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Preliminary Details of Raisi’s Helicopter Crash, Israel Faces Diplomatic Tensions, and Hamas Continues Abusing Female Prisoners

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TOP HEADLINES:

  • Sole Survivor Reveals Details of Crash that Killed Iranian President Raisi
  • Turkish Minister of Transport: Raisi’s Helicopter Lacked Functional Signaling System
  • Hamas Men Abusing Israeli Girls: A Global Outcry
  • Israel Recalls Ambassadors, Vows Sanctions Over Palestinian Statehood Recognition
  • Egypt Secretly Changed Terms of Hostage Deal After Israeli Agreement

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★ IRAN

  1. Sole Survivor Reveals Details of Crash that Killed Iranian President Raisi

The crash occurred during their return from the inauguration of joint dam projects with Azerbaijan. Gholam Hossein Esmaili, head of the presidential office, provided a detailed account of the events. The journey started smoothly with clear weather conditions. However, about half an hour into the flight, a cloud mass appeared near the Sungun Copper Mine. The pilot of Raisi’s helicopter decided to ascend above the cloud, but shortly after, the helicopter vanished from sight. Attempts to contact the president’s entourage, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, were unsuccessful. Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, the sole initial survivor, responded to a phone call, stating they had crashed into a valley and describing his disoriented state under the trees. Rescue teams faced challenges due to rapidly changing weather conditions and difficult terrain. Despite their efforts, all other passengers, including President Raisi, died instantly, and Ale-Hashem succumbed to his injuries shortly after the crash.

  1. Modest Global Attendance at Raisi’s Burial Ceremony

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei led the prayers over the bodies of late President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage.  

Guests at the memorial event included Hamas’s political leader Ismail Haniyeh, Other delegations included Turkiye’s vice president and foreign minister, the deputy prime minister of India, the head of the Russian Duma, the Iraqi prime minister and representatives of the Taliban from Afghanistan.  

  1. Iran’s Succession Plans Altered by Raisi’s Demise

Following the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, attention shifted to Mojtaba Khamenei, son of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as a potential successor. Raisi, considered a natural candidate for Iran’s leadership, leaves a void in the succession plan, prompting speculation about Mojtaba’s role. Despite his low public profile, Mojtaba wields significant influence and faces the challenge of maintaining stability during ongoing protests and economic crises. In response to the tragedy, Iran’s Constitutional Council spokesperson, Hadi Tahan Nazif, confirms that the country’s presidency will maintain its traditional four-year tenure. Interim President Mohammad Mokhber has convened crucial meetings with legislative and judicial heads to ensure coordinated governance during the nation’s challenges. 

  1. Iran Denies Turkish Involvement in Locating President’s Crashed Helicopter

During discussions on social media regarding the role of Turkish drones in locating the crashed helicopter of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s General Staff denies Turkish claims. The statement asserts that Iranian forces, including drones recalled from the Indian Ocean, were responsible for pinpointing the wreckage. Turkish media highlights the success of their drone, while Iranian sources counter with accusations of “lies” and “inaccurate statements.” Despite the debate, Iran maintains that ground forces and Iranian drones were instrumental in identifying the crash site, refuting the Turkish narrative.

  1. Republican Senators Criticize Blinken’s Iran Policy

Republican senators sharply criticized Secretary of State Antony Blinken over the Biden administration’s Iran policy during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. Senator Ted Cruz accused the administration of presiding over a foreign policy disaster, particularly regarding Iran. He highlighted concerns about increased Iranian oil sales and the failure to enforce existing sanctions, suggesting a lenient approach aimed at securing a new Iran deal. Senator Jim Risch also expressed skepticism about the administration’s policy, citing Iran’s continued support for terrorism and weapons proliferation. Blinken defended the administration’s actions but faced scrutiny over expressing condolences for the death of Iranian President Raisi, known as the “Butcher of Tehran.” Critics argue that the administration’s approach risks empowering the Iranian regime and betraying the Iranian people.

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★ ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Hamas Men Abusing Israeli Girls: A Global Outcry

Hamas militants are reportedly subjecting Israeli girls to severe sexual and physical abuse, with no intervention to stop the atrocities. For eight months, the international community has failed to act, leaving the victims to endure unimaginable suffering. This situation calls for urgent global attention and immediate action to rescue these girls from their torment.

  1. Congress Plans to Invite Netanyahu Despite Potential ICC Arrest Guarantees

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson intends to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, even if Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer does not agree. Johnson has given Schumer until Tuesday to sign the invitation. If Schumer declines, Netanyahu will be invited to the House of Representatives alone. This potential divide has significant political implications for U.S.-Israel relations ahead of the presidential elections. Meanwhile, diplomats warn that arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court for Israeli leaders could strain relations, with some countries likely to avoid direct meetings with those targeted.

  1. Israel Kills Third of Hamas Fighters; Most Gaza Tunnels Intact

According to U.S. intelligence, Israel has managed to eliminate around 30-35% of Hamas terrorists and destroy a similar proportion of the group’s infrastructure since the conflict began on October 7. Despite these efforts, approximately 65% of Gaza’s extensive tunnel network remains operational. Former U.S. Central Command leader Gen. Joseph Votel criticized the Israeli strategy, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive long-term plan for Gaza’s population and the remaining Hamas fighters.

  1. Crisis of Confidence in Israeli Government: Sensitive Information Withheld from Ministers

A trust crisis in the Israeli government has led security authorities to withhold sensitive information from ministers in the Cabinet, fearing leaks that could threaten Israel’s security. According to Israel Hayom, three unnamed officials revealed that ministers are making decisions without full information. The Cabinet, responsible for national security policies, has 13 permanent members. The security services have avoided sharing details since the Gaza war began, citing past leaks that compromised military operations and intelligence. The issue of information withholding will be central in the upcoming report on the failures leading to the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation.

  1. Israel Recalls Ambassadors, Vows Sanctions Over Palestinian Statehood Recognition

In response to Ireland, Spain, and Norway recognizing Palestinian statehood, Israel has recalled its ambassadors from these countries and summoned their ambassadors to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz emphasized that Israel will not tolerate actions undermining its sovereignty and security. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to take severe measures against the Palestinian Authority (PA), including freezing tax revenue transfers, halting indemnity to banks transferring funds to the West Bank, and increasing West Bank settlement construction. Smotrich also called for revoking VIP permits for senior PA officials and imposing additional economic sanctions.

  1. Hamas Leader Haniyeh Meets Khamenei in Tehran

Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Wednesday. Haniyeh attended the funeral of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi. A photo released by Khamenei’s office shows Haniyeh with Iran’s acting president, Mohammad Mokhber. Khamenei also shared a video of the meeting on social media, highlighting Haniyeh’s condolences on behalf of the Palestinian people for Raisi’s death.

  1. Israel Reverses Suspension of Associated Press Coverage After Criticism

Israel reversed its decision to halt the Associated Press’s coverage of the Gaza conflict after facing international backlash. The ban followed accusations that the AP violated a new law by providing footage to Al Jazeera. Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi rescinded the order after a request from the White House. The AP condemned Israel’s actions and demanded the return of its equipment. The decision had sparked outrage, with the UN and international media organizations criticizing it as an attack on press freedom. Israel previously shut down Al Jazeera’s operations over its Gaza war coverage.

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★ IRAQ

  1. Al-Sudani Expresses Solidarity with Iran After Raisi’s Death

Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani visited Tehran to express condolences to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei over the death of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. Al-Sudani emphasized Iraq’s solidarity with Iran, highlighting the depth of their bilateral relations. He praised Raisi’s contributions to regional peace and cooperation, stating that his death is a loss for the entire region. Khamenei reaffirmed the strength of Iran-Iraq relations and committed to continuing cooperation despite the loss of Raisi, appreciating Iraq’s support during this difficult time.

  1. Iraq Officially Requests End to UNAMI Mandate

The Iraqi government has formally asked the United Nations to conclude the mandate of its Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) by December 31, 2025. In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani emphasized Iraq’s sovereign right to this request. He urged that UNAMI focus its remaining efforts on economic reform, service provision, sustainable development, and climate change. Al-Sudani assured full cooperation from Iraq, including sending a technical delegation to discuss the mission’s winding down and transfer of responsibilities to Iraqi institutions and UN agencies.

  1. Iraq’s PM Says No Progress on Kurdistan Oil Exports Talks

At a Baghdad press conference, Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani announced that the cabinet had sent the 2024 budget bill to parliament. Talks on resuming oil exports from Kurdistan via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline remain stalled. The pipeline, halted since March 2023 due to a Paris arbitration ruling, has caused significant losses for Baghdad and Erbil. The dispute centers on production-sharing agreements and revenue distribution. 

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★ YEMEN

  1. Houthis Claim US and UK Airstrikes on Hodeidah Airport in Yemen

The United States and the United Kingdom conducted airstrikes on Hodeidah Airport in western Yemen, as reported by the Houthi group on Wednesday. This action followed missile and drone attacks by the Houthis on ships in the Red Sea. On Tuesday, the Houthis fired a close-range ballistic missile at the USS Laboon, a US naval destroyer, which was not hit or damaged. The US military, in cooperation with an allied warship, also destroyed two unmanned aerial systems launched by the Houthis targeting US and commercial ships in the Red Sea. The US Central Command emphasized that these measures were taken to protect freedom of navigation and ensure the safety and security of international waters​

  1. Houthis Appeal to Saudi Arabia Following Iranian President’s Death

After weeks of hostility, the Iranian-backed Houthi militias have softened their stance towards Saudi Arabia following the mysterious death of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi.  In a speech marking Yemeni unity, Mahdi Al-Mashat, head of the Houthis’ Supreme Political Council, expressed a sincere desire for peace and good neighborliness with Saudi Arabia and other parties. He urged the coalition’s leadership to engage seriously in peace talks and confidence-building measures, aiming to eliminate conflicts and ensure regional stability.  Al-Mashat also called on the international community and the UN to remove obstacles to peace in Yemen and support the Houthis’ positive intentions.

  1. Houthi Leader Appoints Personal Driver to High Government Position

In a scandal reflecting the abuse of official positions, a Houthi leader in Ibb Governorate, Yemen, appointed his personal driver to a high-ranking government role. Abdul Wahed Salah, the Houthi-appointed governor, issued a decision naming Rashad Yahya Abdo Al-Rashed as deputy director of the Al-Udayn District. Sources revealed that Al-Rashed was previously the personal driver for Harith Al-Maliki, a Houthi leader and the governor’s agent from the same district. This move highlights how Houthi leaders exploit public office and distribute positions for personal gain, turning public institutions into revenue sources for their interests.

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★ THE GULF

  1. US Pushes for Regional Missile Shield with Gulf Allies

The United States is pushing for a regional missile shield in the Middle East during defense meetings in Riyadh. US officials aim to leverage Israel’s recent success in defending against Iranian missiles and drones to encourage Gulf allies to integrate their defenses. Despite this, there are doubts about the US commitment to defending its Gulf partners and their willingness to share intelligence and invest in secure communications. The Riyadh meeting included the US, Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council, and Western allies, highlighting the ongoing threat from Iran and the importance of collective defense efforts.

  1. UAE President Visits South Korea to Boost Trade, Investment, and Energy Cooperation

On Tuesday, May 28, UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will begin a two-day visit to South Korea at the invitation of President Yoon Suk-yeol. During the visit, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed will discuss with President Yoon ways to enhance cooperation in trade, investment, energy, and technology. The talks aim to strengthen the strategic partnership between the UAE and South Korea, focusing on future development and prosperity. 

  1. Washington Seeks Security and Nuclear Agreements with Saudi Arabia to Counter China

An anonymous official revealed that Washington is close to finalizing a security and nuclear agreement with Saudi Arabia. However, unresolved issues, including a diplomatic path to establishing a Palestinian state and steps to end the Gaza conflict, require further negotiation. President Biden’s administration has been negotiating with Saudi Arabia for years, but the Gaza war has stalled progress. The proposed agreement aims to strengthen regional stability by encouraging peace between Israel and the Palestinians and linking Saudi Arabia to the US through security and nuclear agreements, thereby limiting China’s influence in Saudi markets.

  1. Blinken: Uncertain if Israel Will Make Concessions for Saudi Normalization

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed doubts about Israel’s readiness to make concessions for normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia, particularly ending the Gaza conflict and progressing towards a Palestinian state. His comments followed White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s briefing to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a potential historic agreement. Blinken noted skepticism about Netanyahu’s willingness to meet Saudi demands for normalization.

  1. US-Saudi Defense Agreement Nears Completion, Includes Civilian Nuclear Component

The United States and Saudi Arabia are close to finalizing a defense agreement that includes a civilian nuclear component, a senior US official revealed. While the bilateral agreement is nearly complete, details such as establishing a Palestinian state and stabilizing Gaza remain unresolved. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted uncertainties about Israel’s readiness to make necessary concessions for normalization with Saudi Arabia. Despite this, White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby confirmed that the agreement is closer than ever, aiming to reshape the Middle East and foster peace.

  1. Qatar’s Trade Surplus Hits $14.8 Billion in Q1 2024

Qatar’s trade surplus declined by 22.3% in the first quarter of 2024, driven by reduced exports and increased imports. The Planning and Statistics Authority reported a surplus of 53.18 billion riyals ($14.8 billion), down from 68.42 billion riyals ($19.08 billion) in Q1 2023. Exports fell by 8.6% to 87.61 billion riyals, primarily due to a 10.9% drop in mineral fuels and a 44.9% decrease in inedible raw materials. Imports rose by 25.4% to 34.42 billion riyals, with significant increases in mineral fuels and machinery. Asian countries remained the top destinations for Qatari exports and imports.

  1. Saudi King’s Health Canceles Crown Prince’s China Visit

Saudi Arabia will send a delegation, including the Investment Minister, to China this week, as the Kingdom seeks foreign financing for its economic transformation. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was expected to lead the delegation but will stay in Riyadh due to King Salman’s pneumonia treatment. This illness also caused the Crown Prince to postpone a planned visit to Japan. During a cabinet session on Tuesday, Prince Mohammed reassured everyone about King Salman’s health, thanking those who inquired. King Salman, who has reigned since 2015, is undergoing antibiotic treatment in Jeddah for a lung infection.

  1. Saudi-Chinese Trade Surpasses $100 Billion

Saudi Arabia and China held a roundtable meeting themed “Enhancing Financial Cooperation and Infrastructure Connectivity to Support the Belt and Road Initiative and Saudi Vision 2030.” The meeting, chaired by Saudi Deputy Finance Minister Abdul Mohsen Al-Khalaf and Chinese Deputy Finance Minister Liao Min, highlighted that trade between the two countries exceeded $100 billion in 2023. Al-Khalaf emphasized the importance of the economic partnership, noting its significant impact on trade.

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★ SYRIA

  1. Russia Accuses Coalition of Engagement Rule Violations in Syria

The Russian Reconciliation Center at the Hmeimim base in Latakia accused International Coalition planes of violating Syrian airspace ten times in one day. Major General Yuri Popov reported the violations involved F-15, Rafale, Typhoon, and A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft in the Al-Tanf area. Additionally, Popov mentioned two protocol breaches concerning uncoordinated drone flights. The Russian Air Force recently destroyed three militant bases linked to the Al-Tanf area. US officials suggest Russia is pressuring for a US withdrawal from Syria, noting increased Russian aerial activity over American bases. The 2019 Non-Conflict Rules Agreement aims to prevent such confrontations.

  1. EU Extends Humanitarian Exemptions from Syrian Sanctions

The European Union has extended the humanitarian exemptions from sanctions on the Syrian regime, initially approved after the earthquake disaster in February. This move aims to facilitate the swift delivery of humanitarian aid. German envoy to Syria, Stefan Schneck, explained that the extension reduces bureaucratic hurdles for aid providers. He emphasized the responsibility of all actors to adhere to humanitarian principles. The exemptions include relief from asset freezes and prohibitions on providing funds to sanctioned individuals and entities, aiming to support international organizations and humanitarian activities in Syria.

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LEBANON

  1. Israeli Bombing of Southern Lebanon Villages, Hezbollah Mourns Two Members

Tensions escalate on the southern Lebanese border as Israeli forces intensify raids on villages and towns. The Lebanese National News Agency reported two deaths from an Israeli drone strike on Al-Adissa, and Hezbollah mourned two members killed in the bombing. Israeli warplanes struck Mays al-Jabal on Wednesday morning, while artillery shelling caused a large fire in Markaba. A Hezbollah parliamentary source stated that Israeli threats to invade the south are insignificant, affirming Hezbollah’s commitment to supporting Gaza and maintaining their presence in southern Lebanon.

  1. Hezbollah Targets Al-Sadah Site with Artillery Shells

Hezbollah announced that its fighters targeted the Al-Sadah site with artillery shells on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at noon. The attack, which was a direct hit, was carried out in support of the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah declared the strike as a show of solidarity with the steadfast Palestinian people and their ongoing struggle.

  1. Lebanon’s Syrian Refugee Deportation Crisis Deepens

Lebanon’s push to deport Syrian refugees has gained political and social backing, but the country struggles to manage over 2 million refugees. A recent convoy of 330 refugees highlights Lebanon’s limitations. Tensions escalated when Lebanon’s Foreign Minister summoned the UNHCR’s representative over concerns of forced deportations. The Lebanese government seeks more refugee data from UNHCR while planning further deportations. Human rights groups warn against forced deportations, citing risks to refugees’ safety. Lebanese officials argue the deportations are necessary amid mounting domestic pressures and logistical challenges.

  1. Berri-Led Delegation Travels to Iran for Condolences Over Raisi’s Death

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri led a delegation to Tehran to offer condolences for the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and others in a helicopter crash. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei presided over the funeral on Wednesday, with tens of thousands joining the procession in Tehran. The Lebanese delegation included caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, Sheikh Ali al-Khatib, Khalil Hamdan, Ali Hamdan, and Ali Diab.

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★ EGYPT AND NORTH AFRICA

  1. Egypt changed terms of Gaza ceasefire deal presented to Hamas, surprising negotiators

Egyptian intelligence altered the terms of a Gaza ceasefire proposal that Israel had approved, derailing a potential deal to release hostages and prisoners, according to sources. The announced ceasefire on May 6 differed from what the US and Qatar believed was submitted to Hamas. The changes, which favored Hamas, angered US, Qatari, and Israeli officials. CIA Director Bill Burns, leading US efforts, was reportedly frustrated by the unilateral modifications. A senior Egyptian official, Ahmed Abdel Khalek, was identified as responsible. The move has stalled negotiations, with officials questioning Egypt’s motives and future involvement in ceasefire talks.

  1. Egypt Secretly Changed Terms of Hostage Deal After Israeli Agreement

Egyptian intelligence secretly altered the terms of a hostage deal and ceasefire, which Israel had already agreed to, according to CNN sources. These changes, made without informing the US, Qatar, or Israel, caused significant outrage. CIA Director Bill Burns, leading the US mediation, was reportedly furious and felt misled. The modifications, introduced by senior Egyptian intelligence officer Ahmed Abdel Khalek, included additional demands from Hamas. This led to a breakdown in ceasefire talks. Efforts to salvage the deal failed, leaving future negotiations uncertain, though Qatar is expected to play a larger role in upcoming discussions.

  1. Egypt’s FM Visits Iran for Funeral of Deceased President

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will visit Iran for the first time to attend the funeral of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on May 22. A ministerial statement emphasized Egypt’s solidarity with Iran during this difficult time.

  1. Egypt Secures $38.8 Billion in Development Financing Over Four Years

Egypt has obtained $38.8 billion in development financing and grants over the past four years through partnerships with various international development partners, the Ministry of International Cooperation announced. Of this amount, $28.5 billion was allocated to state sectors, and $10.3 billion to the private sector, focusing on climate action, development, and private sector empowerment. The financing, secured from 2020 to 2023, features long-term agreements with favorable terms. The Ministry emphasized its role in coordinating with the UN and supporting the private sector through initiatives like the “Hafez” platform, while highlighting ongoing collaborations with Asian countries and multilateral institutions.

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★ TURKIYE

  1. Iran Denies Türkiye’s Role in Locating Helicopter Wreckage

Iranian officials announced that Iranian drones found the wreckage of the helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. Iranian media reported the wreckage was located solely by Iranian efforts, despite offers of assistance from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iraq, Russia, and Türkiye. The Anatolia Agency claimed a Turkish drone identified the wreckage, but Iran denied this, stating their drones and rescue teams located the crash site. The Iranian Red Crescent and state media affirmed the discovery was made without external help, emphasizing the role of Iranian technology and volunteers in the operation.

  1. Turkish Minister of Transport: Raisi’s Helicopter Lacked Functional Signaling System

Turkish Transport Minister Abdulkadir Oral disclosed that the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi either lacked a signaling system or had a malfunctioning one. He noted that no signals were received from the helicopter, indicating a possible system failure. The Turkish Akinci drone deployed to the crash site located the wreckage in northwest Iran. The Bell 212 helicopter went missing on April 19 while flying over a mountainous, forested area during difficult weather conditions with heavy rain and fog.

  1. Türkiye and US to Combat Flow of Counterfeit Goods

Türkiye and the US will collaborate to stop the flow of counterfeit goods and piracy, according to US Deputy Consul General Fleur Cowan. At an event in Istanbul, co-hosted by Türkiye’s Ministry of Commerce and US agencies, Cowan emphasized that protecting intellectual property (IP) rights spurs innovation and economic growth. She noted that counterfeiting harms legitimate businesses and slows economic progress. The cooperation aims to tackle threats from counterfeit products, including alcohol and pharmaceuticals. Cenk Burak Altay from Türkiye’s Ministry of Trade highlighted the importance of IP rights for the economy, health, and safety, noting increased customs enforcement.

  1. Turkish Airlines Resumes Flights to Afghanistan Nearly Three Years After Taliban Takeover

Afghanistan’s Taliban government confirmed that Turkish Airlines has resumed flights to Kabul’s international airport, nearly three years after suspending services following the fall of the Western-backed government. The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation reported the first flight landed on Tuesday and was welcomed by officials. Turkish Airlines will now operate four weekly round-trip flights between Istanbul and Kabul on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. This follows Air Arabia and FlyDubai, which resumed flights earlier. Afghan carriers Kam Air and Ariana Afghan Airlines continue to operate flights to destinations including Dubai, Moscow, Islamabad, and Istanbul.

  1. Veteran Peshmerga Calls for Accountability Over Turkish Use of Banned Weapons

Hello Qarnawi, a veteran Peshmerga, condemned the Turkish occupation’s use of chemical weapons against the Kurds, stating it will not break the Kurdish people’s will to resist. He emphasized that this act will only strengthen their determination and called for Turkey to be held accountable for using internationally banned weapons. Major General Qarnawi highlighted that the use of chemical weapons, prohibited globally, reflects Turkey’s inability to suppress Kurdish resistance. He urged the United Nations to take action against these violations. The Popular Defense Forces reported multiple chemical attacks by the Turkish army in defense areas.

  1. Türkiye Accused of Burning Wheat Crops, Threatening Syria’s Food Security

Turkey and its allied factions are accused of deliberately burning agricultural crops in areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), threatening Syria’s food security. The SDF regions, rich in agricultural and other resources, have faced almost daily bombings since early May. Key areas affected include Ayn al-Arab (Kobani), Manbij, and Raqqa, resulting in significant civilian property damage and widespread discontent. The Syrian Observatory reported numerous incidents of Turkish forces targeting crops, leading to extensive fires. The Autonomous Administration expects to store about 1.5 million tons of wheat this season, crucial for the region’s food supply.

  1. Türkiye Key to Iraq’s Energy and Trade Access

Iraq faces challenges in developing its infrastructure for natural gas and oil reserves, making Türkiye a vital partner for access to international markets. Disruptions in trade routes and regional security issues have impacted Iraq’s ability to fully utilize its resources. Experts highlight that the Kirkuk-Yumurtalık pipeline, connecting Iraq to the Mediterranean via Türkiye, is crucial for Iraq’s economy. Cooperation between Türkiye and Iraq enhances stability and economic growth, with Türkiye providing necessary infrastructure and technological support. Maintaining and expanding this partnership is essential for both countries’ energy and commercial interests.

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📌 In case you missed it,

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX  May 21, 2024

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX  May 20, 2024

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