Mike Blanchfield of the Canadian Press reports on the Canadian government’s contradictory characterizations of the conflict in Iraq (“Harper says no root cause for rise of ‘vile’ ISIL, as Baird attends Paris talks,” Huffington Post, 15 September 2014):
Prime Minister Stephen Harper denounced Monday the widely held view that fearsome new militants in Iraq and Syria have a “root cause” — a stark characterization that questions one reason for his foreign minister’s recent trip to Iraq.
In a speech to party faithful, Harper unequivocally branded the al-Qaida splinter group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, as “evil” and “vile,” saying it must be opposed. …
Baird travelled to Baghdad and the northern Iraqi capital of Irbil to deliver a message of tolerance and inclusion to a new Iraqi government that was sworn in last week. Dealing with the carnage being wrought by ISIL requires a multi-layered approach that’s far from black and white, he said at the time.
“We are here to show our support for an inclusive government, the fight against terrorism, and to show support for a pluralistic Iraq, and to provide humanitarian assistance for the people who so desperately need it,” Baird said at a news conference in Baghdad.
New Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi last week succeeded Nouri al-Maliki, who was forced to step down after eight years.
Baird and many others have criticized al-Maliki for promoting a pro-Shiite agenda that alienated Iraq’s Sunni minority — a disenfranchisement that many cite as one the so-called root causes for the rise of ISIL.
Read the full article here.
Photo credit: Sergeant Matthew McGregor, Department of National Defence