Unreal exchange in House of Commons over Canada’s involvement in Iraq -Global

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I am not sure how long Global keeps its video links, but this really is a must see. Regardless of where one stands on the issue of Canada’s involvement in the current Iraq crisis, or on Canada’s relationship with Israel, this not the way to have an intelligent debate on an important policy issue.

http://globalnews.ca/video/1578828/unreal-exchange-in-house-of-commons-over-canadas-involvement-in-iraq/

Update: “Conservative MP Paul Calandra choked back tears while apologizing Friday for responding to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s questions on Canada’s mission in Iraq this week with an attack on the NDP position on Israel.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/paul-calandra-apologizes-for-non-answers-as-sources-pin-blame-on-pmo-1.2779046

Despite the tears, its not much of an apology. He did not promise not to do it again.

US, Iran woo rival Kurdish factions in battle against IS -al Monitor

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Interesting and fairly detailed discussion of how Iran has been supporting one part of the Kurdish ruling coalition (the PUK) while the US has supported the other (the KDP). This could be a stable arrangement, allowing the US and Iran de facto cooperation without formal coordination. Iran’s relationship with the PUK predates the current crisis, while the KDP has had better relations with Turkey, so the divergence is nothing new. The test will come if Iran and the US start having different preferences on the ground, and start pulling the KRG in different directions.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/09/peshmerga-iraq-iran-kurd-isis-krg.html?utm_source=Al-Monitor+Newsletter+%5BEnglish%5D&utm_campaign=9179ba8ea5-September_23_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28264b27a0-9179ba8ea5-93109553#ixzz3E9kd0R4o

“Iranian Attitudes on Nuclear Negotiations” -Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland

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CISSM has conducted a detailed survey of the Iranian public’s attitudes toward the country’s nuclear program and the negotiations with the US. Below are some quotes from the summary. A link to the full survey can be found on the web page

“Iran’s Nuclear Program – A near-unanimous majority of Iranians say that it is necessary for Iran to have a nuclear energy program. Seven in ten say that the Iranian government’s purpose in expanding its nuclear capabilities is for peaceful nuclear energy, while one in five say it is also for developing nuclear weapons.”

“Iranians show a readiness to support their government making a deal on Iran’s nuclear program that includes some key steps sought by P5+1 countries, while also being strongly opposed to some of the limitations that the United States has been seeking.”

“Iranians express high levels of mistrust in the P5+1 countries. More germane, Iranians express high levels of doubt that the United States would remove sanctions, even if Iran were to meet U.S. demands in regard to its nuclear program. Three quarters say that the United States would find some other reason to impose sanctions. This view is related to the perception—held by three in four—that the United States’ main reason for sanctioning Iran is not concern about nuclear weapons but some other motive.”

http://www.cissm.umd.edu/papers/display.php?id=667

RCMP using new measures to stop ‘high-risk travellers’ -Globe and Mail

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“The threat of homegrown terrorism isn’t new, but the manner in which the RCMP zeroed in on this couple represents a fresh gambit in the fight to identify and stop prospective terrorist recruits before they leave Canada. These techniques, which have attracted the ire of civil liberties advocates, are being deployed amid a growing sense of urgency: Officials are warning that more than 100 Canadians are suspected of involvement in terrorism activities around the world.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/rcmp-using-new-measures-to-stop-high-risk-travellers/article20712700/

Troubling in a bunch of different ways. Western youth being drawn to Islamic radicalism did not start with ISIS and will not end with ISIS. So the Canadian legal system will have to develop a mechanism for dealing with the problem, but arbitrarily using passport laws to restrict the movement of “high-risk” individuals seems like a recipe for disaster to me. The media portrayal of the issue is also disturbing. It’s taking on a bit of a “reefer madness” tone, with stories of fresh faced kids being lured by the evils of extremism and violence. Like this one:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/austria/11098039/Austrian-teenage-girl-jihadist-killed-in-Syria.html

Iran has mixed feelings about cooperating with US against IS -Al Monitor

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Interesting piece on Iran’s strategic calculations. From Tehran’s perspective, they cooperated with the US during regional crises in the past (Kuwait & Afghanistan), only to have Washington turn on them after, so the concerns are not surprising.

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/09/iran-isis-shiitte-abdollahian-syria-iraq-rouhani-coalition.html#ixzz3DgjiGjax

Foreign Policy in the Age of Retrenchment -The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

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A very comprehensive survey and detailed analysis of American public opinion concerning foreign policy issues. There is a link to the full report.

“Indeed, the most striking finding of the 2014
Chicago Council Survey is the essential stability of
American attitudes toward international engagement,
which have not changed all that much since the
Council conducted its first public opinion survey 40
years ago. As they have for four decades, Americans
support strong US international leadership, place primacy
on protecting American jobs over other foreign
policy goals, favor diplomacy with countries that are
hostile toward the United States, support participation
in many international treaties and agreements, and
endorse trade despite economic setbacks. Americans
remain selective about when they will support putting
US troops in harm’s way, but are most likely to do so in
response to top threats or humanitarian crises.”