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November 7, 2015

The National Post: The anti-Islam Canadian newspaper

Scott Stockdale

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The National Post has no problem regurgitating Islamic extremist propaganda when it suits its agenda.

Witness an October 29, 2015 article entitled 'Canada Ran Away': Online Jihadists celebrate Trudeau's win as they anticipate end to air strikes.  It appears that although Prime Minister Harper is gone, the National Post can be counted on to support his failed militaristic agenda.

The October 29, National Post article states:

Online jihadists are reacting with “elation and a sense of triumph at a perceived defeat of Canada” over last week’s election results as they anticipate the Liberals’ promised end to airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, says a report released Thursday. The Middle East Media Research Institute study said “known jihadists” and supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were rejoicing at the election of a government committed to halting Canada’s involvement in the international air coalition.

While the U.S. -led coalition claims to be fighting “the war on terror” as the justification for airstrikes, Foreign Policy magazine gives a broader perspective of the ongoing military action in, first Iraq, and now Syria, while at the same time painting a gloomy picture of the results achieved. A decade after Washington’s plans - designed in no small part to reduce Iranian influence in Iraq - an article in Foreign Policy magazine laments the fact that Iran’s influence is “at its highest point in almost four centuries.”

So what's the solution?  Arm and finance the opposition, of course.  But exactly who is the opposition? Considering U.S. actions in the region, it's not easy to distinguish friends and foes. While U.S. officials continue to claim that U.S. weapons drops to ISIS have been mistakes – mistaking ISIS for Kurdish fighters - the UK and Australian press have reported that both U.S. and British military aircraft have been shot down while attempting to supply ISIS with weapons in Iraq and Syria. Meanwhile, little, if any, of this has leaked into the Canadian press. Mr. Harper may be gone, but the gatekeepers of essential information are hard at work, as the crisis in the Middle East escalates.

In October 2014 U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said that Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia “were so determined to take down Assad … they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad … [including] al Nusra and al Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world … [and then] this outfit called ISIL.” Mr. Biden hoped to convince critics - often characterized as “conspiracy theorists” if they question official U.S. government policy - that Washington played no role in sustained operations carried out by its key allies.

However, The New York Times reported that the CIA has shipped weapons to al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria since at least 2012.

The shipments included more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian; Saudi and Qatari military cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport, near Ankara, and other Turkish and Jordanian airports. American intelligence has coordinated the effort to arm al-Nusra – now fully merged with ISIS – and other jihadist groups.

Meanwhile, The UN peacekeeping force based in the occupied Golan has reported Israel’s Defence Forces “interacting with” al Nusra fighters at the border.” At the same time, Israeli arms have been found with the extremist groups, in both Syria and Iraq.

With Arab allies backing ISIS and substantial collaboration between US-armed “moderate rebels” and ISIS, some Iraqi politicians claim  the U.S. and coalition flights to ISIS areas (supposedly to degrade the extremists) might have become covert supply lines. That is precisely what senior Iraqi sources began saying, in late 2014 and early 2015.

For example, as reported by both Iraqi and Iranian media, Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui said in January 2015 that “an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin. Photos were published of ISIS retrieving the weapons. The US admitted the seizure but said this was a 'mistake'.”

It's telling that when the Harper government pulled Canadian troops out of Afghanistan the National Post didn't publish any articles: saying “Canada Ran Away.” Although one hundred fifty-eight soldiers, two civilians, a diplomat and a journalist were killed and more than 1,800 Canadians were wounded, the National Post continued to support the Harper government's war effort until it finally decided to “cut and run”; and the National Post praised this decision as well.  The war cost Ottawa at least $18 billion – and much more if the cost of caring for veterans and their families is included.  Meanwhile, polls show that the vast majority of Canadians can't see what was accomplished for the loss of all this blood and treasure.

Considering that studies by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgent database show that ISIS attacks and killings in Iraq increased strongly after U.S. air attacks began; and the main on the ground fighting has been carried out by the Syrian Army and, more recently, the Iraqi armed forces with Iranian backing, what exactly does the US and its allies – including Canada – hope to accomplish by continuing the bombing campaign?

This is looking more and more like the Afghanistan mission: billions of taxpayers' money wasted; thousands of people killed or wounded; and many more years of this to come in Syria and Iraq. But those opposed to Prime Minister-designate Trudeau's decision to stop participating in the bombing campaign seem to feel Canada should continue bombing because  we are in the midst of a “war on terror”; have been for over a decade, and it appears that we will be for years, perhaps generations to come.

Meanwhile, those who manufacture and sell arms received the lion's share of the $18 billion of Canadian taxpayers' money and, after all, if there is no market for their products, they must continuously create one.

Moreover, recent media reports indicate that an increasingly significant number of refugees arriving in Europe are from war torn Afghanistan, as the Taliban – which Canada spent ten years fighting – continues to win back territory from the Afghan government. Does Canada really need “more of the same”, in Syria?

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