Stewart, a former diplomat, continued: “These are people who are executing people … who have held women and children hostage, who are torturing and murdering, trying, by violence, to impose their will. Our response has to be, when somebody does that, I’m afraid, to deal with that.”
Those words may sound chilling, but they reflect a country that’s suffered several brutal jihadi attacks in recent years, and sees jihadi returnees as a threat. Other countries have come to the same conclusion.
But Canadians who join the militant group have so far had little to fear from their own government, either at home or abroad.
The British government has co-operated with the U.S. on drone strikes that killed two of Britain’s most notorious ISIS members: Mohammed Emwazi (aka Jihadi John) and Junaid Hussain.
The Sunday Times reports that Britain’s Special Air Service, SAS, has been given a “kill list” of British jihadis, including notorious ISIS recruiter and convert Sally Jones, and a dozen others with British university degrees in technical fields such as electronics.
Brett McGurk, former U.S. president Barack Obama’s special envoy for the fight against ISIS, who retains his post under Donald Trump, stated it explicitly on a recent visit to Syria. “Our mission is to make sure that any foreign fighter who is here, who joined ISIS from a foreign country and came into Syria, that they will die here in Syria.”
“They’re not just talking about it,” said Christian Leuprecht, an expert on terrorism and security at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. “Australia is another country that’s taken the same approach — that they would prefer that those individuals who’ve been identified as foreign fighters not return home.”
France, too, is working to eradicate its jihadis overseas. A Wall Street Journal investigation published in May quoted French and Iraqi officials describing French special forces co-operating with Iraqi units to hunt down and kill French jihadis.
But Canada is taking a different approach.
“Canada does not engage in death squads,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told CBC’s Power & Politics on Friday.
“With the battlefield activity winding down, there is a very real question about where the foreign fighters go, and all of our allies, whether they’re in the Five Eyes or the G7, we’ve all agreed to collaborate very carefully.”
Goodale said anyone who poses a terrorist risk, homegrown or from elsewhere, is viewed “with the greatest of seriousness” by Canada’s intelligence, security and police agencies.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said his department’s job is ensuring foreign fighters don’t become a threat.
“We will make sure that we put every type of resource into place so Canadians are well protected,” he told a crowd at the Halifax International Security Forum on Friday.
These thugs don’t become a threat once they are vapourised.
But I repeat myself.