Trudeau’s Jeeps in action

‘An election is no time to discuss serious issues,’ former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell notoriously said. That, of course, is one of the reasons we supposedly value a free press – to hold politicians to account and make sure that they have to talk about what really matters. So given that we have a general election campaign going on at the moment, you’d imagine that when a major international news story breaks, and there’s shown to be a Canadian connection, our press would be on it in a flash. But for whatever reason that doesn’t seem to be the case.

A couple of days ago, news broke that the Houthi forces in Yemen had claimed to have inflicted a major defeat on Saudi forces near the southern Saudi of Najran. Subsequently, the Houthis released videos apparently proving their case. These showed large numbers of dead and captured Saudi troops as well as a significant amount of destroyed and captured armoured vehicles. That much attracted the attention of the our press, but it somehow failed to note that a lot of the vehicles were in fact Canadian.

Back in 2014, the Harper government struck a $15 billion deal to sell light armoured vehicles (LAVs) to the Saudi government. After this deal came in for public criticism, Harper’s successor as Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said that there was nothing to worry about, as the contract was only for ‘jeeps’. That, of course, was nonsense, as this drawing from the National Post newspaper makes clear.

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For comparison, here’s a picture of one of the Saudi vehicles captured by the Houthis in the recent battle:

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My not-entirely forgotten military vehicle recognition training teaches me to look for things like hatches and wheels. So let’s do that. Note the position of the hatch in the photo, and compare it to the drawing above. Note also the positioning of the wheels of the captured vehicle – there’s a small gap between the front two, a large one between the middle two, and then a very small one between the wheels at the back. Then compare that to the drawing. I don’t know about you, but the two look pretty similar to me. I’m willing to be corrected on this, but I’d say that it seems that the Houthis now have a least one Canadian-built LAV in their possession.

Here’s some more evidence – a rather blurry photograph from the CBC, showing a Saudi-purchased Canadian LAV. The key item is the triangular piece of metal with two holes in it, which you can see in the bottom right of the vehicle.

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Now compare that to this picture of one of the Saudi vehicles destroyed in the recent Houthi offensive. Look familiar??

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Sadly, this isn’t the least of it. Those Canadian LAVs seem to have had a rather bad day, as you can see below:

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Why does this matter?

The contract with the Saudis has been controversial from the moment it was first signed, with various activists in Canada complaining that we should not be selling weapons to a country with such a bad human rights record. The possibility that the armoured vehicles might be used in Yemen has also been raised as a reason why the contract should be cancelled. At one point it looked as if the Liberal government was having some pangs of conscience, and it announced that Global Affairs Canada (GAC), under the command of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, would review the contract to see whether it should be terminated.  A spokesman for GAC declared that,

Canada does not export items destined for Yemen or that we suspect might be used in Yemen due to the impact on regional stability and security. Careful attention is paid to the potential for the diversion of Canadian exports to the conflict in Yemen. … If there is evidence that Canadian arms are being misused or have been diverted, Minister Freeland will suspend those export permits while an investigation proceeds, as she has done in the past.

Despite some compelling evidence that Canadian equipment had indeed been diverted to the war in Yemen, nothing ever came of that promise, however. Sales of Canadian military equipment to Saudi Arabia have continued apace and the government ‘review’ has disappeared without trace. Meanwhile, Canadian arms continue to fuel the war in Yemen, and as the pictures above show are now actually in the hands of both sides of the conflict!!

If the Canadian government publicly preached hard-headed realism, I wouldn’t mind so much. If our politicians just said, ‘business is business’, or ‘we back Saudi Arabia because we want to fight Iran’, or something like that, it would at least have the virtue of brutal honesty. But that isn’t how our politicians talk. Rather, Canadian foreign policy discourse is nothing if not an exercise in holy-than-thou sanctimonious moralizing. Yet when it comes to an opportunity to make some money, all that goes out of the window.

So why aren’t our media on this? As there’s an election going on, now’s the time to ask the politicians some hard questions. Someone needs to put Trudeau and Freeland on the spot, and get them to give them an answer about what they intend to do about arms sales to Saudi Arabia given the new evidence which has come to light. And someone needs to tackle opposition politicians about it too. Somehow, though, I doubt that they will. Some things are too serious to talk about at election time. There’s just no way to discuss them without looking bad.

23 thoughts on “Trudeau’s Jeeps in action”

  1. “If the Canadian government publicly preached hard-headed realism, I wouldn’t mind so much. If our politicians just said, ‘business is business’, or ‘we back Saudi Arabia because we want to fight Iran’, or something like that, it would at least have the virtue of brutal honesty. But that isn’t how our politicians talk. Rather, Canadian foreign policy discourse is nothing if not an exercise in holy-than-thou sanctimonious moralizing.”

    I’m with you on this one, 100%. But does it make sense to talk of any “discourse”, in this situation? It’s a farce. And it seems that any attempt to participate only serves to legitimize it.

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  2. Watching all that destroyed expensive military hardware – of the military of a much stronger, richer, more technologically advanced state brought low by a much poorer, much less technologically advanced foe I am reminded of the photos of Wadi Doum in the Chadian-Libyan Toyota Wars.

    Out of curiosity professor, have you read Kenneth Pollack’s book ‘Armies of Sand’ ?

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  3. Better to talk about Trudeau having spent the majority of time while in his early 20s wearing black face (which alone should disqualify him for the job). Bad optics, but not an indicator of supporting war crimes and genocide.

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  4. Well, to be a little pedantic, the Houthis launched the attack over the border in Najran province, which is used by the Saudis to launch attacks against the Houthis in Yemen proper as well. Nonetheless, the hardware was destroyed on Saudi territory and they can claim they did not intend for it to go over the border.

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      1. Ah okay. I didn’t see the latest post by the Colonel.

        By the way, I was introduced to his blog via your blogroll. Very valuable practical information there and his pro-Communist propaganda is very fair in that he reports on Stalin’s crimes and why he thinks he was okay overall, and informs you that it is what he believe and you don’t have to also have his convictions.

        I can respect his free speech convictions and his desire to have bias-free practical information. I actually feel that if it ever came down to it, I could have a much better practical conversation with this communist (an ideology that I think is foolish at best), than with a representative of today’s Western media.

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      2. 🙂

        Two things.

        1) LJ “Colonel Cassad” is written not by a real (either retired or active service) colonel. Therefore any shorthand to “Colonel” while describing him (Crimea’s native, btw) looks… wild. For the reference sake – colonel Fedmahn Kassad.

        2) I’m unaware of any instance when Boris Rozhin aka Colonel Cassad ever used the term “crime” as pertaining to what the leadership of the Soviet Union did to various criminals. Care to enlighten me with any examples, blatnoi?

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      1. Thanks for that – clear proof that Canadian LAVs have indeed been ‘diverted’ to the war in Yemen. So where is our foreign minister’s promised suspension of export permits??

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    1. Actually Lytti, no, I will not be discussing the output of the Colonel’s blog with you. Especially I’m not going to start discussing Stalin’s crimes with someone who thinks being anti Soviet Union is anti Russian. Maybe make your posts shorter in the future and try not to attack everyone instinctively. Also try to keep an open mind, the way I do when I read the Colonel’s output.

      Good luck!

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      1. “Also try to keep an open mind, the way I do when I read the Colonel’s output. “

        I just explained that LJ ColonelCassad is not written by an actual “colonel”. You still keep calling the author by this… honorific. An “open mind” indeed.

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      2. Oh, and one more thing:

        “Especially I’m not going to start discussing Stalin’s crimes with someone who thinks being anti Soviet Union is anti Russian.”

        Also you in the previous comment:

        “Very valuable practical information there and his pro-Communist propaganda is very fair in that he reports on Stalin’s crimes and why he thinks he was okay overall”

        Useprerson “blatnoi”, I asked you a simple question – where and when did the owner and proprietor of the LJ ColonelCassad ever described the USSR’s leadership actions as “crimes”. You could have easily answered it, given that you, apparently, read the blogposts that made you write this comment in the first place. Or should I assume, that you can’t answer this question not because you loath to communicate with me, but because the (truthful) answer would run against your stance on “crimes”? Meaning – that you are lying.

        My positin, useprerson “blatnoi”, is logically consistent. If you keep insisting on “Stalin/Soviet Regime crimes”, then you are saying that the USSR had been ruled by the “criminal Regime”. These “Regime” won against the Nazi Germany and participated in the post-war world settlement. But the “criminal Regimes” (and their countries) could not be granted the same (read – any) degree of legitimacy as the “normal countries” (read – USA and their satellites). Therefore, all gains of the USSR (and Russia) acquired after the defeat of the Nazi Germany are illegitimate. Therefore, “normal countries” must do their utmost to roll them back. Meaning – annihilate them and impose your own puppets in charge of Russia. Oh, and constant dose of Paying and Repenting ™.

        Useprerson “blatnoi”, I want to ask you – do you follow your stance consistently to the hilt, to its logical conclusion? Are from the “Pay and Repent” camp? Are you suggesting (further) partition of Russia? Are you for Russia’s expulsion from the UNSC? Are you, ultimately, for Russia becoming a “normal country” under the tender grace of the occupational pro-Western regime?

        Thank you in advance for all the answers. Not answering by angrily pouting would be an answer in itself.

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      3. I didn’t really read your entire post, because your entrance into ‘dialogue’ was to teach me about something with no point, and ask me to prove something irrelevant. The Colonel did have a post or two about Stalin’s crimes and people executed for small crimes and how it was all documented and said to the effect that the best disinfectant is sunlight, and that if it’s not pointed out, others will exaggerate it and ascribe a much bigger number. You can go through his last 500 posts yourself as I believe it was int he past year.

        Your last bit (past the previous part where I saw something about ‘partition of Russia’ and quickly skipped it) is pretty funny, “Not answering by angrily pouting would be an answer in itself.”

        What, you will even ascribe victory to a non-answer by pretending I was angry at something? How can you tell what some other person half-way around the world is really thinking, much less the way text effects their emotions, just by reading their text comments? If I’m angry on something on the political internet, I just remind myself that I would like to read it for research purposes to know how others think, or I just stop reading it.

        Maybe it’s some sort of tactic to actually make me angry or something… If so, it will never work and I don’t really see the point? The way you conduct arguments is self-defeating from the point of view of a third party. I suggest learning more from the Colonel, or from Dr. Robinson.

        If you answer this post, I will assume that I made you angry due to my being right. Please try to keep your comments informative and don’t address me if you ask for things which will waste my time and teach me nothing new. If you are trying to convince others be civil. I have a busy job. Still, you might be effective to some degree. I mean, I am answering your post in a way, So who knows…

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  5. “I didn’t really read your entire post, because your entrance into ‘dialogue’ was to teach me about something with no point, and ask me to prove something irrelevant.”

    Also userperson blatnoi:

    “Also try to keep an open mind, the way I do when I read the Colonel’s output.”

    🙂

    If you can’t “keep an open mind” for the sake of just two short paragraphs, then stick to comic books for teens about super-heroes.

    Also, it’s a third post when you insist on calling the owner and proprietor of the LJ ColonelCassad Boris Rozhin “colonel”, despite the fact that he never ever attained such a rank. I figure then calling you שוחט is also fine?

    “The Colonel did have a post or two about Stalin’s crimes and people executed for small crimes and how it was all documented”

    The question before you is an easy one, useperson blatnoi. Did he or did he not use the term “Stalin’s crimes”, which you yourself use ceaselessly? If you, indeed, read ColonelCassad’s LJ while “keeping an open mind”, then such information might enter it after all.

    “What, you will even ascribe victory to a non-answer by pretending I was angry at something?”

    […]

    I see you answering me after all 😉

    “If you answer this post, I will assume that I made you angry due to my being right.”

    I’m not angry at you, userperson blatnoi. Just… inquisitive. Your assumption is just a rather ugly strawman. Really, you should improve your technique when it comes to resorting to logical fallacies.

    So I repeat my question, userperson blatnoi – do you follow your stance consistently (re: Criminal Regime in the USSR) to the hilt, to its (pay attention here) logical conclusion? Are you from the “Pay and Repent” camp? Are you suggesting (further) partition of Russia? Are you for Russia’s expulsion from the UNSC? Are you, ultimately, for Russia becoming a “normal country” under the tender grace of the occupational pro-Western regime?

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    1. I’ll tell you a secret Lytti: Russia should definitely be expelled from UNSC and forcefully broken up into several pieces with most of them occupied by NATO troops as long as it takes to civilize the savages. (Lowers voice to a stage whisper): Just don’t tell anyone!

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      1. Blatnoi, that’s an amazing statement that essentially calls for illegal action. There is no body in the world with the lawful power to break up nations. And to do so forcibly using NATO forces would unequivocally constitute a war of aggression, the supreme war crime, for which we executed a bunch of German and Japanese leaders at the end of World War II.

        And you call Russians savages? You need to spend more time peering into a mirror when you have such thoughts.

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      2. I realized that my awesome reply might with time, lose its topical relevance of ‘foolish questions deserve foolish answers’, so I’ve added a quote from the actual early October CNN story.

        “When asked about concerns that Russia might interfere in the 2020 US elections, Russian President Vladimir Putin replied: “I’ll tell you a secret: Yes, we’ll definitely do it,” he said. “Just don’t tell anyone,” he added, in a stage whisper.”

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  6. interesting interview by scott horton with a yemeni blogger

    https://scotthorton.org/interviews/9-30-19-nasser-arrabyee-on-the-houthi-attack-on-saudi-forces/

    nasser arrabyee alleges

    1) surrendering forces were mostly yemeni, including many adolescents paid by KSA and poorly if at all trained
    2) time line of battle needs to be moved back to prior to bombing of prison
    3) KSA bombed prison in retribution of troops surrendering

    a little difficult to listen to. Prison bombing link
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-dhamar/saudi-led-coalition-bombs-yemen-prison-scores-killed-idUSKCN1VM0ZU

    Like

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