Source: CBC News

ISIS threat ‘is going to morph’ and possibly go underground in Iraq, says Maj.-Gen. Mike Rouleau.

A captured ISIS battle flag hangs in a glass case on the wall outside the Ottawa office of the commander of Canada’s special forces. A hard-earned prize from a misunderstood war. Losing “the colours” is a humiliation for any military unit, a sign the battle, and maybe even the war, has been lost. The black flag, with white Arabic letters declaring, “There is no God but Allah,” is also a startling, visceral reminder of how much of the three-year conflict in northern Iraq has played out away from the public spotlight. It also raises the question of whether Canada’s involvement has run its course.

The Trudeau government committed last June to keep troops in the war-torn country until 2019, but it has never been clear about what those troops would do there once ISIS was expelled. Just before Christmas, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan signalled the mission would get another makeover, but was vague on what it would look like. The question military commanders are grappling with is whether this next phase of the war will fall within the strict political lines laid down by two successive governments. Special forces troops were mandated to “advise and assist” but not take part in offensive combat alongside the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces. The expulsion of ISIS, also known as Daesh, which fought large conventional battles to hold on to the territory it seized in 2014, did require Canadians to shoot to protect themselves and their allies.  READ MORE…

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