Language / اللغة العربية
Targeting Ibraheem al-Hafal, who is the sheikh of the al-Akidat Tribe, one of the largest tribes in Deir Ezzor and Syria, and assassinating Muttashar al-Hafal, who is a prominent sheikh of the tribe, and his companion, are key incidents in the area. Such incidents gave rise to multiple files, especially the security and economic ones and other cases and details that inquired the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)’ legitimacy and bore the SDF responsible for the incidents. The incidents stirred the Assad regime’, Iran’, and Russia’s desire to try to control east of the Euphrates, or at least destabilize the area.
Since it reached power, the Assad regime has always sought to obliterate tribes’ role in Syria in general and in Deir Ezzor in particular, more especially when the regime separated from the Iraqi al-Baath Party due to tribes’ weight as they are almost a social organization parallel to the status of institution that the state runs. The al-Baath Party ruling Syria succeeded by its iron grip in curbing tribes’ role, twisting their arms, and dividing them. When the street uprising broke out in Syria against tyranny and dictatorship, and as the regime’s iron grip went loose against its will, people of Deir Ezzor revolted like people in other areas. During the uprising, other oppressed identities emerged. These identities are parallel to the identity that the state created. Despite this identity being fragile, the regime’s iron grip protected it. Among these identities is the tribal identity, hence tribalism emerged. Away from evaluating tribalism negatively or positively it gave tribes a role. As tribes have a positive role, they were and are required to work to stabilize the area with partners for the sake of the entire area.
The meetings that coincided with sheikh al-Hafal’s killing and post stage reflected a state of street anger. This state of anger pushed protesters to increase their demands of controlling parties, including the International Coalition, especially to set a time limit to reveal sheikh al-Hafal’s murders and suspending the demands non- implementation and linking it to strong positions by the tribes against the controlling forces.
Tribes must realize their positive role that helps sustaining security, and do without passion and improvisation, and adopt the considered and achievable rhetoric. This is necessary for blocking the space for sides such as the Assad regime, Iran, and surely Russia that hope to control, benefit from, and retaliate against Deir Ezzor.
The tribes must be clear to their people in order to support their demands that represent people of the area interests and not the demand of a single tribe or a part of a tribe. The International Coalition and the United States beyond always addresses the components of the area as a whole, and not as a single force or tribe.
Deir Ezzor economy and reconstruction:
No doubt that oil in Deir Ezzor tempts sides of conflict in Syria, especially the Assad forces, Iran, Russia, and Daesh. It seems that the Autonomous Administration’ SDF’ signing an oil contract with a US company under the order and blessing of the US, played a role in these forces’ displeasure, hence caused them to try to destabilize east of the Euphrates river areas by assassinations and fueling division among tribes and the Deir Ezzor military and civil councils.
Yet, deteriorating economic conditions and lack of job opportunities outside of military forces caused people of the area to feel injustice. The question that derives its legitimacy from this reality is: “Who will benefit from oil profits? The side that signed oil contracts has to initiate good will steps by rehabilitating infrastructure and setting budget and time schedules and plans for work.
The destroyed infrastructure that battles against Daesh resulted in, is a key obstacle for reconstructing Deir Ezzor. Lacking responsibility before people of the area for how to rehabilitate infrastructure, will hinder any serious efforts to stabilize the area.
Prepare foundation for Arab-Kurdish dialogue:
The SDF arranged its internal ranks after the Turkish invasion of different Syrian areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration. The first step in this context was a Kurdis-Kurdish dialogue that the US Department of the State supervised. So far, the dialogue seems to be heading towards success, especially as Mazloum Abdi the SDF’ commander managed the dialogue himself with US, European, and French support and blessing. As such steps enhance stability, the SDF and Arabs in the area should pursue similar steps and dialogue that would cut Iran’, Assad regime’, Russia’, and Daesh’ s hands and nullify their pretexts.
Even many people from the area participate in the Deir Ezzor Civil Council, but they think that it is necessary that they play a major role in making decisions and find the right person in the right place. As the society of Deir Ezzor is homogenous, the majority of the people are Arabs. This fact facilitates any expected dialogue between a Kurdish authority and Arabs of the area.
Preserving Deir Ezzor:
Those interested in the situation of Deir Ezzor and its destroyed infrastructure and insecurity, realize that the first steps to develop the area is standing with the International Coalition and its field partners to eliminate Daesh. People realized the seriousness and usefulness of the International Coalition recent security operation in which it seized significant amounts of materials that would destabilize the area. The second step is respecting the SDF that sacrificed thousands of martyrs for the sake of liberating the area from Daesh.
In order to preserve Deir Ezzor, it is required to sustain ranks’ unity in areas east of the Euphrates river, activate economy, and help the International Coalition and other sides to sustain security. The SDF and Autonomous Administration are required to work seriously without delay to release prisoners, especially those whom people of the are recognize and who did not participate in killings, or were arrested on similarity, suspect, or due to malicious reports. Due to successive updates, the area today is in an urgent need to activate the economy and provide real projects that will block hostile attempts to risk the fate of the area by sides that want to destabilize Northeastern Syria as in general, and Deir Ezzor in particular.
It is all about preserving the people of an area and protecting them against these plans. This is exactly what should come under the term of turning intents into real deeds without hesitation.