[Marxism] Canada may dip toe into Iraq quagmire

Richard Menec menecraj at shaw.ca
Wed Jun 16 07:33:35 MDT 2004

"......If the Iraqi people wanted NATO to be there and requested that,
I am sure that NATO would agree to accede to that request and
Canada would participate. ..."

Canada may dip toe into Iraq quagmire

Globe and Mail, Wednesday, Jun 9, 2004


Quitting the G8 summit a day early to resume a tight election campaign,
Prime Minister Paul Martin left open the slim possibility Wednesday
that Canadian troops could become involved in Iraq.

He was questioned on the issue after U.S. President George W. Bush
called for a greater NATO involvement in Iraq, where several nations
in the military alliance are currently deployed but where NATO, as a
whole, remains absent.

"We are members of NATO and we're perfectly prepared to take our
responsibilities as members of NATO," Mr. Martin told reporters at a
televised news conference from the summit site on Sea Island, Ga.

"If the Iraqi people wanted NATO to be there and requested that,
I am sure that NATO would agree to accede to that request and
Canada would participate. But we're already present in Afghanistan,
we're already present in Haiti and everyone recognizes the extent to
which Canada has dedicated troops to those two countries."

A senior official told Canadian Press before Mr. Martin spoke that
Canada will offer an increase in its non-military assistance to Iraq.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that
institution-building would remain the focus of Canadian involvement.

Mr. Martin picked up the same theme in his remarks, saying that
Canada currently has no troops to send but would do what was
necessary to fulfill its role in the military alliance.

"Fundamentally, with the new Iraqi government in place, it is up to
that government, after assessing the situation, to make those
requests," he said.

"If the new Iraqi government were to ask for further NATO
involvement, then that's obviously something that all of the parties
would be prepared to take a look at," he said. "I have said that
we're certainly prepared to participate, I do not believe we'd be
participating with further troop movements, but we're certainly
going to participate with expertise."

Mr. Bush, who got a boost this week with a new United Nations
Security Council resolution endorsing a multinational force in Iraq,
told his G8 colleagues he wants a bigger role for NATO in Iraq,
perhaps in training the Iraq army. He conceded, though, that many
NATO nations do not have any surplus troops to commit.

France's Jacques Chirac, a vocal critic of the Iraq war, said more
NATO involvement wouldn't be "relevant or well-understood."

"I do not believe that it is NATO's purpose to intervene in Iraq,"
he said. "I have reservations vis-a-vis this initiative."

Any NATO role in Iraq would depend on requests from the Iraqi
government and decisions made by all the allied countries, a
spokesman for the military alliance told Associated Press Television
News on Wednesday, echoing Mr. Martin's position.

At his own news conference, Mr. Martin defended his decision to
leave the summit early while the heads of the other industrialized
nations carry on for another day of meetings. He said that the
agenda Thursday consists of topics that he has discussed with the
other leaders, who know full well where Canada stands.

"The plans were that I was going to return, and that's why I spent
so much time in the bilaterals, meeting with all of the individual
heads of state," he said. "I've probably done more bilaterals than
almost anybody, in order to make sure the Canadian point of
view was felt. I will have made, by the end of this day, three
major presentations."

He said that, by the time he leaves Georgia, he will have made
major presentations on private-sector development, nuclear
proliferation and the security meltdown in Haiti.

"In the time that has been open to me here I've done a great deal,
and I think Canada has marked some very, very important points."

Although he has no public events planned for Thursday, Mr.
Martin made it clear that he is reverting to campaign mode.

"There are times when ... you do public events and there are
times when you do other kinds of work in the middle of a
campaign," he said.

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