Canada Looks to Extend, Expand OIR Deployment

Canada has proposed an extension and expansion of its military deployment to support anti-ISIS combat operations in Iraq and Syria through March 2016. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper does not require the House of Commons to authorize the combat mission, but has sought the input of the body on military deployments, such as the initial six-month Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18s deployment last fall. Operation Impact, the name of Canada’s deployment to support combat operations, would be lengthened up to 12 months, until March 30, 2016, according to an announcement from Harper’s office. In addition, Canada is looking to expand the mandate of the operation to enable CF-18s to join other coalition strikes on “ISIL targets within Syrian territory.” The proposal also includes up to 69 Canadian special operations forces, who would advise and assist Iraqi forces in northern Iraq; a CC-150 air refueling aircraft; up to two CP-140 surveillance aircraft; and a 280-person “aerial enabler force package.” Harper’s government seeks to extend and expand the deployment in light of the “serious threat to global and regional security” ISIS poses, including threats to Canada and its citizens.