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Israeli Defense Minister Gallant Gives Netanyahu Public Ultimatum over Gaza

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TOP HEADLINES:

  • Defense Minister Gallant’s Ultimatum to Netanyahu over Gaza
  • Jordan Foils Iranian Arms Plot; Hamas Denies Involvement
  • Hamas Rapidly Rebuilding and Adapting Tactics
  • Iraqi Militia Seeks Expulsion of US Ambassador Over Anti-Prostitution Law
  • Erdogan: Hamas Defends Anatolia, We Will Support It

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★ ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Defense Minister Gallant’s Ultimatum to Netanyahu over Gaza

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to create a post-Hamas governance plan for Gaza, stressing that the lack of a clear strategy threatens to undermine military successes and reduce pressure on Hamas. Gallant advocates for a Palestinian-led governance with international support and warns that inaction could either keep Hamas in power or force Israeli military rule, both of which are undesirable. Netanyahu, however, rejected the idea of involving Fatah, citing its support among West Bank Palestinians for the October 7 massacre. Concurrently, Gallant is modifying the Rafah operation to reduce tensions with the Biden administration, following warnings from President Joe Biden against a major attack on Rafah. This diplomatic maneuvering aims to align Israel’s military strategy with US interests, as evidenced by Biden halting a shipment of 3,500 bombs to Israel, putting further pressure on Netanyahu.

  1. Biden Proposes $1 Billion Arms Package for Israel; Sullivan to Visit Israel and Saudi Arabia

President Biden has proposed a $1 billion arms package for Israel, including tank ammunition, tactical vehicles, and mortars, while excluding heavy bombs due to concerns over a large-scale operation in Rafah, Gaza. Biden has threatened to withhold heavy weaponry if such an operation proceeds and has vowed to veto a Republican bill demanding immediate military aid to Israel. Meanwhile, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will visit Israel and Saudi Arabia to discuss normalization efforts and the Israeli military operation in Rafah. The Biden administration has agreed with Israel to delay expanding the operation until after Sullivan’s visit, aiming to secure Saudi Arabia’s participation in the Abraham Accords and enhance regional stability.

  1. China-Linked Network Funds Anti-Israel Protest Groups in US: Report

A report by the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) reveals that key left-wing organizations involved in recent anti-Israel protests are funded by a network linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This network, connected to Neville Roy Singham and Jodie Evans, amplifies anti-Israel activism through NGOs and pro-CCP media outlets like BreakThrough News. Singham, previously a Huawei consultant, and Evans, a board member of The People’s Forum, are major players in this network. The report highlights the significant financial and ideological ties between these organizations and CCP affiliates, including their involvement in protests and social media campaigns.

  1. IDF Intensifies Operations in Jabaliya Following Rocket Attacks

IDF forces advanced into Jabalia in northern Gaza on Wednesday, escalating their operations. Rockets fired from Jabaliya into Sderot prompted multiple alarms, with one hitting an empty building and injuring two women seeking shelter. The IDF aims to dismantle Hamas’s weapon caches and reported the elimination of numerous militants. Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi emphasized the need for continued military action, citing ongoing threats. Meanwhile, the Givati Brigade discovered a Hamas outpost near Rafah, and the Nahal Brigade concluded its operations in Zeitoun, with the IDF targeting over 80 terrorist sites in the past day.

  1. Haaretz: Hamas Rapidly Rebuilding and Adapting Tactics

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that Hamas is quickly restoring its capabilities and reorganizing in Gaza. A senior Israeli officer described the conflict as an “educational war” due to Hamas’s new focus on booby-trapping buildings. Recent operations in the Zaytoun neighborhood revealed that Israeli estimates of Hamas’s infrastructure were inaccurate. Haaretz also noted that many Israeli soldiers view the military operation in Jabalia as a futile. Politico quoted US officials expressing doubt over Israel’s ability to achieve a complete victory in Gaza, suggesting that current operations may be revitalizing Hamas. Israel’s war on Gaza, ongoing since October 2023, has resulted in significant casualties and destruction.

  1. Israel Rejects Palestinian Statehood, Eases Foreign Worker Rules

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the rejection of the UN General Assembly resolution urging the Security Council to reconsider Palestine’s full membership. Netanyahu confirmed that Israel will not allow a separate Palestinian state, citing security concerns. In response to labor shortages during the Gaza conflict, Israel plans to admit over 300,000 foreign workers, covering needs in construction, agriculture, and nursing. Netanyahu emphasized that eliminating Hamas is crucial for Palestinian self-management in Gaza. The UN resolution, supported by 143 countries, highlights Palestine’s eligibility for full membership but faces an American veto in the Security Council.

  1. Israeli Air Force Intercepts Two Drones Near Eastern Border

The Israeli military reported the interception of two drones approaching from the east towards Israel, successfully shooting them down before they breached Israeli airspace. Meanwhile, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for targeting a military site in Eilat, Israel, using an “Arfad” drone, citing retaliation for Israeli actions against Palestinians in Gaza.

  1. Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt Urge Immediate Action to Halt Rafah Operation

Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt have called for urgent international intervention to stop Israeli military operations in Rafah. During a tripartite meeting, the foreign ministers emphasized their commitment to enhancing cooperation and joint Arab action. They discussed the latest regional developments, particularly the ongoing war in Gaza and its humanitarian crisis. The ministers stressed the need for immediate and effective international action to halt the violence. This call was made during the preparatory meeting for the 33rd Arab Summit in Manama, chaired by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al-Zayani.

  1. ICC Prosecutor Urged to Act Against Israeli Leaders

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor faced demands for swift action against Israeli leaders and criticism from Russia over an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin related to Ukraine. ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan told the U.N. Security Council he will not be intimidated as he investigates possible war crimes in Gaza, Palestinian territories, and Ukraine. Libya’s U.N. ambassador, Taher El-Sonni, urged Khan to prioritize Gaza, alleging genocide and war crimes by Israeli forces. El-Sonni pressed Khan to issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials, citing threats and potential massacres in Rafah.

  1. Netanyahu Pushes Lapid-Bennett Conscription Bill

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to advance a haredi conscription bill that initially passed during the Lapid-Bennett government in January 2022. This decision follows negotiations with haredi representatives and comes just before the deadline to update the High Court of Justice on conscription plans for military-age haredi men. Benny Gantz criticized the move as a “political maneuver,” arguing that the bill is outdated and insufficient for Israel’s current security needs. Justice Minister Yariv Levin scheduled an urgent committee meeting to discuss the bill ahead of the court’s deadline.

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★ JORDAN

  1. Jordan Foils Iranian Arms Plot; Hamas Denies Involvement

Jordan has successfully thwarted an Iranian-led plot to smuggle weapons into the kingdom, aimed at destabilizing the monarchy. According to Jordanian sources, Iranian-backed militias in Syria sent the weapons to a Jordanian cell linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. In March, Jordanian forces seized the cache, including explosives and rifles, and arrested the cell members, who were Jordanians of Palestinian origin. The plot intended to exploit Jordan’s strategic significance, given its borders with Israel, Syria, and Iraq, and its hosting of a US military base. While most smuggled weapons were destined for the West Bank, some were meant for use within Jordan by the Brotherhood cell allied with Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan acknowledged that some members were arrested but denied organizational involvement. The arrested cell members were reportedly recruited by Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri, who was killed in a drone strike attributed to Israel. In response, Hamas issued a statement denying any involvement in sabotage acts targeting Jordan and condemned media leaks suggesting otherwise. Hamas emphasized its policy of limiting its confrontation to Israel and refraining from interfering in other countries’ internal affairs. This incident highlights ongoing regional tensions and Jordan’s role in Middle Eastern security dynamics. Weapons smuggling into Jordan remains a significant issue, exacerbated by porous borders and historical smuggling routes. The kingdom’s strong ties with the US and its position in regional geopolitics make it a critical player in maintaining stability.

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★ IRAN

  1. Iranian Regime Rocked by $3.7 Billion Corruption Case

The Iranian regime has been rocked by a major scandal involving former agriculture minister Javad Sadatinejad, who was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a $3.7 billion embezzlement case, the largest in the nation’s history. Seven of his deputies also received prison terms, while 45 other officials face charges related to fraudulent tea imports. Chief Justice Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei emphasized the need for swift justice due to the scale of the fraud. The scandal has deepened public distrust, exacerbating economic hardships for Iranians.  Sadatinejad and his deputy were implicated in the “Livestock Institutions” case, involving the misuse of foreign currency allocations. Additionally, Sadatinejad faces allegations in the “Dabash Tea” embezzlement case, which involves significant financial corruption. 

  1. Mullah Regime Allocates $600M for Propaganda Despite Severe Poverty

For fiscal year 2024-2025, the Iranian government allocated around 360 trillion rials ($600 million) to propaganda, despite severe economic distress with over 50% annual inflation and workers earning under $200 monthly. The budget supports President Raisi’s tours, election promotions, international legal battles including the case of IRGC Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, and efforts to bolster Iran’s BRICS and Shanghai pacts memberships. It also funds the Islamic Propagation Organization, state broadcaster IRIB, pilgrimage activities, and various cultural and religious institutes. Analyst Mehdi Khalaji suggests this spending prioritizes ideological continuity over economic stability.

  1. Widespread Distribution of Toxic Cooking Oil in Iran Exposed

Iranian whistleblower Yashar Soltani has revealed that over 47,000 tons of expired and contaminated cooking oil have been distributed in Iran. The oil, part of a 91,000-ton shipment from Turkiye and Argentina, contained harmful agricultural toxins. Despite failing multiple safety tests, a technical committee released part of the shipment in 2022. Soltani’s report, based on laboratory documents, highlights the presence of dangerous chemicals in the oil. While officials denied the allegations, Soltani presented further evidence and criticized the Iran Food and Drug Organization for allowing the tainted oil into the market.

  1. Rouhani Condemns Guardian Council’s Disqualification as Attack on Iranian Republic

Former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has publicly condemned the Guardian Council’s decision to disqualify him from the Assembly of Experts election. In a detailed letter, Rouhani asserts that the Council’s actions are not just a personal attack but an indictment against the presidential institution and the Republic itself. He claims that this move sets a dangerous precedent, curtailing political freedom for future presidents. Rouhani’s letter highlights a significant divide within Iranian society and its political institutions. On one side, there are reformists and moderates like Rouhani who advocate for political freedom, transparency, and adherence to the constitution. On the other, conservative elements, represented by the Guardian Council, are accused of using their power to suppress dissent and maintain control.

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★ IRAQ

  1. Iraqi Militia Seeks Expulsion of US Ambassador Over Anti-Prostitution Law

Hassan Salem, a prominent figure in the Asaib militia, disclosed efforts to gather over 60 signatures in Iraq’s House of Representatives to remove US Ambassador Elena Romanowski. The move stems from accusations of her exceeding diplomatic boundaries by meddling in Iraqi affairs. Salem cited her opposition to an anti-prostitution law as one instance of such interference, prompting widespread discontent. The petition aims to safeguard Iraq from perceived American encroachment on internal matters.

  1. Militia Influence Complicates Iraq’s Security Situation

Iraq grapples with security challenges as entrenched militias wield significant influence, hindering efforts to combat organized crime. Despite recent crackdowns, militia-controlled weapons and criminal activities persist, threatening post-ISIS stability. Iraqi security forces face obstacles in addressing these issues, balancing security objectives with militia interests and navigating complex political dynamics. 

  1. Iraq Signs Major Refinery Deal with China

Iraq’s Prime Minister, Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, signaled a strategic shift by signing a significant contract with China National Chemical Engineering (CNCEC) for the Al-Faw Refinery Investment Project. The project aims to increase Iraq’s refining capacity by constructing a refinery capable of processing 300,000 barrels per day. This move underscores Iraq’s efforts to attract foreign investment and enhance its refining capabilities. Additionally, the project includes plans for a petrochemical complex, an electrical station, and a refinery technology academy to train Iraqi personnel. The contract highlights Iraq’s growing economic ties with China and its pursuit of international partnerships for economic development.

  1. Iranian Influence Evident as Kurdistan Region Settles Election Dispute

Nechirvan Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Region, visited Iran before resolving disputes over Kurdistan Parliament elections. Barzani’s visit aimed to address regional relations and tensions with Baghdad, including electoral issues. While specifics of the visit remain undisclosed, Barzani later met with Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Sudani to discuss national and regional matters. 

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★ YEMEN

  1. Recent Houthi Attacks on Red Sea Shipping Trigger Global Military Response

On Wednesday, the Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for recent attacks on the USS Mason, a U.S. Navy destroyer, and a commercial vessel named the Destiny in the Red Sea. Despite a general slowdown in such assaults, this marks a continuation of the rebels’ strategy to disrupt key maritime trade routes leading to the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea. In response to the ongoing maritime threats, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has stated that the UK may consider ground attacks against the Houthis if their assaults do not cease. He highlighted that future British frigates will be equipped with advanced capabilities for land, sea, and air strikes to ensure the freedom of navigation in the region. 

  1. Houthi Actions Push Yemeni Banks to Brink of Bankruptcy

Yemen’s Houthi militia has driven commercial and Islamic banks in Sanaa towards bankruptcy by seizing investments and interests on treasury bills at the Central Bank. Economist Wafiq Saleh urged the Yemeni government to aid national capital in Houthi-controlled areas. Protests by depositors demanding their savings have escalated, with the militia responding harshly. The Central Bank of Yemen has mandated banks to relocate to Aden, highlighting the severe damage caused by Houthi policies, including a law criminalizing interest transactions. This has eroded trust in the banking sector, with citizens’ deposits estimated at 2.5 trillion riyals remaining inaccessible.

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★ SYRIA

  1. Assad: The Despot of Diminishing Returns and the Tyrant of Triviality

Bashar al-Assad’s attendance at the Arab Summit in Bahrain highlights his growing irrelevance in the Arab world. Although he traveled to Manama, Assad was not permitted to deliver an official speech, emphasizing his diminished influence. His participation appears more as a gesture to appease Iran rather than a meaningful contribution to regional discussions. The summit, focusing on Arab-Arab relations and developments in Palestine, saw Assad sidelined, with his primary focus on Gaza and joint Arab relations. Faisal Al-Miqdad and Samer Al-Khalil joined preparatory meetings, but no large Syrian delegation or media presence accompanied Assad. Despite being absent from the Arab League since 2012, Assad’s presence underscored his limited role as the Arab world continues to move forward, leaving him on the periphery.

  1. Assad’s Irrelevance: Russia Takes Over His Own Backyard

Russian forces re-entered Quneitra, displacing Syrian regime troops from key border positions near the Golan Heights following intensified Israeli strikes on Iranian and Hezbollah sites. Local sources report Russian troops now occupy strategic points along the Red Hills and Mount Hermon, establishing new military positions. Their mission is to mitigate violations from both Israeli and Syrian sides. Russian helicopters are conducting air patrols, and multiple observation points have been set up. Meanwhile, Israeli forces remain on high alert, patrolling and monitoring the border, arresting local shepherds and farmers for interrogation on potential Hezbollah links.

  1. Assad’s Reluctance for Refugee Return: A $2 Billion Cash Flow

The Assad regime views the return of refugees with little enthusiasm because their remittances are a vital source of foreign currency. Officials, echoing Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah, link refugee returns to reconstruction efforts and the lifting of sanctions. Remittances from Syrians abroad, estimated at $2 billion annually, are essential for the Syrian Central Bank. These funds help stabilize the Syrian pound and support the regime’s finances, turning the hardships faced by refugee families into a profitable “unconventional investment.” The Central Bank’s policies aim to channel these remittances through official channels to bolster the economy.

  1. UNHCR Pushes Third-Country Resettlement for Syrians

Ivo Friesen, the UNHCR representative in Lebanon, emphasized the agency’s strong support for resettling Syrian refugees to third countries. The UNHCR receives about 9,000 resettlement applications annually from Syrians. Friesen highlighted that halting aid to pressure refugees to return to Syria is not a viable solution, as the return process will be long and complex. He questioned the feasibility of “safe zones” in Syria and warned against politicizing the refugee crisis. Amnesty International expressed concern over Lebanon’s resumption of refugee returns, citing ongoing risks in Syria, including torture and arbitrary arrests.

  1. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, aka Al-Qaeda’s Julani, Raises Threats Against Unarmed Civilians

Al-Qaeda leader Al-Julani, who heads Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), issued threats against unarmed civilian protesters in Idlib, accusing them of disrupting public order. He claimed the protesters’ demands had deviated from their original goals, causing institutional and public disruptions. Al-Julani warned that any harm to public interests would be met with a forceful response, emphasizing that while demands for rights and reforms were being addressed, actions leading to chaos would not be tolerated. The HTS Minister of Interior, Mohammed Abdulrahman, echoed these threats, warning of harsh measures against protesters. He asserted that the “Salvation Government,” under Julani’s leadership, had complied with the protesters’ demands by reintegrating the General Security apparatus, tightening laws, and releasing numerous prisoners under a “general amnesty.” Abdulrahman accused the protesters of causing disruptions and unrest, stating that their negative demonstrations had crossed the line.

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LEBANON

  1. Escalating Conflict: Hezbollah and Israel Exchange Strikes

Following the Israeli Air Force’s assassination of senior Hezbollah commander Hussein Ibrahim Mekky near Tyre, Lebanon, on May 14, 2024, Hezbollah responded by launching approximately 80 missiles targeting northern Israel, including Meron Air Base and the Piranit military barracks. These strikes are part of a series of retaliations that have escalated tensions along the Lebanese-Israeli border, leading to significant casualties and displacement since October of the previous year. Hezbollah also targeted two Israeli command centers in northern Israel with artillery shells, Katyusha rockets, and Burkan missiles, and engaged Israeli surveillance installations in the Shebaa Farms area. The IDF continues to respond with artillery fire into southern Lebanon, as both sides brace for further conflict.

  1. Lebanon’s Refugee Crisis: EU Aid and Nasrallah’s Controversial Threats Prompt Government Actions. 

Lebanon’s management of the Syrian refugee crisis has come under intense scrutiny following a series of events that highlight both the political and humanitarian dimensions of the issue. The European Union recently pledged $1 billion in aid to Lebanon, intended to stabilize the situation and prevent illegal migration. This financial support aims to mirror agreements similar to those with Turkiye, where funds are provided to help manage refugee populations within host countries. However, the situation took a contentious turn when Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah proposed opening Lebanon’s maritime borders to allow Syrian refugees to embark on potentially perilous journeys to Europe. This suggestion, made during a televised address, was seen by many as an attempt to use the refugees as leverage to extract further international aid and concessions. MP Sami Gemayel criticized the approach, urging instead for the opening of land borders to facilitate the safe return of Syrians to their homeland. Gemayel accused Hezbollah of controlling key border crossings and influencing government decisions, thereby complicating efforts to manage the refugee crisis effectively. The Lebanese government appears poised to initiate a broader campaign, possibly seen as an effort to leverage the ongoing crisis to secure additional international support and resources

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★ GULF REGION

  1. Saudi Arabia Pushes for Peace Agreement with Houthis

Washington’s desire to keep Saudi Arabia engaged in peace efforts with Israel has led to unofficial support for Riyadh’s peace negotiations with the Houthi rebels. Backed by UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg, Saudi Arabia is advancing a peace roadmap, which may involve significant financial payments to the Houthis and their inclusion in a proposed national unity government. Grundberg emphasized the need to halt Red Sea attacks and highlighted the possibility of a peaceful resolution despite ongoing conflict. This move aligns with US efforts to secure Saudi support in ending the Gaza conflict.

  1. Saudi-British Agreement to Boost Trade by 73%

Riyadh and London have agreed to increase bilateral trade by 72.8%, reaching $37.5 billion by 2030. This agreement was signed at a major conference, highlighting the prosperity of investment relations, supported by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, NEOM, and Elm Company opening offices in the UK. Over 52 British companies have also established regional headquarters in Riyadh. The deal includes plans for a comprehensive free trade agreement between the UK and Gulf Cooperation Council countries, with 60 initiatives launched in 13 economic sectors.

  1. Bahrain to Host 33rd Arab Summit During Regional Challenges

As Bahrain prepares to host the 33rd Arab Summit on May 16 in Manama, the League of Arab States has intensified its preparations. This is the first time Bahrain will host such a summit, highlighting its growing diplomatic role. The summit aims to address key regional issues, including the Gaza conflict, and promote Arab solidarity and peace. Bahrain’s hosting of this summit is seen as a significant diplomatic milestone in fostering stronger Arab relations. Palestine’s representative to the Arab League, Muhannad Al-Aklouk, announced that the Arab summit in Manama on Thursday will advocate for an international peace conference on Palestine under UN auspices.

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★ EGYPT AND NORTH AFRICA

  1. Central Bank of Egypt Withdraws Trillion Pounds from Bank Liquidity

The Central Bank of Egypt withdrew 1.050 trillion pounds ($22.4 billion) from banks’ surplus liquidity during its weekly tender, with a return of 27.75%. This move follows the introduction of a new system requiring acceptance of all bank requests. The Central Bank uses this method to manage liquidity and curb inflation, which has surpassed 31%. Finance expert Wael Al-Nahhas noted that the government seeks similar deals to stabilize the dollar at 40 pounds. The dollar’s exchange rate fell slightly against the pound, reflecting new cash flows into the Central Bank’s treasury.

  1. EU to Provide €1.8 Billion for Egyptian Private Sector Investments

Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat, announced that the European Union will offer investment guarantees worth €1.8 billion to support Egypt’s private sector. An investment conference in June will enhance Egyptian-European relations. Al-Mashat highlighted significant progress in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), noting that 96% of the €1.3 billion invested in Egypt last year targeted private sector projects. She emphasized Egypt’s focus on renewable energy, aiming to implement 10 gigawatts of projects. President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi previously noted that the EU’s financial package for Egypt includes concessional financing, investment guarantees, and technical support.

  1. Egypt Receives $14 Billion from UAE

Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly announced that Egypt received $14 billion from the second installment of the Ras El Hekma deal with the UAE. This influx has bolstered the country’s dollar reserves. Additionally, Egypt and the UAE are working on converting a $6 billion Emirati deposit into Egyptian pounds as part of their investment partnership. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of continued economic reform, focusing on industry, agriculture, communications, and tourism. The Ras El Hekma project, with total investments expected to reach $150 billion, is a significant part of Egypt’s national strategic urban development plan.

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★ TURKIYE

  1. Erdogan: Hamas Defends Anatolia, We Will Support It

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his accomplices will be held accountable for every drop of bloodshed in Gaza. Speaking at a Justice and Development Party meeting in Ankara, Erdogan warned that if Israel is not stopped, it will eventually target Anatolia. He condemned the Israeli actions, likening them to genocide, and declared Turkiye’s unwavering support for Hamas. Erdogan emphasized the significance of May 15, Nakba Day, reaffirming Turkiye’s commitment to the Palestinian cause and vowing to hold Israeli leaders accountable for their actions.

  1. Turkiye Forcibly Deports 450 Syrian Refugees to Mercenaries

Late yesterday, Turkish authorities forcibly deported around 450 Syrian refugees via the Bab al-Salama crossing, handing them over to mercenaries at the Sajo roundabout, who then demanded ransom payments from their families. Additionally, Turkish occupation forces are using these deportations to resettle Syrians in occupied territories, altering the demographics of these areas.

  1. Libyan Mercenary Exposes Türkiye’s Exploitation of Syrians

A Libyan mercenary has admitted to being exploited by Türkiye to fight on various fronts, revealing on social media that he was first recruited to combat Kurds in Syria before being sent to Libya. Videos have surfaced showing the deaths of Syrian mercenaries in Niger, where Türkiye plans to send 400 more. These mercenaries, promised wealth, face unexpected violence and are now appealing for help to return home. Despite Türkiye’s blackout on casualty figures, videos from Niger reveal the grim reality, including one showing a military vehicle with Syrian mercenaries being set ablaze.

  1. Turkiye: Diverging Party Stances on New Constitution

Turkish Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmus is consulting with political party leaders about a new civil constitution. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at significant changes in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) following local elections where AKP trailed the Republican People’s Party (CHP). While the CHP opposes the new constitution initiative, other parties like the Democracy and Equality of Peoples Party show openness. Erdogan aims to replace the existing “coup constitution” from 1982. He suggested upcoming changes in party leadership, emphasizing the need for new, dynamic figures while valuing experienced members.

  1. US Curator Violated Research Permit in Turkiye, Document Reveals

US curator Lorenzo Prendini was detained in Istanbul for allegedly attempting to smuggle endemic poisonous species from Türkiye. An official permit for Prendini’s research on Anatolian scorpions, led by Turkish Professor Aysegul Karatas, was issued with strict conditions. The permit required foreign academics to conduct fieldwork with Turkish counterparts and prohibited removing samples or using them commercially. Prendini was found with 1,500 scorpions, tarantulas, and spiders in his luggage. He faces charges under Türkiye’s anti-smuggling law but was released under judicial supervision. Scorpion venom is highly valuable, with significant potential for medication production.

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📌 In case you missed it,

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX  May 14, 2024

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX  May 13, 2024

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