Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A CF-18 Hornet escorts a CC-150 Polaris after being refueled during Operation IMPACT on February 4, 2015. Photo: Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND

Combat Camera

Deadly terrorist attacks in Paris have prompted renewed debate about the Liberal government's intention to withdraw from air strikes against the Islamic State, but some experts say there is little reason to rethink the plan.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a campaign promise to pull Canada's warplanes from Syria and Iraq and instead focus on training local fighters. He reiterated it in a phone call with U.S. President Barack Obama a day after he was elected.

And on Saturday, after Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for attacks in France that killed at least 129 people – an "act of war," according to French president Francois Hollande – a senior official in Trudeau's office confirmed he hadn't changed his mind.

Story continues below advertisement

That's the right call, says Andrew Mack, a security expert and fellow at the One Earth Future Foundation.

"Nothing has changed. The attack on Paris makes no difference whatsoever to the rationale for not bombing. I actually think bombing is effective, but Canada's contribution to it is minimal. It really doesn't make any difference one way or another," he said.

Mack said the Islamic State was losing in Syria, pointing to its loss of a town between Mosul and Al-Raqqah and the likelihood it would lose another soon. These defeats are likely to affect its ability to attract disaffected youth, he said.

"The Kurds have been making advances all over Syria and Iraq, and the advances they have been making have been facilitated by airstrikes by the United States."

Andre Gerolymatos, a security expert at Simon Fraser University, said while recent air cover provided to the Kurds to capture a town was successful, the overall bombing mission has not been.

"The coalition has been bombing ISIS and what happened in Paris took place (Friday) night regardless," he said. "So, what makes more sense is to train Kurds or anyone else who wants to fight ISIS."

Gerolymatos added that air strikes are imprecise and kill civilians. He acknowledged, though, that Canada handed the Islamic State a propaganda win when it announced it would withdraw its fighter jets.

Story continues below advertisement

"ISIS claimed it as a victory on all the websites. They were saying 'the first crack in the coalition, it's a major victory for ISIS, Canada has been defeated,' and all that."

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose called on Trudeau Saturday to rethink withdrawing from the combat mission and the premiers of Quebec and Saskatchewan expressed support for continuing to be part of the military action.

Trudeau has not set a timeline for the withdrawal and some experts speculated he could wait for Canada's military commitment to expire in March. Paul Heinbecker, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, said now would be an "awkward moment" to carry out the policy change.

He said one argument for ending the mission is that the more the West gets involved in the fight, the worse it becomes.

"The other side of the argument is if you don't stop these people now while they're still of a manageable size, you have a much bigger problem on your hands," he said. "I tend toward the second interpretation."

Some have speculated France will invoke NATO's Article 5, which requires all members to defend a member under attack. But Christian Leuprecht, a security expert with Queens University and the Royal Military College of Canada, said there is no indication that France will do so.

Story continues below advertisement

Speaking from the French city of Grenoble where he is currently working, Leuprecht said a massive military response in Syria would only heighten the refugee influx, an outcome France does not want.

He said the global community must find a path to a ceasefire in Syria.

"ISIS wants to fight. ISIS is about bringing on the apocalypse. That's the end game," he said. "You want the world to go down in a handbasket. The perpetrators (in Paris) showed that."

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies