ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, believes the Syrian Kurds played a significant role in defeating the Islamic State.
“Because of the key role the Kurds played in defeating the terrorist [Islamic State] organization, it is only legitimate that the regional and international community is concerned over their fate,” Gargash wrote in a tweet on Monday.
“It is in the Arabs’ interest that the role and the location of the Kurds be dealt with within a political framework that protects Syria’s territorial integrity,” he added.
على ضوء الدور المحوري الذي لعبه الأكراد في هزيمة تنظيم داعش الإرهابي فإن القلق الإقليمي والدولي حول مصيرهم مشروع، ومن هذا المنطلق فإن المصلحة العربية تقتضي ان ينحصر التعامل مع دور وموقع المكون الكردي ضمن الإطار السياسي وبما يحفظ وحدة الأراضي السورية.— د. أنور قرقاش (@AnwarGargash) January 14, 2019
In response, Mustafa Bali, the head of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) press office, said it is of urgent “historical necessity” that Arabs and Kurds work together to prevent the return of a “new Ottoman [Empire].”
In a tweet, Bali argued that Arabs and Kurds should work alongside one another to prevent a Turkish “annihilation and genocide.”
الانفتاح بين الكرد و العرب ضرورة تاريخية ملحة على قاعدة الأخوة الكردية العربية لتجاوز هذه المرحلة المصيرية في مسيرة كلا الشعبين و إلا فإن خطر عودة العثمانية الجديدة و ثقافة الخازوق التركي سيكون مصيرا سوداويا لكلا الشعبين.— Mustafa Bali (@mustefa2bali) January 15, 2019
الكرد و العرب مصير مشترك ضد الإبادة و الجينوسايد التركي https://t.co/38ycCOkvlS
Senior US officials have promised to prevent Turkey from slaughtering the Kurds in Syria after America withdraws its forces from the war-torn country. The comments, meanwhile, angered Turkish government officials who deny they would target Kurds.
Nicholas A. Heras, a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, believesthe UAE does not want Turkey to take over the East of the Euphrates, which Kurds, Christians, Arabs, and other ethnic groups populate.
“The emphasis on Syrian territorial integrity makes me believe that the UAE does not want Turkey to gain too much in Syria,” he told Kurdistan 24.
UAE, a close US ally, views Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government hand-in-hand with Islamist movements it opposes across the Arab world.
Despite billions of dollars’ worth of commerce, relations between Abu Dhabi and Ankara have deteriorated over the years with conflicting regional policies, namely toward an Egypt in turmoil, the civil war-stricken Syria, and Qatar where Turkey supports Islamic movements.
The UAE notably backed the 2013 military coup d’etat by the then Egyptian army chief, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who toppled the democratically-elected President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who Ankara supported.
Turkey has stood firm with Qatar which in June came under diplomatic and commercial isolation by Saudi Arabia and the UAE-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries over the Doha government’s protection of Muslim Brotherhood figures and alleged cooperation with Iran.
Turkey broke the blockade on Qatar by shipping off goods and building a military base in the small peninsula nation against any potential threat from its neighbors.
Pro-government Turkish media have claimed the UAE played a role in the mid-2016 attempted coup against Erdogan’s rule.
Moreover, in July 2018, Abu Dhabi pledged USD 50 million to help stabilize Raqqa and other areas the Kurdish-backed SDF had liberated from the Islamic State.
Earlier, there were rumors that Arab countries aligned with Saudi Arabia such as the UAE could replace US forces, in case of a withdrawal of American troops, to prevent Turkey from taking over these areas.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently visited the several Gulf States from Jan. 8 to 15, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
However, the US State Department has not revealed any such plans to facilitate Arab forces going into Syria.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany