The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Canada pulls out lone Iraqi diplomat amid strife, ruling out all military help

  • Print

OTTAWA - Canada has ruled out any military participation in Iraq to help stem the tide of the rampaging Sunni insurgency.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird made that abundantly clear during question period Monday when a fellow Conservative MP asked for an update on the ongoing strife.

"We are committed to working with the Iraqi leadership," Baird said, before quickly adding: "I should point out that Canada has not been asked to participate in any military effort, nor is it something we are considering."

Canada is distancing itself from the Iraqi crisis as the Obama administration in Washington continues to grapple with a response to the attacks by the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The militant group is on the march towards Baghdad after overrunning the mainly Sunni cities of Fallujah, Mosul and Tikrit.

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out deploying U.S. ground troops after the last of American forces left the country in 2011.

But the White House is considering other military options to aid the Shiite-led government, which is facing its most serious threat since the withdrawal of U.S. troops. They include possible air strikes or the deployment of a relatively small number of special forces.

Canada, meanwhile, has withdrawn its only diplomat from Iraq because of the deteriorating security situation.

Canada's embassy to Iraq is based in the Jordanian capital of Amman, but it did assign one diplomat in country, who was housed in the British Embassy in Baghdad.

A Foreign Affairs spokesman said security concerns forced Canada's acting charge d'affaires to leave Iraq on Sunday. Spokesman John Babcock said the government would reassess its diplomatic presence in Iraq on a daily basis.

Babcock said the security of Canadian officials abroad is a top priority.

Baird travelled to Baghdad 14 months ago, with great fanfare, to announce the new single-person diplomatic post and to declare that Canada was pushing forward in doing more business in Iraq.

"Iraq is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, despite deep and lingering sectarian tensions," Baird said in April 2013.

Despite those tensions — now at the heart of the current violence — Baird said he was optimistic they could be overcome, transforming Iraq into a "pluralist society at peace with its neighbours, one where Muslims, Christians and other religious and ethnic groups will live in security and social harmony."

Foreign Affairs has now issued an advisory against all travel to Iraq, warning the situation there is growing increasingly dangerous and unpredictable.

The U.S. has also moved some of its embassy staff out of Baghdad, and has also deployed three warships, including an aircraft carrier, to the Persian Gulf to protect American interests in Iraq.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Maria Aragon performs new single "Nothing but a Beat"

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • A Great Horned Owl that was caught up in some soccer nets in Shamrock Park in Southdale on November 16th was rehabilitated and returned to the the city park behind Shamrock School and released this afternoon. Sequence of the release. December 4, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Have you decided which mayoral candidate will get your vote?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google