U.S drives to support the Arab presence in the self-management under Shammar tribe leadership
Since mid-February 2022, the areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have witnessed a clear increase in the activity of the active Arab forces, especially in the governorates of Al-Hasakah and Raqqa under the leadership of the tribe of Shammar and its sheikhs from the Al-Jarba family beside the tribe-affiliated social and political entities, such as the Democratic Conservative Party, whose Secretary-General is Mani’ Hamidi al-Jarba as well as the “Sanadid Forces” affiliated with the “SDF” and led by Bandar Hamidi al-Jarba.
On the 22nd of the same month, the Democratic Conservative Party succeeded in opening an office in the city of Raqqa, to be the first office for the party located outside Al-Hasakah governorate, after the SDF prevented the party from engaging in any activity outside the governorate.
That was followed by several meetings and visits made by the Democratic Conservative Party's Secretary-General brought him together with notables and sheikhs of Arab tribes in Raqqa governorate, in which he urged them to band together and to unite their efforts in order to engage effectively in political work and in the process of managing the region through taking part in the region’s self-management.
On 1 March, at the invitation of the Commander of the Al-Sanadid Forces; the leaders of two Arab factions affiliated with SDF, Abu Ali Burd, commander of the Army of Revolutionaries, and Ibrahim al-Banawi, commander of Jund al-Rahman, made an unprecedented visit to the headquarters of the Al-Sanadid Forces and the Al-Jarba Palace, in which they met the sheikh of the Shammar tribe, Hamidi Daham al-Jarba. During the meeting, they discussed mechanisms for activating the role of the Arab factions affiliated with the SDF and the possibility of raising the level of coordination between them to achieve more effective participation in the region.
Such moves would not have taken place without the support of the leadership of the international coalition; Because the SDF usually does not allow activities and meetings of this kind and at this level to happen outside its umbrella and without its own full supervision; Especially the activities that Arab social, political or military blocs undertake and participate in.
It is likely that the selection of the Shammar tribe and its military and political entities to carry out this mission is due to the good relationship that links its sheikhs with the officials of the Global Coalition and the US administration working on the Syrian file, led by the former Special Envoy to the Coalition and the current coordinator of the U.S. National Security Council for the Middle East, Brett McGurk.
Given the nature and level of these activities, and the current internal and international conditions, a number of possible goals can be developed for the Global Coalition to support them, which are:
• Strengthening the participation of the Arabs as a main component in political life within the SDF-controlled areas, at least for the current period; To ensure their participation in the Autonomous Administration election, which are being prepared to be held in the next few months.
• Confronting the growing activities of ISIS within the SDF-controlled areas, especially within the Arab-majority areas that suffer from marginalization and poor economic and living conditions that make them more vulnerable to attempts to recruit and plant security cells for the ISIS organization.
• Putting pressure on the parties participating in the "Kurdish-Kurdish" negotiations that have been stalled for several months, by supporting the establishment of a new negotiating or internal political track in which Arab parties from the region participate to be a possible alternative to the stalled track negotiations.
• Attempting to achieve part of the Turkish demands and vision related to administering the region and the necessity of the participation of all its components in managing its affairs, especially with the high level of Turkish pressure in this region through the military and security operations it carries out, often using warplanes and drones, the last of which was the military campaign, “Operation Winter Eagle, launched in early February.
In general, the chance of success and how far the goals of these moves could be achieved will be linked to the continuation and seriousness of the support provided by the leadership of the Global Coalition, especially with the negative position of the PKK and the SDF towards these moves. Such moves, consequently, pose a threat to them (PKK & SDF) and to their continued dominance and monopoly over the leadership and management of the region, in addition to the moves' connection with the ability of the Shammar tribe entities to gain the trust of other Arab tribes and clans and persuade them to participate effectively in political life.