ACLS

Africa in November 2023

Table of Contents

November 1, 2023

  1. Egypt to Receive Injured Gazans through Rafah Crossing. Egyptian authorities announced the reopening of the Rafah border crossing to allow the transfer of 81 seriously injured Palestinian patients to receive medical treatment in Egypt. This move comes amid the ongoing Israeli offensive in Gaza, which has left thousands of Palestinians wounded and killed (Anadolu Agency).
  2. First Group of Dual Nationality Holders and Palestinians Exit Gaza to Egypt. The first group of individuals holding dual nationalities, including Palestinians, exited Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. This move followed Egypt’s exceptional decision to allow the transfer of around 90 injured Palestinians and the departure of approximately 450 dual nationals and foreigners. It’s expected that a total of 520 individuals will be permitted to cross into Egypt over two days (Sharq Awsat).

November 2, 2023

  1. Russia Cooperates with Egypt and Israel to Evacuate Nationals from Gaza via Rafah. Russia, in collaboration with Egypt and Israel, is working on evacuating its citizens from Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. The Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, expressed optimism about the possibility of this evacuation, while over 900 individuals, including 500 Russians, are on the evacuation list (youm7).
  2. Egypt Prepares to Receive 7,000 Foreign Nationals Evacuated from Gaza. Egypt is readying to welcome approximately 7,000 foreign nationals to be evacuated from Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. Diplomatic efforts led by Qatar have already facilitated the departure of over 320 foreigners from the besieged enclave, with Australia among the nations actively involved in the evacuation process (Alquds).
  3. “Rapid Support” Forces Announce Move to Control All Sudan States. The deputy commander of the “Rapid Support” forces, Abdel Rahim Daglo, declared their intention to take control of all Sudan’s states and military sites. The development follows their recent seizure of key military facilities, raising concerns about stability in the region (Sharq Awsat).
  4. “Renaissance Dam”… Will Ethiopia take advantage of Egypt’s preoccupation with the Gaza war? Recent reports of Ethiopia’s preparations for the “fifth filling” of the Renaissance Dam raise questions in Egypt about Addis Ababa’s continued “unilateral actions” regarding the dam while Egypt is preoccupied with the Israeli war on Gaza. This comes weeks before upcoming negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on the dam in Addis Ababa. Some experts in Egypt view Ethiopia’s recent actions as an exploitation of Egypt’s preoccupation with the Gaza war, pushing ahead with dam-related developments unilaterally (Sharq Awsat).

November 3, 2023

  1. Egyptian President Calls for Urgent International Action to Halt War. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged international intervention to swiftly cease hostilities in Gaza and address the humanitarian crisis. Egypt received new U.S. support in rejecting Israeli plans to relocate Palestinians from Gaza to Sinai. Egypt continues evacuation efforts for wounded and foreign nationals from Gaza (Sharq Awsat).
  2. Resumption of Israeli Gas Exports to Egypt in Limited Quantities. Israeli natural gas exports to Egypt have resumed after a recent halt, but the current flow remains limited. The interruption followed Israel’s suspension of production at the Tamar gas field, managed by Chevron, due to escalating conflict with Hamas in Gaza. Instead, supplies have been redirected to a pipeline in Jordan, rather than the direct underwater pipeline to Egypt (SNA Business).
  3. Morocco-Israel Relations at a Crossroads Amid Gaza Crisis. Morocco expresses deep concern over the escalating military actions and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, criticizing Israel’s actions as contrary to international humanitarian law. Recent developments raise questions about the future of Morocco-Israel relations and whether the situation in Gaza will influence Morocco’s stance on normalization. While relations have deepened since late 2020, Morocco has remained cautious about fully normalizing ties with Israel, emphasizing alignment with international legitimacy on the Palestinian issue (Alhurra).

November 6, 2023

  1. Egypt Prepares to Import Rare Gas Shipment Amid Israel Conflict. Egypt is set to import a rare shipment of liquefied natural gas as the Gaza war tightens the fuel market regionally. The move reflects Egypt’s need to secure global markets due to local shortages, impacted by the Israel-Palestine conflict. Egypt traditionally exports natural gas but now looks to international sources due to local disruptions and growing domestic demand. The situation is also affecting energy-intensive industries and causing a decline in fertilizer production, with potential ripple effects on global fertilizer trade (Alaraby).
  2. Fitch Downgrades Egypt’s Credit Rating, Citing Israel War Impact. Fitch Ratings has downgraded Egypt’s long-term foreign currency credit rating to “B-” from “B” due to increased risks to external financing. The agency also revised its outlook from “negative” to “stable.” Fitch cited Egypt’s proximity to the Israel-Palestine conflict, potential refugee inflows, and the negative impact on tourism. However, expected revenues from tourism and the Suez Canal, as well as recovering external remittances, may help mitigate financing needs (Aljazeera).
  3. Tunisia Divided Over Law Criminalizing Normalization with Israel. Tunisian lawmakers are at odds over a proposed law criminalizing normalization with Israel. While some support the law, President Saied argues it would harm the country’s interests. The law defines normalization as a crime, with penalties including life imprisonment and significant fines. Tunisia has a strong history of supporting the Palestinian cause, and President Saied has referred to normalization as “high treason.” (Sharq Awsat).
  4. Darfur Clashes Could Alter Sudan’s War Course… Watchful Eye on Kordofan Resolution. Ongoing clashes between the Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces in Darfur may represent a critical turning point in the conflict, with cities falling under “Support” control. Attention shifts to the remaining military strongholds in the region, while neighboring states brace for what comes next. Meanwhile, Kordofan region witnesses heightened tensions as it holds its breath for potential developments (Al Nahar).

November 7, 2023

  1. Reopening of Rafah Crossing for Evacuation to Egypt. Hamas has reopened the Rafah Crossing, connecting Gaza to Egypt, to facilitate the evacuation of foreigners and dual nationals stranded in Gaza due to Israeli airstrikes. The crossing was previously open for three days to evacuate Palestinian casualties and foreign passport holders, with occasional closures due to disputes over ambulance access. Preparations are underway to receive 30 injured Palestinians under the supervision of the International Red Cross, and negotiations with international parties are ongoing to ensure a safe passage for ambulances without exposure to airstrikes (Sharq Awsat).
  2. Egypt Challenges Israel’s Gaza Plans, Calls Them Unrealistic. Egypt has been informing the US that Israel’s objective of removing Hamas from Gaza is an unrealistic goal. Egypt resists any forced displacement and security agreements, highlighting its desire for a swift end to the conflict. This stance by Egypt underscores its assertive role in the conflict and concerns about potential destabilization in the Sinai region (Middle East Eye).
  3. Sisi Meets Kiir, Agrees to Intensify Sudan Conflict Resolution Efforts. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and South Sudan’s Salva Kiir have agreed to intensify communications with Sudanese parties to resolve the ongoing conflict in Sudan. The move aims to address the crisis that has resulted in thousands of casualties and millions of displaced people in Sudan since April 2023. Egypt expresses its commitment to supporting South Sudan despite global economic challenges (Aljazeera).
  4. Haftar Has No Plans to Grant Russia a Military Base. A senior source from the Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, denied any intention to establish any kind of agreement with Russia to grant them a military base in eastern Libya. This comes in response to reports suggesting Moscow’s interest in a defense deal, following a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Haftar in Moscow last September (Sharq Awsat).

November 8, 2023

  1. In the midst of regional upheaval, Egypt emerges as a facilitator of compassion, granting permission for a United Nations humanitarian team to enter the fray and bring solace to Gaza. This UN ensemble, working hand in hand with the Egyptian Red Crescent, is poised to deliver a lifeline of food, water, medical supplies, and medicines to those caught in the crossfire. As the severity of the Gaza situation escalates, these efforts to open humanitarian corridors and advocate for ceasefires highlight Egypt’s pivotal role in mitigating the suffering of a beleaguered population. Furthermore, Egypt is not just stopping at approval; it is actively engaging in the relief effort, dispatching a second wave of aid to the residents of Gaza, underlining a commitment to their neighbors’ welfare (Alarabiya).
  2. Turning to the shores of North Africa, a new strategic gambit unfolds as Russia is reported to be entrenching its military might in eastern Libya. With the intent to possibly establish a naval base and a defense pact with General Khalifa Haftar, Russia appears to be extending its geopolitical reach to the Mediterranean’s edge. These actions signal a bold move to assert influence in a region where the tides of power are ever-shifting. The leaked information on this military expansion has set off alarm bells among Western capitals, apprehensive about the implications of Russia’s growing footprint so close to European territories. This chess move by Moscow could redefine the balance of power in this historically volatile region (Alarab).

November 9, 2023

  1. Egypt and Qatar Mediate for Hostage Release and Gaza Truce. Egypt and Qatar are actively negotiating to secure the release of 10 to 15 hostages from Gaza, potentially in exchange for a temporary ceasefire. These efforts follow a successful prior intervention by Qatar, releasing a mother and daughter with American citizenship. CIA Director William Burns’s visits to Israel and Qatar may further facilitate progress towards an agreement, amidst ongoing discussions for a three-day ceasefire linked to the hostages’ release, including six American citizens (i24).
  2. Egypt Declines U.S. Proposal for Gaza Security Role Post-Conflict. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has turned down a U.S. proposal for Egypt to manage security in the Gaza Strip after the current hostilities cease, emphasizing the need for Hamas to continue its security role along the Egypt-Gaza border. This decision aligns with Egypt’s stance on maintaining regional stability and comes after U.S. calls for a reduced Israeli presence in Gaza post-conflict, advocating for Palestinian Authority leadership and opposing any forced displacement of Palestinians or siege on Gaza (i24).
  3. Evacuation Operations Through the Rafah Crossing Were Disrupted. Evacuation efforts from Gaza to Egypt through Rafah Crossing were halted for the second time since November due to Israel’s refusal to approve the list of wounded individuals. Israel’s objection obstructed the planned evacuation on Wednesday, prompting frustration among those seeking to cross (AL Nahar).
  4. Egypt’s Gas Exports Face Challenges After Gaza War. The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies suggests that the European Union’s prospects of receiving more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Egypt in the short and medium term seem unlikely due to gas shortages and reduced imports from Israel. Egypt, which supplied 80% of its LNG exports to Europe last year, faces obstacles as conflicts in Israel and Hamas led to the closure of the Tamar gas field and the suspension of exports through the East Mediterranean Gas Pipeline (EMG) (SNA Business).
  5. Russia Proposes Withdrawing Libya Case from ICC. Russia suggests pulling the Libyan case from the International Criminal Court (ICC), arguing that the court is biased and a tool in the hands of the West. Russia proposes transferring investigation and reconciliation tasks to Libyans, criticizing the ICC’s effectiveness and financial constraints. The diplomat calls for restoring Libyan cases to the UN Security Council and strengthening the International Court of Justice, emphasizing reliance on national courts for trials in Libya and Sudan (Al Wasat).
  6. Sudan: Juba Agreements Face Implementation Test, Oil Facilities Under Threat.  Following talks in Juba between Sudanese military and Rapid Support Forces, attention shifts to practical implementation amid varying expectations. Meanwhile, battles intensify around oil sites, risking a vital national asset. War drums persist in North Darfur and West Kordofan (AL Nahar).

November 10, 2023

  1. Hamas Delegation in Cairo Discusses Ceasefire, Prisoner Exchange, and Humanitarian Truce. Hamas, led by Ismail Haniyeh, met with Major General Abbas Kamel of Egyptian Intelligence in Cairo to address the Gaza situation. Talks centered on Israeli attacks, ceasefire prospects, relief convoys, and a potential prisoner exchange. Egypt’s mediation role is crucial in achieving a humanitarian truce and delivering aid to Gaza. Progress is evident, with discussions involving UN support and international cooperation emphasizing peace and the two-state solution (Al Hadath, Al Jazeera, Al Hadath).

November 14, 2023

  1. French Defense Minister Begins Middle East Tour, Starting in Egypt. French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu has embarked on a Middle East trip, beginning with Egypt, to discuss the Gaza situation and regional security matters. Initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron, this tour will also include visits to the Gulf region and conclude in Israel on Friday. This marks the first visit to Israel by a French defense minister since 2000, as announced by Lecornu on his official account (El Balad).
  2. Egypt Welcomes Qatari Investments and Economic Alliances. At the Egypt-Qatar economic summit, Qatari Industry Minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al Qasim emphasized strengthening bilateral ties and exploring investment opportunities in Egypt. The summit led to agreements in key sectors, aiming to enhance trade and economic partnerships. Al Qasim highlighted Qatar’s substantial investments in Egypt and the potential for further economic collaboration (Cairo 24).

November 15, 2023

  1. Putin and Sisi Address Gaza Conflict in Phone Call. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held a phone conversation to discuss the escalating situation in the Gaza Strip. They expressed deep concern over civilian casualties, including children and women, and emphasized the urgency of halting the violence, releasing prisoners, and providing medical aid to civilians. Both leaders reiterated their commitment to a peaceful resolution based on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state coexisting with Israel, in accordance with international law. Putin also acknowledged Egypt’s assistance in evacuating Russian citizens from Gaza (Anadolu Agency). 
  2. Egypt Condemns Israeli Finance Minister’s Statements on Gaza Displacement. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry criticized recent statements by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who suggested the voluntary evacuation of Gaza residents to other countries as a humanitarian solution. Shoukry denounced these remarks as a violation of international and humanitarian law, emphasizing that any attempts to justify or promote the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza are wholly rejected by Egypt and the international community. He highlighted that the displacement in Gaza results from military targeting and siege tactics, constituting a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 (Sky News Arabia). 
  3. Israeli Shin Bet Chief in Egypt for Talks on Hostage Release Deal. Ronen Bar, the head of Israel’s Internal Security Agency (Shin Bet), is in Cairo for discussions with senior Egyptian officials about a potential agreement to release hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Despite ongoing negotiations, significant progress has yet to be made, as confirmed by US President Joe Biden. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that details of any agreement would be disclosed upon tangible developments. Qatar, leading mediation efforts, has urged both Israel and Hamas to reach a deal, highlighting the worsening situation in Gaza and its impact on the hostage situation and ceasefire efforts (Sky News Arabia).  
  4. Egypt Mobilizes to Aid Newborns from Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital Amid Crisis. The Egyptian Ministry of Health is preparing to receive 36 newborns from Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital following a power outage. Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar has organized 36 ambulances with portable ventilators at the border. The transfer is considered dangerous due to the need for mobile incubators and immediate care upon arrival. Coordination with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society is underway, with urgency emphasized as delays increase the risk to the infants’ lives. This initiative follows the Israeli army’s operation against Hamas in Al-Shifa Hospital and the dire situation in the hospital, which includes fuel exhaustion affecting incubators (Al Hurra).
  5. Chevron Restarts Gas Flow from Israel to Egypt After Month-Long Halt. Chevron has resumed the flow of natural gas from Israel to Egypt through the Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline, following a suspension exceeding a month due to the Israeli offensive in Gaza. The halt, which began on October 10, was a result of Operation “Al-Aqsa Flood” initiated by the Palestinian resistance, including Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades. The pipeline, crucial for transporting gas from the Leviathan offshore field to Egypt, had significantly impacted gas exports. Additionally, Eni, an Italian energy company, anticipates resuming liquefied natural gas exports from Egypt by December or January, aligning with the seasonal decline in Egypt’s energy demand (Al Jazeera).

November 16, 2023

  1. EU Accelerates $10 Billion Support Plan for Egypt in Response to Regional Challenges. The European Union is rapidly advancing a €9 billion ($9.8 billion) assistance package for Egypt, focusing on various sectors including digital, energy, agriculture, and transport. This initiative is part of the EU’s efforts to strengthen economic ties with Egypt, helping it navigate through its economic difficulties, and addressing broader regional concerns such as refugee flows and border security. The plan is set against the backdrop of Egypt’s economic crisis and the EU’s strategic interest in North Africa (Al Arabiya).

November 17, 2023

  1. Egypt Steps Up to Support Gaza’s Premature Infants and Hospital Fuel Needs. Egypt is orchestrating the transfer of 36 premature babies from Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital to its medical facilities, confronting challenges due to disrupted communications and hazardous transportation conditions. Concurrently, Egypt has successfully facilitated the delivery of 150,000 liters of diesel to hospitals in Gaza, showcasing its pivotal role in mitigating the region’s humanitarian crisis. The Palestinian Red Crescent, struggling with communication breakdowns and a scarcity of ambulances, plays a vital role in this transfer. Complicating the situation, Al-Shifa Hospital faces intense bombing, with Israel alleging its use by Hamas militants, a claim refuted by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. These events highlight the severe conditions in Gaza and the critical importance of Egypt’s involvement (Al Hadath).

November 23, 2023

  1. Regional Efforts Strengthen for Gaza Ceasefire and Humanitarian Aid. In a concerted effort to stabilize the situation in Gaza, key regional players are intensifying their diplomatic and humanitarian initiatives. President Biden, in discussions with Egyptian President Sisi, firmly opposed any forced displacement of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, reiterating U.S. support for a Palestinian state and acknowledging Egypt’s pivotal role in the region. This conversation followed closely on the heels of the Israel-Hamas ceasefire announcement. Egypt has heightened security at the Rafah crossing in anticipation of the ceasefire, preparing for the arrival of aid convoys and the implementation of a prisoner exchange agreement between Israel and Hamas. Concurrently, positive talks between Qatar and Egypt are focusing on the details of this humanitarian ceasefire agreement’s execution. Additionally, Egypt and Jordan conducted a summit in Cairo to further solidify their unified approach. Both nations expressed strong support for the ceasefire and are working tirelessly for a permanent solution. They emphasize the need for sustained humanitarian aid to Gaza residents and firmly oppose any form of collective punishment or forced displacement of Palestinians. To facilitate humanitarian efforts, the Rafah border crossing has been opened for Palestinians stranded in Egypt, allowing for their voluntary return to Gaza. This opening also serves to expedite the delivery of urgent relief aid to Gaza, and provide medical treatment for the wounded Palestinians in Egypt, as well as enable foreign nationals in Gaza to travel back to their countries. These coordinated actions reflect a growing regional commitment to resolving the Gaza crisis and addressing the humanitarian needs of its residents.

November 24, 2023

  1. Aid Enters Gaza as Ceasefire Takes Effect. As a four-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas begins, Egypt announces the daily delivery of 130,000 liters of diesel and four gas trucks to Gaza. The first aid trucks entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing, with a total of 200 aid trucks scheduled to enter daily.

November 27, 2023

  1. North Africa’s Economic and Security Dynamics Unveiled. Despite financial assistance from Gulf countries, Egypt is engaging in talks with the World Bank to secure new loans for small projects and justice system initiatives in the fiscal year 2024/2025. Egypt’s pursuit of additional funding for green, sustainable, and blue financing reflects its efforts to address a growing dollar shortage crisis. Concurrently, the country is exploring the possibility of increasing the $3 billion IMF loan program due to economic challenges stemming from the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While discussions of a potential €9 billion ($10 billion) European support package for Egypt are in progress, uncertainties linger regarding the conflict’s economic impact on investments and growth.

In neighboring Libya, Turkey’s decision to extend its military presence by two years has sparked tensions and raised questions about the viability of the Libyan ceasefire agreement. The move, aimed at safeguarding national interests and countering illegal armed groups, faces opposition from parliamentary factions, contrasting with the UN-recognized government’s support for Turkey’s continued military involvement. These developments underscore the complex economic and security dynamics at play in North Africa, where Egypt’s financial negotiations and Turkey’s military extension impact the region’s stability and future prospects.

November 28, 2023

  1. Egypt’s Humanitarian Aid Efforts for Gaza Amidst Conflict. Egypt has facilitated the delivery of 25,240 tons of aid, including medical supplies, food, and water, to Gaza since the conflict’s onset. The aid, transported through the Rafah border crossing, includes essentials like fuel. Egypt, alongside mediation efforts, contributes to easing the humanitarian crisis. The four-day truce extension allows increased aid, highlighting the dire situation and urging a sustained ceasefire for long-term solutions.
  2. Sisi Advocates 1967 Borders as Solution to Palestinian Crisis. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi asserts that regional stability relies on recognizing a Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Meeting Hungary’s President Katalin Novak, Sisi emphasizes Egypt’s efforts for a Gaza truce and calls for a permanent ceasefire, increased aid, and preventing the conflict’s expansion to the West Bank. Both leaders condemn civilian targeting and forced displacement, underscoring the importance of regional calm.

November 29, 2023

  1. Egypt Calls for “Permanent and Unconditional” Ceasefire in Gaza. Egypt urges a “permanent and unconditional” ceasefire in Gaza, emphasizing the need to halt Israeli violations. The statement also calls for sustained humanitarian aid to address the unprecedented crisis in the region. Amid a truce, Egypt works to deliver aid through the Rafah crossing, as the initial 4-day ceasefire extends.
  2. Israel Plans Settlement on Border with Egypt. Israel approves plans for a large settlement on the border with Egypt, featuring over 1100 housing units, 200 hotel rooms, and various facilities. The settlement, including Nitzana, aims to serve as a regional hub, promoting education and desert tourism. The government’s previous decisions and ongoing promotion of the settlement have raised concerns, with detailed plans encompassing housing, public institutions, commerce, and tourism.
  3. EU-Made Agreement: $9 Billion Boost for Egyptian Development. The European Union and Egypt agreed on a $9 billion development plan, unrelated to Gaza’s war fallout, aiming to support Egypt’s growth. Ambassador Christian Berger assured ongoing EU support, discussing debt reduction strategies and expressing optimism about negotiations on Egypt’s debt restructuring. Berger emphasized international support for Palestinian-Israeli coexistence and urged turning the crisis into an opportunity for positive change.

November 30, 2023

  1. Egypt’s Role in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Resolution and Gaza Aid. Egypt is actively engaging in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution by emphasizing the need for a two-state solution and urging international cooperation to implement this approach effectively. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry calls for addressing the root causes of the conflict and rejects any ideas of reoccupying Gaza, instead focusing on ending the blockade and ensuring proper governance. Concurrently, Egypt is facilitating the Palestinian-Israeli prisoner exchange, with preparations underway for the seventh release of Israeli detainees. This effort is part of the broader humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, during which Egypt is also playing a pivotal role in delivering essential humanitarian aid, including food, medicine, and fuel, through the Rafah border crossing. These actions highlight Egypt’s commitment to not only immediate relief but also to the long-term resolution of the conflict.
  2. Egypt’s Border Trade and Suez Canal Revenue Surge. Egypt’s border economic activity is on the rise, with talks underway to establish a free trade zone near the Saloum-Libya crossing, despite financial and political challenges. Simultaneously, the Suez Canal records a historic revenue high in November, reaching $854.7 million, a 20.3% increase from the previous year, and anticipates an annual revenue of $8.8 billion in 2023, reflecting the canal’s growing significance in global trade.

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