and duplication are cited.36 Yet the relative stability enjoyed by the Zabul province and the credit that is being given to its PRT for this suggests some aspects of that model bear closer examination. Indeed every PRT model must be examined for its ability to provide stability as well as development.
This leads to some tentative observations a fuller assessment should review:
This could well involve the military taking the lead for development under such conditions. Further, some key members of the development community share this view. Meinrad Studer of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) international organizations division begins by arguing that the ICRC should “declare its willingness to cooperate with the military and other humanitarian agencies.”37 He then concludes with:
When it is a matter of saving lives, a pragmatic approach must be taken. It is not inconceivable that in certain situations the military may be in a better position than the ICRC to carry out certain humanitarian tasks.
As has been shown, that viewpoint is not shared by much of the Canadian NHGA community. This leads to some questions that a fuller assessment might consider:
Regrettably, there is no guarantee that a more complete assessment of the Canadian 3-D approach will follow this effort. Even if it does, a detailed review will take time. Meanwhile, Canadian lives are being lost in Afghanistan. Further, the evidence is increasingly demonstrating that any development measure that improves the lives of the Afghani will result in greater support to coalition forces. This suggests that immediate action is required in advance of any such fuller study. Until that review is complete and until CIDA can generate the personnel and financial resources to re-qualify for membership in the 3-D partnership, the concept should be put into abeyance. In the interim, the military commander should be immediately given the $30 million his U.S counterparts enjoy for local development projects and, most critically, the local authority to spend it rapidly. He should be provided whatever federal officials or military officers are needed to ensure funding and project delivery follows within two weeks of a local agreement. As quickly as the security situation allows and as quickly as CIDA can generate a meaningful contribution, the military commander should return the coordination of development over to the development experts.
1 The precise question was “Do you support or oppose sending Canadian troops to Afghanistan?” with some 55% choosing to oppose sending troops. See Jeff Sallot, “Opposition to Afghan mission rises in latest poll.” Globe and Mail, 6 Aug. 2006, p 4. In Jun 2006, a CDFAI poll asked the same question and had 59% supporting the sending of Canadian troops. See CDFAI Media Poll for the Ottawa Citizen, Jun 2006, (Toronto: Innovative Research Group, Inc., 2006).
by LGen (ret’d) George Macdonald
The government’s announcements regarding the purchase of major equipment in late June are great news for the Canadian Forces. They represent the largest package of defence procurements in a generation and will certainly help to address a shortage of funding in military mobility that has persisted for years. The commitment to rectify this situation is commendable, but the government’s persistence in providing timely approval of project documentation and contracts is now needed as the procurement process proceeds. Once the aircraft are delivered, the ships are underway, and the trucks are on the road, we will have the mobility the CF needs to perform its missions.
Or will we?
The assumption that is made far too readily is that the purchase and delivery of capital equipment constitutes a new capability. Thus, it is generally felt that the acquisition of four C17 strategic transport aircraft will allow Canada to transport heavy equipment whenever and wherever it wants. Little or no mention is made of the many other capability components that must be in place to actually employ a strategic airlifter effectively. Obvious elements are the personnel needed to operate and maintain the aircraft, but we also need the infrastructure – IT and physical – to support the fleet, along with the necessary maintenance services and spares. Without these, the capability will either not exist, or it will be severely limited.
Everyone’s fixation on the purchase of equipment is not inappropriate, but we must keep in mind that this commitment is only the first step in acquiring a capability. Indeed, it usually does not even constitute the major portion of the resources spent once the lifetime operation and support costs are factored in. Therefore, when government commits to a capability in response to a policy to do something, it should be considering the complete package of elements that contribute to the provision of that capability in order to ensure first, that all are provided, and secondly, that they are provided in a balanced manner. Failure to provide ongoing maintenance or spare parts, for example, will certainly limit the effectiveness of the capability’s deployment.
The Canadian Forces have experienced the need to maintain this balance for years in their struggle with long-term sustainability issues. Chronically inadequate funding has forced reductions in areas where it is possible to make them. Take the C130 Hercules tactical transport fleet, for example. The capital expenditure for the aircraft has already been incurred, some of it as long as forty years ago. The cost of maintenance has been rising as the fleet ages, putting additional strain on air force technicians, spares support, and contracted depot repair and overhaul work. Moreover, fuel and operating costs are increasing. When budgets are cut, these ongoing financial commitments limit the options available to restrain spending. Infrastructure maintenance and replacement have been deferred; spares have been trimmed to a minimum; projects for update have been delayed; and flying hours have been cut. All of these lead to a lower level of availability, reduced training, higher unit costs for lower volume maintenance actions, and a general degradation in the longer term prognosis for the fleet – all resulting in an overall higher cost per flying hour. All in all, physical ownership of the aircraft is only one small part of the ability to maintain a viable capability.
In the application of capability-based planning, DND has traditionally identified six functional components of any capability, all of which will be represented to a greater or lesser degree:
Clearly, the distribution of these functions will vary dramatically among capabilities. Some have a heavy personnel element, while others will be weighted towards an equipment or IT component. Army-centric capabilities of equipping personnel will be balanced differently than would a navy or air force focus. Throughout, an awareness of these functional groupings assists in recognizing the broader requirements of any capability and the need to develop all contributing elements in parallel so as to arrive at a viable conclusion.
Government has demonstrated an initial understanding of this principle by including the cost of long-term, in-service support as part of the up-front project costs. Recent announcements have identified the estimated costs, for example, of twenty years of support. While this phenomenon may have been precipitated by a desire to hold one contractor accountable for the provision and support of each major equipment fleet, it has served to identify a larger portion of the resources needed to enable the full capability.
Having said this, one major and persistent disconnect is the provision of personnel for a capability. For example, the recent announcement to purchase a medium-heavy helicopter has significant personnel implications. The CF does not currently operate any of these helicopters, and the expertise developed when the military previously owned a fleet of Chinooks has long since disappeared. Initial training will be needed not only for the aircrew, but also for the technicians and engineers who will support the fleet. A training unit will have to be established to conduct much of that initial training. Experienced personnel drawn from other air force operations to enable these functions will have to be replaced – and that can only be done over a period of several years. If the fleet is to be deployed globally, as is expected to be the case, additional personnel and training will be needed to operate properly in the field. While lessons learned by allies can be exploited for the introduction of a new fleet, it will take several years to generate a full understanding of the aircraft and its operating characteristics in Canadian conditions. It will also take time for the CF to develop the most efficient and effective ways to employ the helicopters to ensure that they meet our needs.
Overall, capabilities typically take years to acquire and mature. Even then, the doctrine under which they are employed may change and require adjustments that could ripple through all functionalities of a capability. The balance of resources allocated to any one aspect will increase or decrease as maturity and confidence take over. Ongoing government support is needed to ensure that the resources required to maintain the capability are in place and available to those responsible for it.
The Conservative Government has been commended for its commitment to the CF in accelerating this return to sustainability and the acquisition of new equipment. It will be critical, however, to continue that support in advancing the five announced projects through to fruition. Additional commitments will be needed this fall (and beyond) to address other capabilities needed to respond to the government’s strategic defence initiatives. Throughout, a holistic view should be taken of these capabilities to avoid a fixation on their capital equipment components. Otherwise, the CF will achieve only sub-optimal results in what should be a period of renewal and revitalization.
1 Department of National Defence, “Capability Based Planning for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces,” 27 May 2002, 25–28.
by Scot Robertson
On his recent visit to Afghanistan, Minister of National Defence Gordon O’Connor opined that the national media’s coverage of Canada’s mission was not altogether accurate or thorough would undoubtedly result in much hand wringing amongst the fourth estate. The upshot of O’Connor’s comment was to suggest that the Canadian public was only getting part of the story, namely the coverage of Canadian and allied casualties, to the virtual exclusion of all else.
Most Canadians, were they to reflect a bit more deeply on the situation, would probably agree with O’Connor’s assessment. Even granting that the month of August was indeed a bleak one, with Canadian casualties coming with distressing regularity, and that the press focussed almost exclusively on this part of the mission, there is surely much more to be considered by the fourth estate. However, few in the media seemed interested in exploring these other aspects. Few were asking what the cause behind the up tick in violence was. The story line set out on the front-pages was that Canadian soldiers were dying. Beyond that, there was little or no discussion or analysis, except for the odd suggestion that because Canadians were dying, perhaps we should consider ending the mission early and leave Afghanistan to its fate.
Why one should be surprised at this one-dimensional press coverage is something of a surprise in itself. We know that coverage of a conflict is notoriously difficult at the best of times. It requires of the journalist a rare blend of expertise, courage and fortitude. It demands that the journalist go out beyond the wire as it were, and accompany the troops on patrol, enduring the heat, hardship and danger. It requires that the journalist become passingly familiar with the local circumstances and conditions underlying the conflict. It asks that the journalist become familiar with the political, military and diplomatic considerations of the parties to the conflict. Finally, to top it off, the journalist needs to become something of a student of the military as an organization. In short, it calls for a journalist to devote many years to becoming a war correspondent. Unfortunately, the media seems dis-inclined to develop war correspondents.
Hence Mr. O’Connor’s lament, and hence the rather shallow coverage accorded to this extremely complex situation. What Canadian viewers and readers seem to be getting is report after report of a roadside bomb, a suicide bomber attack, or a mortar attack killing or wounding a Canadian soldier. (Rarely is their any mention of the killing or wounding of Afghan Army or National Police personnel or other coalition troops.) This is followed by coverage of the casket being solemnly borne onto a Hercules aircraft to be flown back to Canada. And then, the story is played out again. This seems to be the sum total of the media’s treatment of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.
Hopefully, Mr. O’Connor’s call for broader and deeper coverage of the mission will be heeded. Canadian’s deserve better and more substantial coverage and discussion of a mission as important as Afghanistan. Given that, on the one hand, the Government has extended the mission to 2009, yet on the other hand, Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party has called for the mission to be ended, it would seem to behove the press to begin to explore some of the deeper issues that are part of the Afghanistan mission. Only then, it would seem, might Canadians be in a better position to understand the nature of the mission, the tasks ahead for the Canadian contribution to the overall mission, and the way ahead.
A few such questions, although by no means an exhaustive list, is set out below:
These questions and countless others deserve some attention in the press. While Mr. O’Connor’s recent statement will undoubtedly be condemned as a case of the military and the government attempting to “direct” the news, it would be a shame if the press were not to take stock of how it has approached the overall story thus far. While one should in no way overlook the human tragedy involved when a Canadian soldier dies or is grievously injured, there is a larger story as well. Mr. O’Connor’s desire that much more of the story be communicated to readers, viewers and listeners in Canada is one that many other Canadians share.
by MGen (ret’d) Cameron Ross
The UN has been able to obtain commitments from some 20 countries to provide over 7,000 troops to a 15,000 soldier peacekeeping force in Lebanon. This is impressive array of countries includes NATO members, neutral (Sweden), Muslim countries, and even the US; but not Canada.
At a time when there is some soul searching amongst Canadians regarding the combat role and associated Canadian deaths in Afghanistan, one would think the Government would leap at an opportunity to return to the familiar and comfortable world of UN peacekeeping. They have not. Why?
“A troubled region has just experienced a month-long, inter-state conflict. A fragile ceasefire has finally been brokered. There is an urgent need to deploy peacekeepers to keep the ceasefire in place. However, there has been difficulty in finding troops for this UN peacekeeping force. Finding a lead country has also been problematic. How would you advise the Prime Minister?”
The above scenario applies to the recent Israel-Lebanon crisis. But it also could be applied to scenarios in the 1970’s to 90’s. It is a classic problem for military students at staff colleges around the world. All to say, the decision making process is not rocket science. But it is dependant on a myriad of factors, the key ones of which warrant review.
Most significantly, the Israeli-Lebanese conflict is an inter-state conflict as opposed to intra-state. Examples of the latter would be Rwanda and Somalia. While we have been led to believe that this has been an Israeli-Hezbollah crisis, we need to be reminded that Hezbollah, as an armed militia, has been allowed to operate within the state of Lebanon. The democratically elected government of Lebanon has not only condoned Hezbollah existence in southern Lebanon, it has permitted the movement of large amounts of cash and weaponry across the Syrian/Lebanese border. While Lebanese customs agents check cars on the Damascus-Beirut highway for banned contraband, convoys of trucks with katyushas are allowed passage. So this is a Lebanese-Israeli vice Israeli-Hezbollah issue.
The fact that this is an inter-state conflict is not trivial. The parties to the conflict, in this case the governments of Lebanon and Israel, must agree to the terms of the ceasefire and agree to the stationing of foreign troops on their soil. Armed troops at that. Troops that have the authority to use lethal force. Against whom? Attacking Israelis? Armed Hezbollah?
UN Security Council Resolution 1701 should be analyzed to determine the legal foundation that would protect a Canadian soldier with UNIFIL-2 should he/she kill a Lebanese or Israeli.
UNSCR 1701 passed on 11 August comes under Chapter 6 of the UN Charter titled “Pacific Settlement of Disputes”. Chapter 6 resolutions are most often applied when the parties to the conflict want a settlement. In essence, bullets are no longer in the air. The peacekeeping force is deployed along or close to the inter-state boundary, mostly as a confidence building solution until a longer-lasting political solution can be achieved. Such was the case in 1974 on the Golan Heights; UNDOF is still there between Syrian and Israeli troops. Similarly, UNMEE operated between Ethiopia and Eritrea. They were classic UN deployments and successful ones at that.
However, the wording of UNSCR 1701 is hugely problematic. 1701 calls for Lebanon “to exercise its full sovereignty, so that there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the government of Lebanon”. It also states “…the establishment between (Israel) and the Litani River of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL”. This implies the disarming of Hezbollah. But 1701 does not say who does the disarming. There are only four entities that can do so. The Israelis tried, but failed. The Hezbollah certainly are not going to do it unilaterally. Their Deputy Leader, Sheikh Naim Kassem, said on 26 August that Hezbollah will keep its weapons despite international pressure to disarm. And the Lebanon Defence Minister has said “the army (Lebanese) is not going…to strip Hezbollah of weapons and do the work Israel did not”. That leaves the UN. But, 1701 does not permit the use of force to disarm Hezbollah; which then begs the question of why an armed force is being deployed in the first place. They can defend themselves but they cannot intervene when a Hezbollah katyusha rocket is launched from Lebanese soil into Israel.
Israel and other countries wanted a SCR under Chapter 7. Resolutions under Chapter 7 pit the international community against at least one of the parties to the conflict as opposed to being a neutral policeman under Chapter 6. Chapter 7 peacekeeping forces come with a big stick. Presumably, had a Chapter 7 resolution been applied, UN forces could use lethal force (the ‘big stick’) to disarm Hezbollah. Such is not the case.
The last point about 1701 is that it ‘calls for a full cessation of hostilities’ between Israel, a democratically elected member of the UN, and Hezbollah, a terrorist organization without legitimate international recognition (save Syria and Iran) whose purpose is to destroy Israel. This sets a dangerous precedent in elevating the prestige of such illegitimate organizations. These increasingly prolific entities crave recognition. 1701 does not provide the means for managing the consequences of not following international law. The UN does not have jurisdiction over Hezbollah, at least not under Chapter 6. It is Lebanon, a UN member, which has such jurisdiction; thereby providing further justification for the inter-state premise.
So, one blip on the ‘DO NOT GO’ radar screen.
Recall that Israel preferred a NATO or similar force with a robust mandate. Why NATO and not a UN force which presumably would have greater international legitimacy? There are many reasons but foremost is Israel’s chequered experience with the UN.
Israel has to contend with five multinational forces on or within its borders – arguably more than any other country in the world.
UNIFIL. The UN Interim Force in Lebanon has been in existence since 1978. With almost 2,000 troops from eight countries under a French commander, it has been powerless to stop past Hezbollah attacks and certainly was helpless in this latest round.UNIFIL-2 has an authorized strength of 15,000 troops.UNDOF. The UN Disengagement Observer Force has been on the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel since 1974. 1,046 troops from seven countries under a Nepalese commander are armed but only for defensive purposes. UNTSO. The UN Truce Supervisory Organization is the mother of all peacekeeping entities. Formed in 1948, it is the only PKF with an unlimited mandate. Whereas other UN Peacekeeping Forces, like UNIFIL and UNDOF, require every 6 to 12 months the host nation’s agreement for continuance, UNTSO does not. The 155 unarmed UN Military Observers from 23 countries under a commander from New Zealand operate in five Middle Eastern countries: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Israel. TIPH. The Temporary International Presence in Hebron has been ‘temporary’ since 1974. Non-UN, unarmed observers from six countries have been ‘observing’ Hebron in the aftermath of the shooting rampage of an Israeli settler in 1994. MFO. The Multinational Force of Observers, another non-UN, independent international organization whose about 1,800 armed soldiers from eleven countries under an Italian commander operate on the Sinai peninsula between Egypt and Israel, who each pay 1/3 of the cost and, with the US, have a say in the MFO’s operation.
Arguably, Israel is most satisfied with UNDOF and MFO as organizations that achieve their aims. While UNTSO equally does so, Israel is uncomfortable with its wide-ranging mandate and its ability to report on Israeli transgressions. Least successful has been UNIFIL. The latter’s inability to stop Hezbollah attacks has infuriated the Knesset. The photos and video of the kidnapping of IDF soldiers by Hezbollah near Mt. Hermon several years ago was especially grating. The UN’s initial denial of such imagery only to be caught out later sealed the credibility fate of UNIFIL in Israeli eyes.
Israel has, over the years, also experienced the lack of discipline associated with many UN forces. Corruption, smuggling and generally lower professional standards have been common. In fairness to the UN, it must recruit from the world and attempt to have regional representation. What is an acceptable standard to one country is an affront to another. The picture in the 26 August National Post of a Sikh manned UNIFIL outpost with ‘Singh is King’ written in bold letters is a case in point. Compare that to the order of the US-led coalition earlier this year to lower national and unit flags in Kandahar in case they offended the local Afghans. Memories of the ineffectiveness of UNPROFOR in former Yugoslavia are still clear. As are the memories of the rapid and dramatically positive impact that NATO had when it relieved UNPROFOR. So it would have been better to seek a NATO rather than a UN force.
However, NATO has its own challenges. It is just expanding in its first out-of-theatre deployment in Afghanistan. In early August, it assumed the responsibilities for the volatile southern Afghan provinces from the US. And there continues to be staff planning for a deployment into Darfur. While European casernes are replete with uniformed troops, there has been a constant challenge in finding European troops to maintain a presence in Afghanistan. A second ‘operational front’ out-of-theatre (Europe) may be a bridge too far for NATO.
There is little doubt that NATO planners advised against deploying a robust force to Lebanon. Besides the problems of the wording of the mandate and associated Rules of Engagement, NATO is essentially a Christian organization that is more and more being criticized every time an Afghan Muslim is killed. A similar scenario in Lebanon would have repercussions in European countries that are already skittish about the impact of Muslim 5th columns and other emerging religious radical groups.
A recent CDFAI poll indicated that while Canadians support a NATO peacekeeping force in Lebanon (58% support; 20% oppose), they are split regarding Canadian participation.
So, as the advisor to PM Harper, your case against participation seems solid. You collect your brief and are ready to advise the great one when a late plea is heard:
“…but this is the UN. We have always supported the UN through good and bad. And we, with Denmark, have led the charge for a standing UN rapid deployment force (SHIRBRIG). Furthermore, two previous governments (Chrétien and Martin) signed up to the “early in, early out” concept. Plus the polls are going soft on Afghanistan. Lebanon would be an easy out; maybe even save some Canadian lives. And lastly, it would be in Canada’s interest –there were 50,000 Canadians in Lebanon crying out for help”.
While credible considerations, they do not surmount the most critical obstacle against deployment. The mandate of UNIFIL under UNSCR 1701 is not achievable. Whether 5,000 or 50,000 troops deploy, they will not have the authority to disarm Hezbollah and it is clear that the Lebanese government, through the Lebanese Army will not disarm them. As a Lebanese Sergeant has been quoted many times; “Hezbollah and the Army are united. We are one. My brother is Hezbollah, so why would I want to take his weapon?”
So, as much as there is a desire to see a long-lasting resolution to the conflict, it will not be through UNSCR 1701. Perhaps it will be through a subsequent resolution – one that has teeth. Such a resolution is improbable in the short term. For the next months/year, we are likely to see the fragile ceasefire holding. Hopefully, we will see a strengthening of resolve of the Lebanese electorate to pressure their fractured government to act more like a sovereign state. What other country condones the existence of an armed militia, within its borders, whose sole existence is to destroy a neighbouring country?
What we can hope for most is to heed the sage advice of Dennis Ross. As President Clinton’s special Middle East coordinator, he is one of the few that can be legitimately called a Middle East expert. His advice? Go to Damascus. It is there where the key to a long-lasting Middle East settlement lies. Leveraging Syria’s huge dependency on European economic support, a French-led EU initiative in lock step with a revitalized US Middle East policy could achieve a long-lasting solution.
1701 deals with a tactical problem. The strategic solution is not far from the Damascene El-Hamidiyeh souk. And it is there where Canada can contribute most – at the political/diplomatic level, not at the military tactical level.
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