Kuwait plays gracious but uneasy host as Canadian jets join anti-ISIL campaign

Canadian warplanes have taken up position in Kuwait, a country straining to hold back the tide of Islamic extremism from its borders.

KUWAIT CITY — Canadian warplanes have taken up position in Kuwait, a country straining to hold back the tide of Islamic extremism from its borders.

The CF-18 jetfighters and CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes are expected to join a U.S.-led coaltion’s bombing campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant within days.

The country’s top military commander, General Tom Lawson, publicly laid out the timeline for launching strikes a few weeks ago.

But outside the tightly buttoned down airfields, there is angst about what is shaping up to be the third war in the region in two decades.

With Islamic State fighters on the outskirts of Baghdad, about 600 kilometres away, much of the debate in the tiny country is about how much of a security threat is posed by the extremist movement, and also whether it is a long-term political danger.

George Irani, an international studies professor at the American University of Kuwait, says ISIL doesn’t have the military strength to conquer all of Iraq, let alone threaten Kuwait.

Even still, just days ago Kuwaiti security forces broke up a suspected ISIL cell in the country.