Iraq’s Kurds Blame Canadians for Friendly Fire

During an intense firefight between the Peshmerga and militant of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant—ISIL—near the village of Bashiqa, north of Mosul, Canadian Special Forces operators dismounted their armored vehicle and walked towards the Peshmerga forces—most likely offering them non-combat assistance such as air asset coordination or guidance on how to engage targets.

“They got very close to the fighting without our co-ordination and when the Peshmerga saw them, they asked who they were. The Canadians answered in Arabic, leading the Peshmerga to believe they were IS militants, and shot them.” Peshmerga Commander Mosa Gardi told the Kurdish news agency Basnews.

The Canadian’s local driver immediately yelled at the Peshmerga that they were Canadians and not ISIL militants, probably saving the lives of the three other wounded Canadians.

“We believe that Canada has an important role to play in international security, including confronting the very serious threat of ISIL, which has explicitly declared war on Canada, encouraged terrorist attacks against Canadian civilians and which we believe was at least partly responsible for inspiring terrorist attacks against this country last year.” Defence Minister Jason Kenney told the Media during a press release related to Sgt Doiron’s tragic death.

The Need for a Stronger Canadian Mentoring Mission Through Combat Operations in Iraq

Our brave operators on the ground are doing an awesome job providing the Iraq Security Forces and Peshmerga some valuable training and advices.

As a matter of fact, this fatal incident proves that Canada has to remain in Iraq to make sure events such as Sgt Doiron’s death—and the three other operators who were wounded beside him—won’t happen again. As I wrote in another article about Canada sending more troop to Iraq, I believe that it is through mentoring that we will achieve the best possible results.

I believe the quicker we get the Iraqis and the Kurds to fight the Islamic State by themselves, the quicker our soldiers are back home. However, it is not only through rear-echelon training missions that we will be able to achieve our mission swiftly.

Canada’s mission in Iraq is due to end on April 7 but it is very likely that the Canadian government will extend the mission for both the Special Forces operators and our Royal Canadian Air Force effort. It is very important to understand that we NEED to stay in Iraq to keep fighting the Islamic State and disrupt their operations.

Canadian Medias Using Sgt Doiron’s Death to Criticize Canada’s mission in Iraq

The Canadian Medias are already wondering why Canadian Special Forces operators were so close to the frontline when they are supposed to be providing training and assistance “inside the wire.”

Sgt Doiron loved to shoot. He spared part of his spare time to share his skills with the broader shooting community.
Sgt Doiron loved to shoot. He spared part of his spare time to share his skills with the broader shooting community.

As a matter of fact, it is not the first time the same Medias have been criticizing Canadian Special Forces operator’s actions in Iraq. When they learned that Canada had small Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC)—teams that surgically guide aircrafts bombs on ISIS targets—they started asking questions about Canada’s participation as a non-combat role.

Those questions were jeopardizing the Canadian operators’ lives in Iraq by providing open source intelligence to ISIS. What the Medias won’t understand is that these small teams are not equipped to get through heavy firefights – they are there to secretly guide bombs on targets, keeping the collateral damage to a minimum.

What really amazes me is how the same Medias are quickly using Sgt Doiron’s death to use it a political leverage against the role of the Canadian Forces in Iraq.

I was watching TVA Nouvelles this morning where retired Canadian Colonel—who never saw combat by the way—was openly wondering what our Canadian Special Forces operations were doing on the ground near the combat operations.  He openly argued that they are supposed to provide training and assistance “inside the wire.” I didn’t expect a logical response from him since he never saw combat nor trained local soldiers. Those soldiers will only have respect for soldiers who are fighting alongside them – making it easier for our Canadian operators to properly train them.

Most Canadian mainstream media are currently lacking real credible sources when it comes to Canadian combat operations. I believe that anyone who haven’t lived through firefights alongside local soldiers cannot completely understand the real meaning on frontline mentoring.

The real question Medias should be trying to solve is why our operators were fired at by friendly forces. The answer is pretty simple – they need more training and assistance, even if it means that our Canadian Special Forces operators needs to join them on the frontlines.

The same Medias should be also questioning their sensationalism modus operandi. Most of the mainstream media will do anything to “break” a news. Even if it means using a soldier’s death to get their political affiliation’s messages to their readers or viewers.

(Featured Image Courtesy of Sgt Doiron’s CSOR brothers)

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Jonathan Wade, CD

Jonathan Wade is the director of the ‘The Sentinel Analytical Group’ and a decorated veteran of the Canadian Forces. Specialized in tactical, strategic, intelligence and geopolitics analysis, Jonathan has a fondness for technical details. His military experience brought him valuable insight on the realities of conflicts and war. A combat veteran of Afghanistan, Jonathan brings in in-theatre experience. Jonathan writes about Russia, Canada and Arctic.