Canada potential target, Islamic State 'real threat', says Harper

As Canada’s Parliament voted in favour of joining the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition, the United States has said that it is 'grateful' for the cooperation extended by Stephen Harper's government.

By Supriya Jha | Updated: Oct 08, 2014, 18:03 PM IST
Canada potential target, Islamic State 'real threat', says Harper

Washington: As Canada’s Parliament voted in favour of joining the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition, the United States has said that it is 'grateful' for the cooperation extended by Stephen Harper's government.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the White House hailed Canada's joining the coalitioin, saying “Canadians and Americans have fought alongside each other in several major conflicts over the past century and we are grateful for Canada’s further contribution against terrorism”.

In addition to the continued assistance to Iraq and other allies in the areas of ongoing advice to security forces, the motion authorises intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and aircraft refueling, including the provision of one CC-150 Polaris tanker, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft and one dedicated airlift aircraft.

Also, up to six CF-18 fighter aircraft will be on the duty as part of a strike force.

The motion on authorising strikes against the ISIS was put forward by the Conservative party last week and after a two-day debate on it, the motion was passed by 157 votes to 134.

According to the motion, Canada will carry out strikes up to 6 months, however no ground combat troops will be deployed.

Taking a leaf out of Obama's gameplan on ISIS, Canadian PM too made it clear that there will be no troops on the ground.

“Canada’s engagement in Iraq is not a ground combat mission. It includes a number of targeted measures, being taken with allies, to severely limit the ability of ISIL to engage in full scale military movements and to operate bases in the open,” said Harper.

After the motion was passed, Canada's PM Stephen Harper justified the move saying the ISIS was a “real threat”.

“If left unchecked this terrorist organization will grow and grow quickly. They have already voiced their local and international terrorist intentions and identified Canada as a potential target,” said the PM.

Stressing on the dangers of ISIS, he said how the group has been carrying out a “campaign of unspeakable atrocities against innocent children, women and men, as well as religious minorities in Iraq. Specifically, it has tortured and beheaded people, raped and sold women into slavery, slaughtered minorities and kidnapped innocent victims”.

By authorising the strikes, Canada has joined dozens of nations like the UK, UAE, France, Bahrain, etc who are a part of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition, whose air strikes have helped rein in the extremists in Kobani in Syria recently.