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World View: Canada in Shock over Ottawa Shootings

World View: Canada in Shock over Ottawa Shootings

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Canada in shock over Ottawa shootings
  • Egypt supports the anti-ISIS coalition in principle only
  • Turkey and Qatar officials meet to discuss Syria strategy
  • Turkey’s military options in Syria are restricted by limited capability

Canada in shock over Ottawa shootings

A Twitter user took this photo moments before the shooting.  He tweeted: 'Ok so we were on a tour at that war monument in Ottawa a few minutes ago, a few seconds later there was a shooting.' Is one of these guards the soldier who was killed? (@Evanem/Toronto Star)
A Twitter user took this photo moments before the shooting. He tweeted: ‘Ok so we were on a tour at that war monument in Ottawa a few minutes ago, a few seconds later there was a shooting.’ Is one of these guards the soldier who was killed? (@Evanem/Toronto Star)

A gunman shot and killed a soldier at a war memorial in Ottawa onWednesday, then ran into the parliament building where he exchangedgunfire with police. At this writing on Wednesday evening ET, policeare hunting for additional suspects. It’s suspected, not confirmed,that it was a “lone wolf” attack inspired by the Islamic State ofIraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL).

Canadians are known to have the feeling that this sort of thinghappens elsewhere, not in Canada, so Canadians are in shock over theseterrorist attacks. Much of Ottawa is still locked down, as areparliament buildings, military installations, and other potentialtargets all across the country. American military installationsare also on high alert.

It was just a few hours earlier, on Tuesday, that Canada hadraised its terror level in response to intelligence reportsof “general chatter” from groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda.

And it was just two days earlier, on Monday, that a self-radicalizedbelieved that both the Monday and Wednesday perpetrators were Muslimconverts. Both perpetrators had previously been identified byCanadian authorities as potential terrorists.

Last month, in mid-September, ISIS issued statements encouragingexactly this kind of lone wolf attack. One statement called forattacks against Egyptian security forces, who are “the guards of theJews, the soldiers of [Egypt’s president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi], thenew Pharaoh of Egypt”:

Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack theirbases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feelsecure.

A similar statement called for lone wolf attacks on other countries,including Australia, France, Canada, the United States, and others:

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European –especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or aCanadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers wagingwar, including the citizens of the countries that entered into acoalition against the Islamic State … kill him in any manner orway however it may be.

Wednesday’s attack is expected to cause some level of panic among Canadians. According to one commentator, “Canada will be adifferent country on Thursday than it was on Wednesday.”

BBC andGlobe and Mail (Toronto) and Willmiot (22-Sep) and Toronto Star

Egypt supports the anti-ISIS coalition in principle only

Egypt has politically expressed its complete commitment to theU.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISor ISIS or ISIL), saying that “the symbolism of a united coalition isvery important,” but has declared that it will not dispatch militaryforces to participate in its operations, nor participate in airstrikes.

There are several reasons:

  • Egypt opposes limiting the war to ISIS alone, and wants U.S. support for its internal fight against the Muslim Brotherhood, and other terror organizations on its own soil.
  • Egypt also wants to support the struggle of Libyan authorities in Tobruk against terrorist forces in the country, which are also threatening the Egyptian border.
  • Unlike other Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, that want to topple the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, Egypt does not explicitly oppose al-Assad.
  • Many media op-ed articles in Egypt are strongly opposed to the anti-ISIS coalition. The main argument made in the articles is that the real goals of the war against ISIS are to weaken the Arab countries, so as to give Israel supremacy in the region, restore the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, and guarantee the supply of oil from the Middle East to the U.S. and its allies.
  • Egypt is angry that the U.S. expects it to take part in the international struggle against terrorism while, for over a year, it opposed Egypt’s own struggle against the Muslim Brotherhood and denied it the financial and military aid that it had given it prior to the coup that ousted Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government. This included delaying the transfer of the Apache helicopters that Egypt needs for its domestic fight against terrorism. For this reason, Foreign Minister Shoukry said: “Egypt supports the coalition against terrorism… but it makes no sense for us to mobilize our resources to defeat ISIS while we are being denied these resources…”

Egypt is taking a neutral stance against the al-Assad regime, whileSaudi Arabia says that the al-Assad regime is illegitimate and must beremoved. Memri

Turkey and Qatar officials meet to discuss Syria strategy

In an article last month ( “3-Sep-14 World View — Mideast realignment continues following the Gaza war”), I used a Generational Dynamics analysis tooutline how the Mideast is realigning itself around a growing faultline separating Israel plus Egypt plus Saudi Arabia plus the UnitedArab Emirates (UAE) plus Bahrain versus the Palestinians plus Qatarplus Turkey, with vitriolicly anti-American Iran increasingly aligningitself with America and the West.

Although Turkey and the Arab countries on both sides are all nominallypart of the anti-ISIS coalition, Turkey and Qatar have not beenparticipating actively because they have completely differentobjectives from the other countries:

  • Qatar and Turkey are strong supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia and UAE consider to be terrorists. In fact, Qatar and Turkey have each given sanctuary to Egyptian members of the Brotherhood after they were ousted from power last year.
  • Although all coalition members say that they support the supported, al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front), many of whose members have joined the ranks of ISIS.

Qatar and Turkey are currently engaging in intense talks on “Issues ofsecurity cooperation between the two countries and enhancingcoordination between ministries.” It’s not known whether majorchanges in policy are being discussed. Hurriyet (Ankara)

Turkey’s military options in Syria are restricted by limited capability

Even if it wanted to, it’s doubtful that Turkey could mount aneffective cross-border operation against ISIS forces around Kobani, oranywhere else for that matter. The first problem is that the army isvery top heavy, and has not carried out any significant restructuringor reforms for over 50 years.

Also, Turkey’s army is tied down on other fronts:

  • The Turkish 1st Army has 28,000 personnel deployed in northern Cyprus, since the 1974 war with Greece.
  • The Turkish 2nd Army is strung out along the Syrian border but importantly also tied down by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey. Turkey has been fighting a PKK insurgency for three decades.
  • The Turkish 3rd Army, installed on Turkey’s eastern border with Iran, Armenia and Georgia, also has to contend with the PKK as well.

So, it’s highly likely that Turkey’s support for the US-led coalitionwill remain rhetorical, especially if there is no agreement regardingSyrian President Bashar al-Assad’s removal from power. Today’s Zaman (Ankara)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Canada, Ottawa,Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL,Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi,Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, UAE, Qatar,Free Syrian Army, FSA, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Nusra Front,Turkey, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, Cyprus, Iran
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