MCC responds to government’s re-tooled mission in Syria and Iraq

Prime Minister Trudeau recently announced Canada’s new policy to address the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria. The announcement highlighted Canada’s new humanitarian, diplomatic, and military approaches in the region. As promised, direct participation in the coalition-led bombing campaign has ended, although indirect involvement through reconnaissance and refuelling continues. The government promised to increase aid to $1.1 billion over three years and to beef up diplomacy in the region. Militarily, Canada also committed to tripling its contingent of Canadian soldiers engaged in training, advising, and assisting Kurdish forces in northern Iraq. In response, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, welcoming the non-military components of the Government of Canada’s new policy, particularly its commitment to increasing diplomacy and humanitarian aid to the region. The letter affirmed humanitarian and diplomatic measures that address deep-rooted political, social, and economic grievances. It also expressed concerns that Canada’s anti-Islamic State military efforts are contributing to the emergence of local and regional armed organizations that weaken the state structures necessary for long-term stability.—MCC Ottawa

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