There was a news story last week about Canada’s United Nations peacekeeping mission to Mali wherein an internal UN report noted that the violence level in that war-torn African nation has actually increased since Canadian troops first deployed in August.
Now probably even the most self-delusional of Canada’s defence pundits would have realized that the comparative handful of troops and equipment that we have committed — four Chinook heavy lift helicopters, four Griffon utility helicopters and about 250 personnel — were going to tip the balance in Mali as soon as they arrived on the ground.
This flareup of violence in Mali ignited in 2012 and the UN stood up the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in 2013. There are 56 nations contributing nearly 15,500 personnel to this peacekeeping mission, which is considered the most dangerous of all current UN operations.
Given that Canada’s military role in this complex conflict — with its core issues of dispute dating back centuries — is simply to provide medical evacuations for the UN force, means that no one should expect our contribution to affect either the tactical or strategic outlook in Mali.
What Canada’s one-year, $400 million commitment to Mali does achieve is a high profile, relatively low risk demonstration of the Trudeau Liberal government’s promise to return our nation to the good old days of peacekeeping in blue helmets, under the UN flag.
On a more practical note, it could be said that Canada has a vested interest in protecting Canadian mining assets in Mali. There are over 70 Canadian companies currently involved in extracting Malian gold, the largest of which being a firm called Iamgold.
For the rest of this column: https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/columnists/on-target-canadas-mission-in-mali-modern-colonialism-250001/