I tried to generate some discussion on this topic when I noticed an article in the Toronto Star - so far, nobody else appears to have noticed, or deigned to comment ...
Here‘s what I said in a different thread:
posted 20-10-2000 10:06 ET (US)
(from the Toronto Star - basically, the underlying story here is that Canada is now content to ride upon somebody else‘s coat-tails, in that we will only contribute sub-units which will fall under somebody else‘s unit command ... all together now: can we say "second rate", or "colonial troops"? In this example, the Dutch are sending over 1,000 troops, and Canada will contribute only a company ... after the engineers have returned home.)
Canada to send UN mission to Ethiopia
OTTAWA (CP) - A joint Canadian-Dutch military reconnaissance mission will head for Ethiopia later this month as the advance guard of a new UN peacekeeping operation.
The Canadian Forces are expected to contribute about 400 soldiers to the 4,200-member peacekeeping operation for a single, six-month deployment.
The troops are expected to be drawn mainly from the 2nd battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at Gagetown, N.B. Some specialists - in short supply in the Forces - will be drawn from other army, navy and air force units.
Although the initial warning order went out to the military last month, the peacekeeping operation will not be announced formally until the recon mission is completed, sources said.
Parliament discussed the deployment earlier this week, although there was no vote taken.
The Canadian contingent, basically a reinforced company of mechanized infantry equipped with armoured vehicles, will be temporarily augmented by up to 200 engineers.
The engineers will go in to erect the necessary infrastructure - housing, storage facilities, communications links and power systems - then return home.
The Canadians will be part of an 1,100-member Dutch contingent. Jordan is also contributing to the force, which will patrol between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The two countries in the Horn of Africa, the eastern shoulder of the continent, fought a bitter war earlier this year in the dry, rocky no-man‘s-land that makes up their ill-defined mutual border.
The United Nations Security Council sent military observers to the area in the summer. In September, the council approved the dispatch of the peacekeeping force.
This new deployment will bring the number of Canadian troops serving overseas to about 2,900. The majority, about 1,800, are with the NATO stabilization force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The rest are parcelled out in penny packets around the world.
The Ethiopia mission follows a new model for the Canadian Forces that was pioneered in East Timor last year.
In the past, Canada either sent specialists - signallers and engineers for example - or contributed infantry battalions to UN missions. But the stress of maintaining its commitment to the Balkans - Canadians have been in the former Yugoslavia since 1992 - has led to a change in the way mission are assembled.
As in East Timor, the Ethiopian mission involves a small group of infantry that will be fitted into a larger, foreign contingent; in the case of East Timor, the Canadians joined an Australian battalion, in Ethiopia, they will merge with the Dutch.
The other factor is the six-month time limit. In the former Yugoslavia, the open-ended commitment has led to a series of six-month rotations. These place a heavy strain on the limited ranks of the army‘s infantry because for every soldier overseas, there must be two at home, one resting up from the last rotation, another training for the next stint.
By sending only a company to Ethiopia and limiting the commitment to six months, the Forces can participate in the mission without making a long-term commitment that would add more strain to an already stretched fabric.
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