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THE EARLY PHOENIX

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April 29 – 30 – 1  May 2023

IRAN

  1. US No Friend of Iraq, Not Even Loyal to Europe, Ayatollah Khamenei Warns (Tasnim News)President of Iraq Abdul Latif Rashid and his accompanying delegation met with Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran on Saturday… The Leader asserted that the Americans are not Iraq’s friends, adding, “The US is not Iraq’s friend. The US is not anyone’s friend. They are not even loyal to their European friends. The presence of even one single American in Iraq is too much.”
  2. Iran Urges Trade with India in Own Currencies (Tasnim News)Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani called for plans to conduct trade transactions with India using the two countries’ currencies, namely the rial and rupee. For his part, Ajit Kumar Doval stressed the need for independent states to realize the characteristics of the new global developments and strengthen their domestic capabilities to promote regional cooperation and play a more active international role. Meanwhile, Iran’s rial hit its lowest point in one month on Monday, falling by 10 percent against the US dollar amid strikes.
  3. Labor Strikes Escalate: Tehran Faces Potential Expulsion of 4,000 Gas Company Workers (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Labor strikes have resumed in oil and gas companies across numerous Iranian cities as workers protest deteriorating living conditions and inadequate wages. Additionally, they demand improvements in housing and transportation. According to Iran’s Etemad newspaper, the strikes have recently involved up to 10,000 workers. 
  4. Practical Steps Mending Tehran-Baku Ties (Tasnim News).  Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said reasonable steps had been taken to clear up misunderstandings with the Republic of Azerbaijan based on goodwill. Following an agreement between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan and three rounds of talks, the media atmosphere of the two neighbors has de-escalated.
  5. US Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Permanently Authorize Sanctions On Iran (Iran International). A bipartisan group of US lawmakers introduced legislation Monday to give permanent authorization to the president to implement sanctions on Iran. 
  6. Iran Ready for Joint Naval Drills with SCO Members (Tasnim News)General Ashtiani proposed the formation of the ‘Shanghai Maritime Security Belt mechanism with the participation of the armed forces of all SCO member states to protect the security of maritime routes and ensure the safety of global trade with collective efforts.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. We Will Not Allow Iran To Put Noose Of Terror Around Us: Netanyahu (Iran International). At the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that the country’s security personnel are “working on this matter around the clock … and we will continue to act both offensively and defensively against the aggression of Iran and its terrorist satellites”.
  2.  Israel Got Intel on Iran’s Secret Nuclear Weapons Program from Executed Spy (Times of Israel)Russian intelligence reportedly helped Iran discover that a dual Iranian-British national who once served as its deputy minister of defense was leaking information about its top-secret nuclear weapons program… According to an in-depth New York Times report released on Monday, Akbari was a spy and began leaking Iranian atomic secrets to the British in 2004, keeping his activities hidden for 15 years.
  3.  McCarthy Extols Ties at Knesset, Vows Full Support for Israeli Security against Iran (Times of Israel)In later comments, he repeated his statement that he would invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington if US President Joe Biden refuses to do so. Still, he said such a visit would be conducted in a bipartisan manner, with meetings with Republicans and Democrats. “I expect the White House to invite the prime minister over for a meeting, especially because of Israel’s 75th anniversary,” said McCarthy following Biden’s recent comments that Netanyahu would not be receiving an invite to Washington in the near future.
  4.  Justice Minister Levin: Washington Aiding Israel’s Protesters against Judicial Reform (Jerusalem Post). The State Department has given over $38,000 since 2020 to the Movement for Quality Government, one of the leading groups in protests against Netanyahu in recent years, including this year’s round of demonstrations opposing judicial reform.

SYRIA

  1.  Amman Consultative Meeting on Syria Concludes: Follow-Up Discussions and Key Issues Addressed (Enab Baladi). One of the points the Arab ministers agreed upon was the work to accelerate the implementation of early recovery projects.  
  2.  Jordan Thwarts Captagon Smuggling from Syria as Foreign Minister Al-Miqdad Arrives in Amman (Enab Baladi). On Monday, May 1, the Jordanian “Ammon” news agency reported that authorities in Jordan’s eastern military region foiled an infiltration and smuggling attempt from Syrian territories. The incident led to the death of one smuggler while others managed to escape back into Syria. A military source in the Jordanian Army Command disclosed that search and inspection operations uncovered 133,000 Captagon tablets, a Kalashnikov firearm, and ammunition.
  3.  Syrian Refugees Deported from Lebanon Face Arrest and Conscription (Reuters)Some said their loved ones were held by the Syrian army’s Fourth Division, headed by President Bashar al-Assad’s brother, and had been sanctioned for rights violations. Amnesty International says the deportations are a “clear violation” by Lebanon of international law under the principle of “nonrefoulement,” which prohibits nations from forcibly returning anyone to a country where they risk persecution.
  4.  Israeli Raids Render Aleppo International Airport Inoperative (Zaman Al Wasl). Informed sources told “Zaman al-Wasl” that Israeli raids on Monday night targeted areas surrounding Aleppo International Airport and defense factories in the “Safira” region, resulting in casualties and injuries among Iranian militias.
  5.  Israeli Raids Target Iranian Militia Sites Near Homs (Syria TV)Sources from the Syrian opposition’s monitoring units reported that Israeli planes flying over Lebanese airspace targeted a weapons depot and a military headquarters at Dabaa military airport early Saturday morning. Members of the “Hezbollah” militia and Iranian-backed militias are stationed at the airport. In addition, another weapons and ammunition depot was also targeted in the town of Shinshar, located in the southwestern countryside of Homs in central Syria.
  6.  International Coalition and SDF Conduct Military Maneuvers in Northeastern Syria (Syria TV)Local sources reported that the international coalition forces are conducting military exercises in the countryside of Deir Ez-Zor and Hasakah for the third consecutive day, utilizing aviation and heavy weapons during the routines… They added that these exercises primarily focus on aerial operations using helicopters and drones.
  7.  Due to Forced Deportations, Two Cases of Suicide by Syrians in Lebanon and Aleppo (Syria TV). During the past few hours, two Syrians committed suicide, one in Lebanon and the other in northern Syria, due to forced deportation to their country.

IRAQ

  1.  Former Iraqi PM to Be Interrogated by Iraqi Prosecution for Soleimani’s Assassination (Iraqi News)Al-Kadhimi’s interrogation is part of a lawsuit filed by the head of the Rights Movement, Hussein Monis, Against Al-Kadhimi as he was the former head of the intelligence service in Iraq. The former Iraqi Prime Minister is charged with dereliction that killed Soleimani and his companions.
  2.   Iraq Urges Iran to Cooperate in Water and Drug Control (Al Sharq Al Awsat). During a press conference with the Iraqi president in Tehran, the Iranian president stated, “Security understandings between the two countries have always existed.” He emphasized that destabilizing security in Iraq implies destabilizing security in Iran, adding that “Tehran seeks to secure common interests with Baghdad and places great importance on border security.” Raisi criticized the presence of US forces in the Middle East, saying, “Negotiations between the countries of the region lead to improved security and stability, while the American presence in the region harms its stability.”

TURKIYE

  1.  Türkiye Neutralizes Daesh/ISIS leader al-Qurayshi in Syria (Anadolu Agency). The National Intelligence Organization (MIT) has been following the so-called leader of Daesh, code-named Abu Hussein al-Qurayshi, for a long time.
  2.   Türkiye’s Homegrown 5th-Generation Fighter Jet Named KAAN (Daily Sabah)TAI has developed the fifth-generation aircraft intending to replace the F-16 aircraft in the inventory of the Air Forces Command, which is planned to be phased out starting in the 2030s. The project was launched in 2016. 
  3.  Türkiye’s Kilicdaroglu Pulls Ahead of Erdogan in Latest Polls as Campaign Heats up (Al-Monitor)The Istanbul-based pollster TEAM, which released its April report over the weekend, places the opposition’s presidential candidate at 47.4% and Erdogan at 44.4% in the first round on May 14. But, according to the poll, a runoff two weeks later will likely end with Kilicdaroglu beating Erdogan by 5%.

THE GULF

  1.  Saudi Arabia Thwarts Attempt to Smuggle Over 5 Million Drug Pills; Syrian Among Accused (Zaman Al Wasl)The official spokesperson for the General Directorate for Narcotics Control… announced that an attempt to smuggle 5,280,000 amphetamine tablets was thwarted inside a shipment of stones and building supplies at the Jeddah Islamic Port in Jeddah Governorate, in coordination with the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority.
  2.  US Intelligence Discloses Construction Activities at Chinese Military Facility in UAE (Al Jazeera)The Washington Post reported that these activities, situated at a port near Abu Dhabi, are among several actions taken by the UAE that have drawn the attention of US intelligence. There is growing concern that the Emiratis, long-standing security partners of the US, are fostering close security ties with China, potentially jeopardizing US interests. 
  3.  Aramco Partners with Chinese Firm to Establish Largest Steel Plant in the Region (Al Khaleej Online).  In a statement released Monday, Aramco announced that the plant’s production capacity will reach 1.5 million tons annually. Aramco emphasized that the plant will be the first of its kind in the Kingdom and the Gulf region, providing a system for the area’s steel industry in the area… Four months after President Xi Jinping visited the Kingdom, 35 investment agreements were signed between companies from both countries.  
  4.  Iran Plans to Build Housing on UAE-Occupied Islands (Al Khaleej Online). According to Alireza Tangsiri, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ naval forces, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has instructed the preparation and development of infrastructure and housing on islands in the Gulf to make them habitable and enhance their security and stability… This move comes amidst the ongoing territorial dispute between Iran and the UAE over the islands of Tunb Alkubra, Tunb Alsughra, and Abu Musa, which Iran occupied and for which it issued official title deeds last September, despite the UAE’s claim of sovereignty over them.

SUDAN

  1.  Sudan’s Army Releases Statement on Gains, Casualties, and Plans for Negotiations in Saudi Arabia (Al Jazeera)The second commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Abd al-Rahim Hamdan Dagalo, stated in an interview with Al-Jazeera that their forces still maintain control over their positions in the Republican Palace, radio and television, and Khartoum airport… Meanwhile, the Sudanese army reported in a statement issued on Monday that the situation in all states of Sudan is stable and that its forces managed to reduce the combat capabilities of the Rapid Support Forces by 45 to 55% during 15 days of fighting… In addition, Volker Peretz, the United Nations envoy to Sudan, announced on Monday that the conflicting parties have agreed to send representatives for peace negotiations that could take place in Saudi Arabia.

EGYPT

  1.  Egypt Raises Prices of Most Subsidized Commodities, Except Bread (SNA Business).  The Finance Ministry announced its plan to increase funding for social protection programs by 48.8 percent to reach 529.7 billion pounds in the upcoming fiscal year. In addition, food subsidies will also be raised by 41.9 percent to 127.7 billion pounds. However, supply Minister Ali al-Moselhi states that most funding increases will be toward bread subsidies. The Supply Minister also said that Egypt is seriously considering approving the currencies of its commodity trading partners, such as China, India, and Russia, to reduce its dependence on dollars.

 

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