Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – January 14, 2013

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  • More Mali (1)  The Canadian government says reports it has already promised aid to Mali in its fight against Islamist rebels are premature, because Canada has yet to receive a formal request for assistanceThe office of Mali President Dioncounda Traore announced Sunday that Canada had joined Britain and the United States in providing logistical support for the French and African militaries fighting to block rebel advances in the West African country.  The announcement came in a single sentence via the President’s official, verified Twitter account. A second Canadian government source said no final decision has been made.  Late Sunday Rick Roth, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, denied the statement from Mali, which was picked up by international news organizations, saying in a brief e-mail that Ottawa’s “position hasn’t changed.”  Canada’s most recent stated position favoured diplomatic efforts and humanitarian aid to bring stability to the country, where Canadian companies are big players, particularly in mining. Canada is also in the early stages of providing military training to neighbouring Niger, which also faces the threat of Islamist insurgency  ….” – that Malian government Twitter post is also here in case the link posted above doesn’t work.
  • More Mali (2)  Columnist on how Canada may have actually helped the bad guys in Mali  “…. Canada has provided AQIM with ransom money, ensured that some of their key personnel were released from incarceration and then, by failing to follow up and secure weapon stocks in Libya, allowed the terrorist group to amass a windfall of weapons that enabled their subsequent seizure of northern Mali.  To admit our culpability in this fiasco would make it easy to explain Canada’s participation in a future international intervention against the AQIM in Mali.  However, such an admission of blunders is unlikely any time soon from a government that keeps insisting that our campaign in Libya was an unmitigated success.”
  • More Mali (3)  University of Calgary professor’s take on whazzup in Mali here and here.
  • Afghanistan  Another review of the play “This is War  “Rarely are the stakes as high as they are in conflict zones like Afghanistan and Iraq, where a wrong move under siege could mean life or death. Hannah Moscovitch’s This Is War certainly drives that point home and then some. Not simply a play ripped from the headlines, the playwright explores the pressures of the war zone through a consideration of gender, sex, and trauma on the base.  The scene is set with an investigation underway over an incident involving Canadian forces in Panjwaii, Afghanistan. Through the questioning of an offstage interviewer that prompts scenes from the front lines, we learn from those involved how it all went down. Shouldering responsibilities for the actions of that day are Master Corporal Tanya Young (Lisa Berry), a lone female soldier among her male counterparts, Jonny Henderson (Ian Lake), a young private fresh into battle, and Captain Stephen Hughes (Ari Cohen), who is the head of the operation.  The scenes that play out after questioning almost always contradict given answers. Those complicit in the events, we learn, lie about their actions in order to save face. The effect serves Moscovitch well. There are a lot of puzzle pieces revealed the deeper we delve. The dialogue is often raw and aggressive, and many of the misogynist taunts and gruesome descriptions of death seem to hang in the air ….”
  • Where’s HMCS Athabaskan at? – more here
  • Some Toronto Blue Jays visit CFB Edmonton  “…. JP Arencibia, Colby Rasmus, Anthony Gose, Drew Hutchinson, and Manager, John Gibbons visited CFB Edmonton Sunday.  “The maple leaf in our logo means a great deal to us. We wear it with pride and know that we have fans across the country. They cannot all make it to Toronto, (so) we are coming to them,” says Blue Jays Communications person, Jay Stenhouse.  “This is also a great experience for the players to understand the great support we have.”  The trip to CFB is one of four stops the organization is making during its tour, which includes stops in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon.  It’s a rare opportunity for military personnel to meet Major League Baseball players.  The visit – which included a ride in the army’s main battle Tank, the Leopard C2 – will also prove to be a learning experience for the Blue Jays.  “Our Third Battalion of Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, because they’re not a mechanized unit, they have a parachute company, they have a sniper team. They’re going to be doing some displays of some of that equipment, their parachute and their sniper equipment,” explains Public Affairs Officer, Navy Lieutenant Anthony Wright ….”
  • Terrorism in Canada paper:  “…. This paper begins by summarizing six high profile terrorist incidents which have unfolded in Canada over the past ten years. These include plots linked to the “Toronto 18,” as well as Misbahuddin Ahmed, Khurram Sher and Hiva Alizadeh, collectively referred to as the “Ottawa 3” …. These case studies are presented to show the reader that Canada has faced significant threats in the ten years since 9/11, and further, that these incidents appear to be increasing. I argue that these incidents also demonstrate a disturbing trend: they all appear to be examples of what appears to be a “domestic home-grown” variation of the global Salafist Islamic terrorism ….”

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14 January 13 at 7:45

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