Canada, Netherlands set to join ISIS strikes

Flight of F-16 Falcon of Royal Netherlands Air Force at SIAF airshow in Sliac, Slovakia on August 30, 2014.

Flight of F-16 Falcon of Royal Netherlands Air Force at SIAF airshow in Sliac, Slovakia on August 30, 2014.

The Netherlands and Canada are poised to join air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group in Iraq, after Prime Minister Stephen Harper sought parliament’s support on Friday and the Netherlands set to strike militant-held positions this weekend.

If Canadian lawmakers greenlight the action on Monday — as expected — it will be Canada’s first military expedition since Libya in 2011.

Harper said members of the House of Commons, where his Conservative Party enjoys a solid majority, would be asked to vote on the six-month “counter-terrorism” mission.

The White House on Friday welcomed Dutch participation.

“The United States welcomes the decision this week by the government of the Netherlands to send up to eight F-16 fighters and 250 support personnel to conduct air strikes against ISIL (ISIS) in Iraq,” a White House statement said.

Earlier Friday, Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said in a letter to the Dutch parliament that the F-16s “could commence operations this weekend.”

The Netherlands previously said it would send six F-16s to take part in the campaign to smash the extremists, plus two in reserve. However the country said it would not join air strikes in Syria without a UN mandate.

Dutch personnel will also train Iraqi security forces, among other measures, as the Netherlands join a growing international coalition against the ISIS group, which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria.

“These actions demonstrate the continued commitment and leadership by the Dutch to take action as necessary to counter threats to international peace and stability,” the White House said.

“The United States is proud of its longstanding friendship and partnership with the Netherlands and its people, and we look forward to working closely with them and other international partners in our comprehensive approach to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.”

 
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