My position on ISIS is that it was a product of the American-led coalition's invasion of Iraq, therefore it is up to the coalition members to deal with it. As my dear mother taught me, if you make a mess, you clean it up. Fortunately, we wisely chose not to participate in the coalition, consequently we have no obligation to get involved in the cleanup.
Unfortunately, we were part of another American-led coalition, the one that assisted Libyan rebels in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, and that too created a mess. As a result of the overthrow, Libya has descended into chaos. Taking advantage of the chaos is ISIS which currently has an estimated 6,000 fighters in the country. Naturally, the presence of the Islamic extremists on a new front immediately across the Mediterranean from Europe has Western nations nervous. The Pentagon wants to expand the campaign against ISIS into Libya and has already been sniffing around the country to make contact with local forces and get a clearer picture of what’s happening on the ground.
And where are we on all this? According to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Canada could soon be joining yet another coalition, this time to take on ISIS in Libya. What this will entail, he has not said. Considering the Libyans don't want foreign forces in their country, I presume it will be about bombing.
Having said what I did about messes, and Canada being partly
responsible for this one, I suppose I am obliged to support our
participation. But my heart isn't in it. After all, I never supported
the government that got us into Libya in the first place, and getting
militarily involved in the Middle East with the imperialists that have caused most of that region's troubles is not something I like to see our country doing.
If we are to be involved, we must have the permission of the Libyan government. The problem is that there are at least three: one based in Tripoli, another in Tobruk, both backed by alliances of armed brigades and former rebels, to say nothing of foreign sponsors with conflicting interests, and yet a third—a unity government cobbled together under UN auspices that awaits approval of the other two.
However we decide to participate, it should only be with the approval of the UN, the unity government should it actually come to be, and other countries in the regon. This is an oil-rich nation and there are a lot of other nations with agendas that don't put Libya's interests first. We can't beg off this one, as we ought to do with the Iraq/Syria ISIS debacle, but we shouldn't accept anything that doesn't have an excellent chance of improving Libya for the Libyans. It will be interesting to see what Minister Sajjan and his colleagues have in mind for us.