News Highlights – 22 Feb 11

  • You know things aren’t going well for the Libyan regime when they sic the air force on the crowdsPM Harper’s take? “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has denounced the violent crackdowns by security forces on anti-government protesters in Libya and called for them to stop immediately. “We find the actions of the government firing upon its own citizens to be outrageous and unacceptable,” Harper told reporters in Vancouver on Monday. “We call on the government to cease these actions immediately.” ….” More from the PM here.
  • Here’s Canada’s Foreign Minister’s latest on whazzup in Libya:  Canada strongly condemns the violent crackdowns on innocent protesters that have resulted in many injured and killed. We call on the Libyan security forces to respect the human rights of demonstrators and uphold their commitment to freedom of speech and the right to assembly. The Libyan authorities must show restraint and stop the use of lethal force against protesters ….”
  • More news on the latest in Libya here (Google News), here (EMM News Brief:  Libya),  here (NewsNow), here (BBC) and here (Al Jazeera English).
  • A small contingent of the Canadian military will remain at Kandahar Airfield for several months after Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan comes to an end in July. A group of about 40 servicemen and women will continue to work for the commander of Kandahar Airfield until late October or early November. In that role, they are responsible for perimeter security, housing and runway maintenance at the sprawling military base, among other duties. The Canadian chief of airfield plans is hoping other countries will come forward and fulfil their roles ….” Hmmmm, does that meet the requirements of the March 2008 motion the government has been bringing up?  It says, “…. Canada should continue a military presence in Kandahar beyond February 2009, to July 2011, in a manner fully consistent with the UN mandate on Afghanistan …”, defining that as troops to train Afghans, to protect development projects and to staff the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction team. Well, it seems KAF-ites not doing any of the above would be OK by my read.
  • Will Tim Horton’s leave with the last Canadian soldier from Kandahar? “…. The Canadian doughnut chain Tim Hortons at Kandahar Air Field was also allowed to stay, though it had to move from its prime location on the boardwalk to a more discreet locale near the Canadian section of the base. The fact that the U.S. was at the time trying to convince Canada not to pull its combat forces out of Kandahar in 2011 helped to keep Tim Hortons’ franchise there alive, said a coalition official at the time. He laughed when he explained the reasoning, but he wasn’t joking. Canadian forces are nonetheless leaving Kandahar this year. Whether Tim Hortons, which has become a favorite of all the uniformed doughnut lovers, will stay after the last Canadian soldier goes remains an open question ….”
  • Globe & Mail editorial warns Canada to help Afghan women. “…. Ottawa should heed the advice of CARE Canada, which has called on the government to measure its post-conflict engagement in Afghanistan through the lens of improved human rights. Specifically, Canada could help tackle the barriers girls face in attending primary and secondary school; help train Afghan police in human rights; protect female leaders; ensure women are included in public-policy debate and peace-building; and focus on maternal and child health ….” (Hat tip to Terry Glavin for spotting this one first).
  • F-35 Tug o’ offers up goodies to share to oppose buying the jets.

On the REALLY Brave Women of Afghanistan

Brian Platt at the Canada-Afghanistan Blog had a chance to take in Afghan politician Malalai Joya during a book tour she’s on across Canada.  He seems underwhelmed at her solutions:

I went to a presentation of hers on Friday afternoon, and this is her message: Canadians troops need to leave now, the status of women is worse than ever, and the current government under Karzai is just as bad as the Taliban government was. There is no hope for the future until the United Nations and NATO leave Afghanistan alone. I’m not simplifying anything; that’s all she says, over and over again.
So what is Joya’s solution for Afghanistan after international soldiers leave? That’s a good question!

In fact, at the presentation she was asked what would prevent the Taliban from taking over after a NATO/UN withdrawal. Instead of answering the question, she proceeded into a long speech about how terrible the situation is right now. So I put up my hand and demanded she answer the question. This led to a long, angry exchange between the two of us that lasted about 10 minutes, at which point I was told to shut up by the “antiwar” organizers of the event.

Considering that Malalai Joya,,, and Simon & Schuster have a book to sell, we’re going to be hearing a lot from the “bravest woman in Afghanistan” over the next little while.