Honourable François-Philippe Champagne
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada
Cc: Honourable Harjit Sajjan
Minister of National Defence, Canada
Cc: Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
January 9, 2020
Re: The United States drone assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abd Mahdi al-Muhandis, along with eight others on January 3, 2020.
The United States drone assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abd Mahdi al-Muhandis, along with eight others, was clearly a war crime by any definition. It violated both Iraqi sovereignty and international law. These attacks provoked the Iranian and Iraqi states and inflamed international relations. Iran has retaliated by ejecting ballistic missiles to Irbil in the Kurdish territory and the Al-Asad base in Iraq. The world tensely looks on to see if full-scale war breaks out, a catastrophic war that would involve many nations and put millions of lives at risk. Restrictions on civilian airline carriers flying over the region is a war preparation. The intensified conflagration in Libya, with Turkey deciding to send troops to Tripoli in the face of Europe’s objections, could be understood as one repercussion of the US’ attack on January 3. International relations have flared up.
We are glad to see that Canadian leaders, European leaders and NATO, who apparently had no part in the US drone attack on January 3, are taking a conciliatory approach with Iran and calling for a cool-down. We welcome NATO’s decision to suspend the NATO mission in Iraq, which Canadian forces lead. Further to that, the government of Iraq is understandably outraged at the US actions against Iranian forces on its soil, especially because of the cooperation between Iraq and Iran regarding mobilizations against ISIS terrorists on Iraq’s soil. We support Iraq’s desire to regain autonomy in its own affairs and its government’s resolution to get US troops out of Iraq.
The people in Iraq continue to suffer from the continuing conflict and chaos inside their country. The NATO forces are not helping; they are only causing more harm and complicating matters. We therefore call upon the Canadian government to withdraw its forces from Iraq. Moreover, we want NATO to end its mission in Iraq. The redeployment of some Canadian troops from Iraq to Kuwait is a good step. A total retreat to home bases in Canada would be ideal.
We also oppose any move to impose sanctions again on Iraq. In fact, we oppose all economic sanctions against states including Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. Broad economic sanctions deprive the people of necessities, crippling the regional economies and causing further suffering. We call on the Canadian state to stop playing a part in the cruel sanctions against the Iranian people, and the economic punishments against the Venezuelan and Korean peoples.
We have been observing that the Canadian government has had its military forces become more involved in US military operations in many spots in the world. Its defence policy has been “peace-making” rather than “peace-keeping” for many years, and the Canadian military has been mobilized to engage more in conflict. We oppose this policy orientation. We call for a general distancing from US foreign policy and US military actions, and a peace-keeping orientation. Make Canada a factor for peace, not war. Reduce military spending and deployment.
Our main demands with this letter are for Canada to withdraw all its forces from Iraq permanently and bring them home. Secondly, support Iraq’s democratic decision to have US military forces leave the country. In addition, we want Canada to act to put a stop sanctions against the Iranian people. Finally, we strongly recommend that Canada bring all its troops home from the Middle East.
The No War on Iran Coalition
Vancouver, British Columbia