Canada is escalating the conflict by joining US-led military operations in the Red Sea: CJPME

Montreal, December 19, 2023 — In response to the announcement that the Canadian military has joined a US-led naval force in the Red Sea, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) issued the following statement by CJPME’s Vice President Michael Bueckert:

For months, Canadians have put massive public pressure on their elected representatives to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and bring an end to the bloodshed in Gaza. Canadians have made it abundantly clear that they expect their government to push for the de-escalation of military hostilities in Gaza and the broader Middle East.

Instead, Canada’s decision to join the US-led military operation in the Red Sea represents an alarming escalation of conflict, and risks pushing us further into a regional war. Rather than joining the US in protecting Israeli interests, Canada should focus on protecting Palestinian civilians from indiscriminate slaughter by pressuring for a ceasefire and imposing an arms embargo on Israel.

For several weeks, the Yemeni Houthis have been firing projectiles at Israeli-linked civilian cargo ships in the Bab el-Mandeb strait and the Red Sea. While the attacks have not caused any casualties, this has had a major economic impact, forcing at least 12 shipping companies to suspend their routes. The Houthis have stated that their goal is to pressure Israel to end its war and siege of Gaza, after which their attacks will end.

Canada should be pushing for an immediate ceasefire and political negotiations that would bring an end to the hostilities in both Gaza and the Red Sea. Instead, the purpose of the US-led naval force is to reduce the pressures on Israel and bolster its capacity to continue waging war on Gaza. This is the opposite of supporting a ceasefire, it is providing military cover for genocide while becoming directly involved in escalating the war. 

Since 2015, Canada has sent billions in weapons to Saudi Arabia. UN experts have warned that these exports are fueling Saudi’s devastating war on Yemen, which has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis through indiscriminate airstrikes and the creation of famine conditions. Now Canada itself risks becoming a junior partner to the US-backed conflict itself, and may be putting itself in direct military confrontation with the Houthis and its regional allies. Trudeau must refuse to play sidekick to Biden in the march to war with Iran.