EGYPT, SYRIA, LEBANON, ETC, ETC, ALL ARE HAVING “REFORM” RIOTS….AND APPARENTLY OUR POLITICIANS CAN’T SEE WHAT THEY ALL HAVE IN COMMON…ISLAM LOOKING TO TAKE CONTROL OF ALL SAID AREAS….AND WE ARE HELPING THEM!
Cannon weighs in on Middle East turmoil
Mike Barber, Postmedia News · Mar. 25, 2011 | Last Updated: Mar. 25, 2011 9:01 AM ET
Facing international crises in Libya, Bahrain, Japan and now an election at home, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has now waded into the political turmoil unfolding in the Middle East.
In a flurry of statements Thursday night, Mr. Cannon condemned rocket attacks on Israel as “abhorrent and criminal,” pledged money to an investigation examining the assassination of a Lebanese prime minister, and slammed violent crackdowns against protesters in Syria.
Mr. Cannon reaffirmed the federal government’s support for Israel, amid what appears to be a faltering U.S.-brokered peace process with the Palestinian territories.
The minister criticized rocket attacks launched against Israel from paramilitaries in the Gaza Strip for “indiscriminately (targeting) civilian areas.”
The attacks on the port city of Ashdod followed an Israeli air raid on Gaza that was prompted by the bombing of a bus in Jerusalem that killed one Briton and injured dozens of civilians earlier this week, the first such attack in the city in recent years.
The quid-pro-quo attacks suggest an escalation is once again underway between Israel and those in Palestinian territory.
“Canada vigorously condemns the rocket attacks on Israel launched from the Gaza Strip,” said Mr. Cannon. “These terrorist attacks, which indiscriminately target civilian areas, are abhorrent and criminal. Israel has a right to defend itself against such terrorist acts.”
Mr. Cannon called on “all parties in Gaza” to stop the rocket attacks. The minister has yet to comment on the Israeli airstrikes.
Mr. Cannon’s comments on the situation in neighbouring Syria, meanwhile, mirrored those the federal government issued before and during revolts in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in the city of Dara’a led to the deaths of more than 30 civilians earlier this week.
With mass demonstrations scheduled for Friday, Islam’s day of prayer, clashes between security forces and civilians could escalate quickly.
“Canada is deeply concerned by reports that peaceful demonstrators in Dara’a have been subject to arbitrary arrests and to violent crackdowns that have resulted in numerous deaths,” said Mr. Cannon.
Mr. Cannon welcomed the reform measures announced Thursday by Assad’s government in a bid to quell the protests. The government promised to begin the process of allowing multi-party elections and enhance press freedoms, measures Mr. Cannon said he hopes the Syrian government will follow “with genuine consultations with the Syrian people.”
Finally, a third statement from Mr. Cannon said the Canadian government will contribute another $1 million to an international tribunal tasked with investigating the assassination in 2005 of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.
The UN-mandated Special Tribunal for Lebanon has, since 2007, been investigating the bomb attack on Hariri’s motorcade.In January, the tribunal submitted its first indictments for members of Hezbollah, a Shiite paramilitary organization and political party funded in part by Iran, to a pre-trial judge.
Those indictments caused a coalition of parliamentarians to boycott the government and nominate a new, pro-Syria prime minister, Najib Mikati, to lead the assortment of parties.
Mr. Cannon said the contribution, which adds to the $3.7 donated to the tribunal since 2007, reaffirms Canada’s support for the process. “We urge the future Lebanese government to continue to support and co-operate with the tribunal and to continue to uphold its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions on Lebanon,” said Mr. Cannon.
A travel advisory against all non-essential to Lebanon has been in place since January.