21:09 GMT +3 hours27 May 2016
Canada's new National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan gestures after being sworn-in during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Canada, November 4, 2015.

Airstrike Era Over, Time for Local Ground Ops in Iraq - Canada Def. Chief

© REUTERS/ Blair Gable
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The Canadian minister of defense has openly favored a ground operation against Daesh instead of airstrike-only campaigns. But Canada’s army has a more important job to do at home: engage more women and minorities into the military service. Someone else will have to do the dirty job in the Middle East in the end, most likely.

Canada is set to withdraw its fighter jets from the aerial campaign in Iraq and Syria later in the year. The prospective move has disappointed many in the US-led coalition, but Harjit Sajjan, Defense Minister of Canada, explained, that a ground campaign – not airstrikes – should be regarded as the priority right now.

“Of course they want to keep our CF-18s there,” Sajjan noted in a radio program on CBC Saturday. However, an aerial campaign alone is not the “responsible” thing to do in the existing conditions.

“The responsible thing, in my opinion, is to make sure we, as a coalition partner, look at the current situation, the needs of the coalition,” he said. “When you look at the current situation, the conversation is […] ‘How do we target more?’”

At present, an airstrike mission is clearly just not enough – in contrast to the earlier phase of the war, when Daesh was “in the open”.

“Now the fight has gone into where you need to be able to define and find your target, and then be able to have that impact on the ground,” Sajjan stressed out.

Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets currently take part in air combat missions with the US-led international coalition against the Islamic State (Daesh) militant group, which is outlawed in many countries including Russia. Canada has also deployed 70-strong special forces to train Kurds in the Iraqi Kurdistan since 2014.

New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said late last year that all Canadian aircraft will be withdrawn from the conflict by March 31, 2016.

Boots on the ground

After suggesting a ground force is now a key to the military victory against Daesh, minister Sajjan immediately refuted Canadian troops alone will get the job done. He seems a common “advise and assist” program will do fine for Kurds and Arabs in Iraq, who will be able to effectively stand against jihadists.

​“Just as we phased our training in Afghanistan and were able to slowly pull away, this is one of the effective tools we’re very good at,” Sajjan, who was on military missions in Afghanistan three times, commented.

Instead, Canada’s military has another work to concentrate on at home: engaging more women and minorities to enlist.

“The military, even when I was serving, has made strides in trying to connect with all Canadians… but we can do better,” he pointed out.

Currently, women account for under 15 percent of military members and minorities comprise about 5 percent.

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anti-Daesh coalition, troop withdrawal, ground military operation, military campaign, ground troops, airstrike, CF-18 jet, Daesh, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), Harjit Sajjan, Justin Trudeau, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq, Canada
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  • Ann in reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    jas, "Harjit Sajjan", who is this turbaned man? Is he a Saudi?
  • in reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
    sixpack6t9, Read the wikipedia entry quote in my comment. Do you see where it says "district of Punjab, India?
  • puffinwillow
    Canada is weak nation, Sweden or Lebanon is more powerful... Really it is a joke... look at wiki at their armies... those old f18's are outdated, can't dog fight old electronics.. just sad... Canada thinks it is more important than it is
  • hopscotch64
    What in the world is this person talking about? I certainly have no idea. He seems to be saying that the current US lead coalition ground war has been successful in Afghanistan which could not be farther from the truth, as the Taliban and ISIS is stronger than ever in that country. Canada is just a de facto colony of the United States and Briton allowing itself to be drawn into every dirty war and regime change operation the US conducts. Everyone pay's little or no attention to what Canada has to say as they know that what ever the US/NATO alliance orders they will comply with. Canada has little or no influence on world affairs because of it's master slave relationship with the US.
  • in reply to (Show commentHide comment)

    Harjit Sing Sajjan is the Defense minister of the present government in Canada. Also he was a officer in the Canadian army and also served in Afghanistan
  • tony pin reply tomarcanhalt(Show commentHide comment)
    marcanhalt, The only fighting I see in the future against Canada is from the US, they will be needing your water.
  • Hang on!

    Harjit Sajjan, Defense Minister of Canada?

    With a towel on his head? This is what I am saying... democracy is dangerous! Very dangerous.
  • For a second I thought Sputnik stuffed up the photo again. An Indian talking about Canadian ground troops in Iraq...well we learn something new every day.
  • Lee in reply topuffinwillow(Show commentHide comment)
    You might have a problem wrapping your mind around this because you appear to be a warmonger. In 1945 Canadian scientists collaborated with the US and others to build the first atomic bomb. We chose use that technology to build nuclear reactors but declined to become a "nuclear power". I guess you could say that the majority of Canadians are "peace mongers"!
  • Ivan Buckeye
    Hmm, that's the price for destroying Iraq and that was based on lies to boot!
  • lianasammartino
    I do not know much about his past, but these steps are sound:1- stop bombing, 2-HELP people on the ground (not FIGHTING) to defeat ISIS. Let's hope we may be out by March: there is an invitation to US by Obama, and a state dinner for Trudeau .....there will be pressures on the prime minister of Canada to change from what he promised people. Let's hope there will not be false flags....
  • neo con b
    hey Haji, go ahead and pick up your rifle... get yo' tired ol' a$$ in there and fight them there terraists
  • in reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    siberianhusky, I'm not sure what you're talking about or if you even read my comments.
  • michael
    curiosity: I wonder what he is basing his statements on?
  • professor.hornblowin reply toLee (Show commentHide comment)
    Lee, It's more likely the US banned Canada's nuclear ambitions. Look up War Plan Red; Canada has no military independence
  • Elsa JV
    Nothing changes, just empty words. It is only the name on the door that changes.
  • rmukarutabanain reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
    sixpack6t9, Hey! You've never heard of the Sikh? They are great warriors by a long traditon - though if I were a Canadian I wouldn't have someone born elsewhere as Defense Minister.
  • Ann in reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    jas, I had no idea what that was, thanks
  • Ann in reply tormukarutabana(Show commentHide comment)
    rmukarutabana, No, if I did, I don't remember it. I had no idea - you learn something new all the time, thanks. He just looked to me like something out of a Disney movie.
  • qvasko 15
    Well maybe he is right...in years to come we will see whether something on the ground would be necessary
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