Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada will be joining in the US-formed coalition to combat the Islamic State (formerly ISIL) in Iraq.
Canada’s contribution will be sending 50-100 armed forces members to lend advice to the Iraqi military on how to better face Islamic State militants.
“The fanaticism of the [Islamic State] terrorist group is a real threat to regional security and millions of innocent people in Iraq, Syria and beyond,” Harper said.
“Left unchecked, [Islamic State] is also a direct threat to Canada and its allies. The deployment of members of the Canadian Armed Forces is a concrete measure to deter the murderous rampage of ISIL and respond to the humanitarian crisis it has caused.”
“The Canadian military and the personnel who join exist to take on reasonable risks in defence of their country’s interests and that’s what they’re doing in this situation,” he said. “We don’t think the risks are enormous but the risks are very real.”
Harper also addressed the possibility of increasing Canada’s contribution to the fight against ISIL.
“I do expect in the period to come our allies will look at further steps and obviously we’ll evaluate those,” he said.
US President Barack Obama, while speaking at a NATO summit, explained why it was important to form this coalition against ISIL, saying that simply trying to contain the group cannot be enough.
“You can’t contain an organisation that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents, enslaving that many women. The goal has to be to dismantle them,” said Obama.