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3rd CF General to Iraq

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  • 3rd CF General to Iraq

    VANCOUVER, Canada, (Jan. 23, 2008) IPS/GIN - Canada has dispatched
    yet another top general to the command group overseeing the
    U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, despite the Canadian government's
    official decision to abstain from engaging in combat there.

    Brig. Gen. Nicolas Matern, a Special Forces officer and former
    commander of Canada's elite counterterrorism unit, will serve as
    deputy to Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin III, the incoming commander of the
    170,000-strong Multinational Corps in Iraq, beginning in

    Matern is the third Canadian general to serve in the command group
    of Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of an exchange program that
    places Canadian Forces officers in leadership positions in the U.S.
    military. His deployment is part of a three-year post with the U.S.
    Army's 18th Airborne Corps, based out of Fort Bragg, N.C.

    Officials at Fort Bragg confirmed that Matern has already been
    deployed to Iraq, though no official statement has been made by
    Canadian officials.

    Meanwhile, 42 Canadian tanks and armored personnel carriers left
    Edmonton last week destined for Fort Bliss, Texas, to participate
    in predeployment training exercises with the U.S. Army before a
    summer rotation in Afghanistan. A Department of National Defense
    press release characterized the training as "massive," with more
    than 3,000 Canadian soldiers taking part in Exercise Southern Bear.

    Such joint exercises are commonplace throughout all branches of
    the armed forces and beyond. A report from the U.S. Department of
    State's counterterrorism office described how "the governments of
    the United States and Canada collaborated on a broad array of
    initiatives, exercises and joint operations that spanned virtually
    all agencies and every level of government."

    During his first visit to Washington as Prime Minister in 2006,
    Stephen Harper boasted that the North American alliance was the
    "strongest relationship of any two countries, not just on the
    planet, but in the history of mankind." As much as 90 percent of
    Canadian trade is with the U.S., with upwards of $2 billion a day
    in goods and services crossing the border.

    There are also economic interests in Iraq itself. The April 2007
    Iraq Reconstruction Report lists Canada as the fourth largest
    importer of Iraqi oil. Industry Canada records that total Canadian
    imports from Iraq have risen from $1.06 billion in 2002 to $1.61
    billion in 2006, making Iraq second only to Saudi Arabia as a
    Middle Eastern source for Canadian imports.

    According to Canada's Defense Policy Statement, the increased
    collaboration with the U.S. military will "not see the Canadian
    Forces replicate every function of the world's premier militaries,"
    but rather fill niche roles that allow Canada's interventionist
    capabilities to be relevant and credible.

    To this end, Matern's Special Forces background is seen as an
    asset. "He comes in with a unique set of skills," Col. Bill Buckner
    of the 18th Airborne told the Ottawa Citizen. "We're the home of
    the airborne and the special operating forces, so he fits in very
    nicely to this warrior ethos we have here."

    Matern was a commander in the secretive commando unit, Joint Task
    Force-2, before being promoted to deputy commander of the newly
    created Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

    Canada's most important foreign policy documents list Iraq, along
    with Afghanistan, Haiti, Sudan and Israel-Palestine, as areas of
    "strategic priority."

    Canada was an active participant in the 1991 Gulf War and helped
    enforce the crippling blockade on Iraq throughout the 1990s, but
    it declined to join the "coalition of the willing" in March of 2003
    when the U.S. launched the invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein
    without a final U.N. resolution authorizing the war.

    Nevertheless, Canada's contribution to the mission is notable. In
    2003, Canada pledged $300 million in aid and reconstruction in
    Iraq. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has helped train more than
    30,000 Iraqi security forces in neighboring Jordan and has had top
    level advisers operating within the Iraqi interior ministry. In
    addition, Canadian frigates continue to operate alongside the U.S.
    aircraft carriers in the Arabian Gulf that are a primary staging
    platform for bombing raids in Iraq.

    Indeed, during the first week of the war in 2003, then-U.S.
    Ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, said Canada had provided "more
    support indirectly to this war in Iraq than most of the 46
    countries that are fully supporting our efforts there."

    Around the same time that Canada opted out of combat in Iraq, it
    increased its combat role in Afghanistan, ultimately taking command
    of the counterinsurgency war in southern Afghanistan.

    Unlike the Canadian deployment in Afghanistan, which is subject to
    relatively significant coverage domestically, Canada's
    participation in Iraq is handled much more carefully by Canadian

    Defense Minister Peter MacKay did not return a call seeking
    comment, and no official statement has accompanied Matern's recent

    Opposition New Democratic Party defense critic Dawn Black expressed
    reservations about the implications of the special military
    relationship: "We're concerned about an overemphasis on
    interoperability with the U.S," she said from her British Columbia
    office. "It affects whether we have an independent foreign policy
    and sovereignty as a country."

    Though approximately 93 percent of the coalition troops in Iraq
    are American, the U.S. has long been keen to emphasize the
    multinational component of a war that former U.N. Secretary-General
    Kofi Annan described as illegal.

    Maj. Gen. Peter Devlin, a Canadian Forces officer currently
    operating as deputy commanding general in Iraq, recently told the
    Washington Post that the effect of the multinational element is in
    bringing "greater legitimacy to the effort here in Iraq."

    Link: CANADIAN GENERAL TAKES SENIOR COMMAND ROLE :: The Online Pioneer and Ideals - World News :: Bringing you the International News

  • #2
    Anyone has anymore details from the American side on Ex SOUTHERN BEAR? From the Canadian side, it's 2CMBG with the RCD, 2CER, and 1st and 3rd Battalions, RCR. 2 RCR, from CFB Gagetown, would send one company.


    • #3
      Two of my buddies in the military, one is an infanteer 2RCR, the other is a Signal Operator have both left for Texas as apart of this exercise. They are both based at Petewawa.