ABU DHABI (AFP) – The United Arab Emirates, which suspended air strikes against the Islamic State group, wants the US-led coalition to arm Sunni tribes in Iraq to fight the militants, government media reported Friday.
The daily Al-Ittihad said the Emirates’ decision to stop raids in Syria last year was “due to the need to assure adequate protection for all pilots participating in strikes against Daesh” – an Arabic acronym for IS.
An even greater concern, according to the paper, is the lack of support for Sunni tribes in Iraq’s Anbar province, large parts of which have been overrun by the militants.
“The most important reservation… is the dissatisfaction with the coalition which has not kept its promise to remember the Sunnis of Anbar, to train and equip them in the war against Daesh,” it said.
“Neither air strikes nor a media war are sufficient to defeat” IS, the paper added.
The UAE pulled out of air strike missions in December, shortly after a Jordanian pilot was captured by IS extremists after his F-16 fighter jet went down in eastern Syria, according to US officials.