For one thing, the location of Camp Mirage was always a closely protected secret. This was not done out of fear that terrorists would overrun the Canadian base, but rather to lessen the impact on the host nation regarding relations with its neighbouring states.
The United Arab Emirates remains a conservative Muslim state surrounded by many fundamentalist Arab countries that see the NATO intervention in Afghanistan as a Western war against Islam.
Further complicating matters is the fact that, since coming to power in 2006, the Harper government has publicly decreed, at every opportunity, its unwavering, unilateral support for Israel. For better or for worse, that is the path the Conservatives have chosen to follow, so it seems incredibly hypocritical that Harper would still expect an Arab nation to provide us the use of an airbase for nine years â€” for free.
In his exclusive interview, Harper also claimed that this experience has been a valuable learning opportunity for himself and his government.
"What this teaches us in (the) future and when weâ€™re looking at other options is: Donâ€™t get in a place where somebodyâ€™s going to try and use it to leverage some unrelated issue."
(Second note to Harper: Thereâ€™s no such thing as a free lunch.)
Iâ€™m not hearing anyone suggest an alternate payment option for all the services and access our military had to the Emiratesâ€™ airbase during the past nine years.
Surely, as a good ally, Canada will pony up the back rent!
Iâ€™m positive that, if such negotiations were initiated in good faith, to settle our account amicably, those Canadian officials seeking a new staging base in the region would find their job a whole lot easier.