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Daily News Analysis

UAE’s maneuver in Syria follows predictable course!

Crescent International

Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan (MbZ) was “making strenuous and persistent attempts to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (sic) to break the ceasefire with Turkish-backed rebels in Idlib province,” according to the Middle East Eye (MEE).

The web portal published an exclusive report on April 7, quoting inside sources.

The report further stated that “according to sources familiar with MbZ’s plan, the crown prince agreed to pay $3bn to reignite the offensive against Idlib, the rebels’ last redoubt, $1bn of which was due to be paid before the end of March. By the time the ceasefire was announced, $250m had already been paid up front… MbZ wanted to stretch the resources of the Turkish army and distract Erdogan from successfully defending Tripoli from Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Libya, where Ankara recently came to the aid of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).”

In analyzing the significance of MbZ-Asad phone conversation that was publicly confirmed on March 28, our forecast of this development was that ‘Damascus will milk the UAE for reconstruction funds.’

This has materialized as we predicted.

The other question is, why is Libya so important to the UAE and Saudi regimes?

In February 2020, Crescent International had analyzed Turkish parliament’s approval to deploy troops to Libya in support of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

Our analysis was that this will most likely push Ankara toward greater confrontation with the Saudi regime and its Persian Gulf puppets.

In the same report, we also stated that the chaos in Libya, which is entirely the result of Western-meddling and mischief, has propelled Ikhwan-minded Islamic groups into power.

While these groups exercise limited control over what was once the Libyan state, it is the only place in the Arab world where an Islamic group is part of the government and has executive powers, even though such powers are limited.

Another difference is that the Ikhwan affiliated branch of the Islamic organization once known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) is made up of militants like Abd al-Hakim Bilhaj.

Libyan Islamic organizations that are part of the GNA are more combat-oriented than affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood in other Arab countries.

Thus, the Emiratis and the Saudis realize that they lost in Syria and the Turkish intervention in Libya is spoiling plans to install their puppet Haftar in power in Tripoli.

If they do not act quickly on Libya, they would have an Ikhwan-oriented group in power in a Sunni Muslim country.

This would create a huge social challenge to regimes in the UAE and Saudi Arabia as the Ikhwan and Saudis vie for support of the same constituency: Sunni Muslim Arabs.

Success of an Ikhwan Islamic organization to cling to power in an Arab country would rob the Saudis and Emiratis of their sectarian card.

The loss by the Gulf regimes of this crucial card (sectarianism) would render them irrelevant to the US and Israel.

It should also be noted that Russia and the UAE are on the same side in Libya; they both back Haftar.

Nevertheless, the fact that Moscow has decided to forego a potential opportunity to bring their man to power in Libya over Syria, shows that Russian commitment to confront NATO’s plans in Syria is based on a long-term strategy.

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