03.26.2015 11:00 AM

ISIS: I am confused, as usual

Opposing the Obama-led international coalition for whatever reason is one thing. But to actually suggest we have now somehow become allies of Syria’s despicable regime is, well, despicable.


  1. Brendan Denovan says:

    If Canada is not limiting the military movements of the Assad regime while suppressing ISIS, this could lead to Assad consolidating his position or expanding the territory he controls. Condemning him is pointless if we enable that, even if it is unintended.

    • jeff316 says:

      Bingo. Someone gets it.

    • Matt says:

      So you think, as an example:

      Canadian planes in the air recieve word a couple truck loads of ISIL fighters are crossing back into Syria from Iraq and they need to be taken out. Now if they have crossed the boarder our planes can’t touch them. By this time next week, our planes will be able to destroy them.

      And that helps Assad?

      • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

        You are right, Matt. There is no longer a border at that North East part of Syria. It is ISIL territory now. They are moving freely back and forth there. It just makes sense to NOT stop bombing there.

      • edward nuff says:

        two planes are flying over Syria. The Syrian one is about to drop barrel bombs on civilians. The other one is Canadian on it’s way to drop bombs on Isis. should the Canadian plane shoot down the Syrian plane or continue towards Isis? One choice supports Assad and the other one not so much. Well?

    • Domenico says:

      I also concur. Syria is a five sided mess.

      This is all about Harper playing the terrorist card because he can’t run on the economy, the environment, job creation, having the most transparent Canadian government in history, scientific freedom, choice of senators, or more prisons for less crime (aka crime is down, BS is up).

  2. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Ridiculous beyond belief, isn’t it.

    Watching the opposition twist itself into tight little self righteous knots for no more than the mere sake of being against whatever Harper is for is becoming quite the spectacle.

    • smelter rat says:

      Funny, I always thought you Conbots were in favour of the rule of law.

      • Al in Cranbrook says:

        Rule of law? And, pray tell, exactly where does the “rule of law” apply to ISIS, and an imaginary border that, by any definition worth mentioning, no longer exists.

        And I’ll let you in on who “gets it”, all too well.


        • smelter rat says:

          Nice deflection. Please tell us what legal authority we have to enter Syrian airspace to drop bombs on people.

          • Ray says:

            ISIS, Rat, not people. They’re dropping bombs on ISIS.
            “People” don’t crucify children, decapitate innocents, or execute by immolation.

    • Howard Moon says:

      Bingo. Someone doesn’t get it

    • cgh says:

      Of course it’s ridiculous, Al. Having invented things like R2P they’re now forced into denying all the pious hypocrisies they’ve been mouthing for the last couple of decades.

      • wsam says:

        And, yet, you support what you label pious hypocrisies … Wow. You are a really profoud thinker. Deep.

        • Warren says:

          Hey S: cool it with ad hominem.

          • cgh says:

            That’s all right, Warren. They’re still just annoyed after getting bitch-slapped yesterday over lack of principles. They’re even more annoyed that the Canadian public doesn’t share their views. A sure and certain sign you’ve won is when the opposition starts name-calling. Ad hominems are their concession speeches.

          • Howard Moon says:

            At least CGH has a career in comedy

          • davie says:

            I am mulling over the connotations of the term ‘bitch slap.’

            Let’s get together and forget using it, any time, any where, ever again.

      • Al in Cranbrook says:

        cgh, as the old adage puts it: Talk is cheap, it takes real money to buy good whiskey.

        That said, can’t help but imagine a great many long time Liberals are entering into a state of grieving over the all too apparent death of the LPC they used to know and admire.

        • wsam says:

          As an old time Liberal I can tell you it is nothing like what old time Conservatives feel about watching their principled and intellegent Progressive Conservative Party be taken over by a bunch of FOX NEWS watching Tea-Party fanatics who dismiss science and contrary views unless it is related to extracting petrol and are about as far from Canada’s traditional Conservative mainstream as Stephen Harper’s ridiculous making-Canada-irrelevant and an intellectual-backwater ‘foreign policy’ is from Brain Mulroney’s role in helping, for example, end white racist rule in South Africa.

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            As someone who has voted Socred provincially and federally, for Mulroney’s PCs once only, Reform, CA, CPC and even for the BC Liberals, I can tell you categorically that that’s a load of nonsense…politely speaking.

            The PCs were Liberal Light, end of story. And they made no bones about marginalizing anyone within their ranks whom even remotely resembled anything “Conservative”. For a brief period, Mulroney managed to bridge that gap, but eventually turned his back on his western base. And Joe Clark went out of his way to drive that bus home.

            The Tea Party didn’t even exist in anyone’s imagination in those days. And it bears mentioning that the PCs went after Harper to run for their leadership.

            What we have now, for the first time in memory, is somewhat of a balance in federal politics, thank you very much Preston Manning! That said, by far the most “centrist” party in this country is the CPC, with the Liberals and NDP duking it out over who can be the most leftwing. If traditional “Blue Liberals” had any notions at all that this latest leadership gambit was going to return their party to the center, the last year has pretty much trashed those hopes…and certainly this debate over Canada’s role in dealing with an international terrorist threat has driven that message home in no uncertain terms.

            Here’s a little tip for you: The majority of Canadian voters don’t give a good GD about ideology, “progressive” or otherwise. What they care about is common sense, morality, sound economic/financial policy (meaning jobs and opportunity, with fair taxation), and leadership both at home and on the world stage. He/she who comes closest to that will win the big prize.

        • cgh says:

          Al, I used to admire the old LPC. It had principles and generally it stuck to them. We may not have agreed with all of them, but it had them notwithstanding. At some point, it morphed into purely a quest for political power. And as its hunger for power visibly increased, its political support has decreased. During the political maelstrom of the past decade, it’s become increasingly less clear to the Canadian public what the LPC really stands for now. All you need do is look at the commentary on this and similar threads of Warren’s over the past several weeks. It’s all about political domestic advantage, some about tactics within the ME and virtually nothing about a principled basis for dealing with ISIS.

          A democracy can only function when an opposition party can be considered sufficiently credible and competent to form a government. With all of the opportunism and purely tactical flip-flopping, it’s no longer clear that the LPC has any clear set of principles in which it believes. Just my guess, but I think that what the LPC had in that regard was burned out of it during the long and bloody Chretien-Martin civil war.

          • wsam says:

            Bruce Carson. Porter. These appointees, the latter the head of oversight for our spies no less,operated according to what principles? Self-enrichment?

            What principle is involved in not respecting Canada’s constitutional obligations toward its native communities?

          • cgh says:

            So by focusing on a select group of individuals you’re acknowledging the point that the LPC now has no fundamental principles?
            Do you really want to get into a name-dropping contest of all the bad appointments the LPC has made during its years of governing?
            And I wouldn’t talk about constitutional obligations if I were you. Otherwise you might have to deal with why the LPC supposedly ignored all those obligations for all its decades in government.

    • DonW says:

      Al, Do you not find it strange that the same crowd that likes to remind us how the West failed to intervene to stop the carnage in Rwanda is now suddenly so squeamish about using military intervention to stop ISIS from slaughtering civilians? How can our lack of intervention in Rwanda be a failure, but our intervention against ISIS also be failure?

  3. reader says:

    It doesn’t and I’m sure Mulcair is aware of that but hoping Canadians aren’t informed enough to know the difference.

    On the other hand, Trudeau’s argument that it could help Assad is one that even the White House is worried about so they are taking additional actions, not just bombing, to try to prevent that. They are supporting anti-Assad (who are also anti-ISIS of course) groups within Syria, and looking for additional ones to support. Tricky business but they realize how necessary it is to do what they can to mitigate the benefit to Assad is killing off some of his opposition. Even still many US experts worry about this and other aspects.

    • wsam says:

      The article I posted from Foreign Policy on the dangers of Israel touches on this. Assad is reportedly preparing to launch a Hezbullah-led offensive into the South East (if I remember). This is where secular-anti-Assad Syrian forces and Islamic anti-Assad forces (basically el Queada) have managed to co-operate against Islamic State. Assad is believed to want to take back this region. Apparently Assad’s regular army is increasingly overshadowed by Hezbullah trained militias, consisting of local Syrians and Shia foreigners. These groups are reported to be extremely ideologically motivated, especially believing in Shia Twelver mythology.

      Things keep getting worse.

    • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      Trudeau didn`t just say we were helping Assad. He went as far as to say that we were an Ally! He seems to have absolutely no control over his mouth. Is he becoming a Tea Party of the left person? What the heck?

      • reader says:

        Are you confusing Mulcair & Trudeau? Mulcair said ally but Trudeau has not according to his speeches and the news reports. Trudeau made the same point many US experts are making.

        • smelter rat says:

          Don’t confuse Elisabeth with facts, it ruins the narrative.

          • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

            See either Tues. or Wednesday`s QP. I was watching C-pac as usual, and he either said it in QP or the scrum afterward.

            Also, Smelter Rat, (Trail B.C.?), you do yourself no favours being so bitchy and rude all the time.

          • reader says:

            To Elizabeth: No Trudeau did not say that in QP, and you can go back to CPAC and check what you thought you heard. As for scrums on this Trudeau is quoted in multiple media always making the same point that bombing ISIS in Syria can be expected to consolidate Assad’s power. This is not controversial, the White House says the same thing and is working to lessen this by funding/aiding rebel groups at the same time.

            Suggesting Harper is treating Assad as an ally is very different than Trudeau’s point, so don’t confuse the two.

  4. davie says:

    Any cooperation between Liberals and NDP, any support fro Bloc, or Greens, or anyone else, is a ‘coalition,’ and should be viewed as a coup overturning an elected Prime Minister.
    Any actions that help the Assad side in the Syrian civil war can in no way be called an ‘alliance.’
    Control of ‘definitions’ is a
    key to power.

    A part of this I especially like is that, in addition to helping out a repressive Shia Muslim regime in Baghdad, we are on the side of 2 outlaw biker gangs from Germany and Netherlands who are with the Kurd forces.

    Our Minister of Safety has conflated Islamic State with murders of 2 soldiers here in Canada.
    But we are not allied to Assad.

    My timeline is …1. Sept 7th, we announce we are sending our military to Iraq to oppose Islamic State; …2. Sept 22nd, Islamic State guy says all believers should attack Canada and Canadians.
    The Minister of Safety, and fellow cabinet members and their supporters start history with #2, over and over again. (Half truths are now a Canadian value.)
    But don’t say that bombing Islamic State is what an ally of Assad would do.

    I suppose if the cabinet can call the murders of the 2 soldiers here and the hostage taking in an Australian city by an emotional cripple as part of the world threat of Islamic State calling for us to bomb the people of a sovereign state, then it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that we are allying ourselves with Assad.

  5. Marcus says:

    One of the dumbest talking points yet proffered in Canadian politics. Assad has not controlled this territory in three years. We have vigorously condemned the Assad regime in every possible international fora. Southeastern Syria is being used as a staging ground for ISIS attacks across the border in Iraq, and its civilians are being subjected to unspeakable atrocities. I’m actually very surprised either opposition party was willing to adopt this bizarre talking point.

    • davie says:

      Mmh…I dunno, Marcus. The borders tell us where a sovereign state begins and ends. Judging control can be tricky. (How much of our northern territories do we control? ) We have laws, including international laws, to avoid violent conflicts.

      On this bombing of Iraq (25 years, off and on…with some toxins that linger on), and now , of Syria, I think of the ways that bombing can work. It destroys people, of course, but also infrastructure, and ability of anyone to govern. Libya is a recent example. In the early 1970’s we (okay, USA) spread the Vietnam war to Cambodia, bombing people, infrastructure, making governance impossible, and leaving a vacuum for Khmer Rouge to take over. Destroying the infrastructure and ability to govern allows the worst of society to take over.

  6. Africon says:

    From – http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/09/americas-strategy-failing-world-complex-use-enemy-enemy-friend-strategy.html

    A letter to the editor published in the Financial Times last month stated:

    Sir, Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad!

    Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.

    But Gulf states are pro-Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!

    Iran is pro-Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!

    Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the U.S.!

    Gulf states are pro-U.S. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro-Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!

    Welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.

    And now a brand new “enemy” or “friend” – lets bomb Yemen……..

    The ancient idea that “The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend” is widely attributed to the Arabs – go figure.

  7. Mr. D says:

    So, Mulcair wants us to respect Syrian borders while ISIL are finding haven there? If that’s a lawyer’s take on fighting a war against terrorism I shudder to think of Mulcair as PM of Canada. Trudeau doesn’t know what to do other than gently flip flop and blur his position until the smoke clears.

  8. Matt says:

    The opposition is throwing every excuse for not supporting this at the wall hoping something sticks.

    No stated mission objective – Well, yes actually there is. Degrade ISIL and stop their advance to allow time for ground forces in the region to train an fight a ground war.

    Two days ago they claim they can’t support the mission because hitting specific ISIL targets in Syria will help Assad.

    Then yesterday they claim they won’t support the mission because we don’t have permission from the Syrian government and that breaks international law.

    Anyone see Robert Fife on CTV National News last night? Paraphrasing:

    I have spoken with several Liberal MP’s whou have said Trudeau has been completely outmanoeuvred by the PM on this file, and fear if Harper is successful at making security and terrorism the ballot question, the Liberals are in deep trouble.

    • Mr. D says:

      Several weeks ago, Liberal MP Garneau stated that the next election will be fought on the issues of “the economy and security”. I wish he was the leader of the Liberal party rather than the clown puppet they installed in their desperation. Marc would have garnered great credibility and authenticity as a Canadian PM everybody would be proud of.

  9. wsam says:

    The US has admitted to actively co-ordinating with Assad’s Syrian forces (increasingly under Iranian leadership as in Iraq, see Tikirt) so that Assad’s anti-aircraft missiles (supplied by Iran and Russia) do not shoot down coalition planes. Planes which are bombing targets (ISIL) that are opposed to Assad’s rule. Targets which Assad largely leaves alone, because they are so evil, in order to justify his continued rule, as better than the ISIL alternative — which he helped create and grow.

    I guess Assad and the US are not exchanging ambassadors. No formal peace treaty has been signed. Obama hasn’t travelled to Damascus. Thus enabling denialists to stick their fingers in their ears and close their eyes tight, to sleep a deep comfortable sleep under the warm padded blanket of their moral clarity, protected from the messy, conflicting reality and divergent priorities which defines the Syrian and Iraqi reality.

  10. wsam says:

    Canada could be headed for a nightmare foreign policy scenario.

    The old order in the Middle East, forged after World War I, has collapsed. US President Barack Obama’s persistent effort to improve relations with Iran is not a short-term security goal but a long-term one, thawing a relationship frozen for three decades. Chances of a rapprochement between the US and Iran are real. A nuclear deal is in the interest of both countries.


    However, normalizing relations with Iran will not happen overnight. Saudi Arabia and Israel will remain allies regardless. The lesson the United States learned from the Shah’s fall still applies: don’t place all your eggs in one basket. Blocking Iranian expansion remains a US goal.

    Iran appears ascendant almost everywhere. In Syria, analysts are referring to that country’s ‘Hezbollahization’, right on Israel’s border. The Saudis are struggling to contain Iranian influence in Yemen.


    As a trade-dependent middle-power, Canada traditionally has sought to mitigate tension between its allies. Now an era of real tension between the US and Israel seems to be emerging. Not over settlements. But over Iran. On this file, U.S. and Israeli interests are diverging. This is potentially very uncomfortable for Canada.

    While we have a good relationship with Tel Aviv, Stephen Harper is not exactly welcome in Washington where his foreign policy views, if they get noticed at all, are considered laughable. So far, Stephen Harper’s one-sided comments on the Middle East have served mainly to inflame tensions, rather than dispel them. This has been noticed.

    Canada’s persistent nightmare is being forced to choose between allies. If Iran and the US do sign a nuclear deal, that nightmare could soon be reality.

    • Henry says:

      That is not Canada’s persistent nightmare (where did you dream that one up?); furthermore, the so-called “nightmare” is nowhere near “reality,” even if the Iran deal goes through. First, Iran and the U.S. are not going to be best buddies anytime soon, even if a deal is struck; second, the current Iranian “dominance” is paper-thin and could evaporate at any time due to either internal or external factors.

      • wsam says:

        Yes it is. I didn’t dream anything up. I know this because I know and understand Canada’s diplomatic and military history very well, having studied it among other things. That was why Bush’s invasion of Iraq was so wrenching. Canada had to actually make a decision.

        Harper is not praised in the US outside of right-wing, insane clown posse, media. These are the kind of friends you are better off not having. He is not praised by the current administration. Who are in charge. The current adminsitration having to fix the disaster created by Bush the Younger who took decisions Stephen Harper applauded and later had to admit he was wrong to support.

        The situation in the Middle East is because of Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Harper supported those decisions. He later admitted he was wrong.

      • wsam says:


        Name a few of the factors which would lead to a reversal of Iranian influence? Explain your point. There are some. Let’s see if you can identify them.

        Give me examples? Rather than just emitting a series of brain farts.

    • Al in Cranbrook says:


      God help the US, and the rest of the world, get through the rest of this useless clown’s presidency!

      As for Harper in Washington? In my entire 60 year lifetime I have never heard anything even remotely resembling the praise and admiration out of Washington and the US for a Prime Minister of Canada such as Harper has received.

      • wsam says:

        Examples …

      • smelter rat says:

        Good grief. If you think Washington has ANY respect at all for Harper, you’re more delusional than i thought. Harper will be a historical asterisk, Obama will go down as one of the most influential Presidents ever. You read it here first.

        • Africon says:

          You mean among all those Republican Senators and Congressmen in DC?
          You do realize that there are now more Republican Governors than anytime since the 1920’s.
          DC has changed a lot in the last 8 years, Smelter.

          Highest number of food stamp recipients in history.
          Added more debt than all previous Presidents combined – far, far worse than our PM.
          Worst foreign policy record in a very long time- outmaneuvered by Putin, Assad, Iran and the Chinese and no longer trusted by numerous former allies.
          Lowest rate of unionization in decades.
          Highest use of Drones to attack without due process.

          Let’s see if the US Dollar is still the world’s reserve currency by the time that fool leaves office.

          Yup, a record to be proud of.

  11. Mr. D says:

    The intellectual mentality of the Canadian electorate cannot cope with more than two election issues at a time, and will likely make their voting decision on only one issue. It’s called the K.I.S.S. Political Strategy.

    e.g. the economic issue – “what’s in it for me?”; and/or, the security issue – “kill those flucking terrorists in the ME before they come back to Canada and kill us” !

    Everything else is totally irrelevant!

  12. wsam says:

    This could have been clearer. It should read: “Saudi Arabia and Israel will remain allies with the US regardless.”

  13. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    The West is full of shit. They can’t walk and chew gum at the same time: raids on ISIL are the be-all and end-all. Scheduling raids also on Assad? Not bloody likely. Disingenuous hypocrites.

  14. davie says:

    This thing in Yemen could boil over. KSA and about 8 other Arab nations are attacking the Houthi (Shia) rebels, and it almost looks to me as though the ones who are our allies against Islamic State (KSA and Jordan) are putting more into this attack than they are into going after Islamic State. My ‘boil over’ though comes from Iran telling KSA and its coalition to back off.
    We Westerners have padded our pension accounts with investments in companies that have sold a lot of weapons to all these players…a lot of weapons. KSA says it is mobilizing 150 thousand soldiers for this Yemen thing.

    By the by, Kuwait, where we are based, is one of the states attacking the Houthi in Yemen…you know, Kuwait, next door to Iran , which is saying assertive things…

    • Africon says:

      Davie, since long before the time of Lawrence of Arabia most everything in the ME is –

      1/ Tribal
      2/ A centuries old feud between Sunni Muslims and Apostate (to the Sunni) Shia Muslims.
      Turkey, although Sunni are not trusted since the days of the Ottoman Empire when they ruled most of the ME.

      Place every country involved into “ruled by” Sunni or Shia and it will all makes sense.
      ISIS is Sunni – albeit extreme fundamental Sunni.

  15. Jack McLeod says:

    Tyrant synonyms:
    Ian Smith Rhodesia
    Reza Pahlavi Shah of Iran
    Muammar Ghaddifi Libya
    Sadaam Hussein Iraq
    Hosni Mubarak Egypt
    Now we can add Bashar Assad to the LIST!
    Of the fore mentioned “Regimes” that that were deposed by “what ever means”, how many are thriving ???

  16. Joe says:

    Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of our quest without a cohesive plan or clear objective we are simply playing whack a mole with ISIS. (we being the western powers not restricted to Canada).

  17. Curt says:

    Cut out the political BS and do what is right. Stop the beheading of innocents, selling young girls into slavery, butchering of fellow me.

  18. Bill says:

    Another reason why it’s not our fight.

    It’s pretty terrible seeing innocents over there being slaughtered isn’t it?

    Maybe those citizens in the region should do something about it.

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