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Abbas Unveils Gaza Recovery Plan as Sinwar Tells Hamas, “We Have the Israelis Right Where We Want Them” 

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Top Headlines: 

  • Abbas Unveils Gaza Recovery Plan; Phase One Cost:  $1.3B
  • Sinwar Tells Hamas “We Have the Israelis Right Where We Want Them,” Says Civilian Losses are “Necessary Sacrifice”
  • Israeli Strike Kills Senior Hezbollah Leader Abu Talib in South Lebanon
  • Syrian Locals Block Russian Convoy East of Aleppo, Demand Russian Withdrawal
  • Reformists Rally Behind Sole Candidate as Iran’s Presidential Race Begins

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ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Abbas Unveils Gaza Recovery Plan; Phase One Cost:  $1.3 billion

At the Gaza Emergency Humanitarian Response Conference in Jordan, participants urged immediate access for humanitarian aid to Gaza and condemned Israel’s use of starvation as a weapon. King Abdullah II stressed the urgency of aid delivery, denouncing the dire conditions in Gaza. US Secretary of State Blinken called on Hamas to accept a ceasefire proposal, while Egypt’s President El-Sisi held Israel accountable for Gaza’s plight. UN Secretary-General Guterres emphasized the need for a ceasefire and urged support for Gaza’s reconstruction. Palestinian President Abbas revealed a comprehensive plan for “relief and early recovery” for Gaza. The plan spans three phases over 18 months, aiming to address the aftermath of the Israeli war. Phase one focuses on emergency response, emphasizing social protection, housing, health, education, and infrastructure, with a cost of $1.3 billion. Phase two entails comprehensive relief across Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. The final phase, termed “early recovery,” aims to restore productive and service institutions, rehabilitate infrastructure, and reinstate essential services like education, health, electricity, and water.

  1. Sinwar Says Civilian Losses are “Necessary Sacrifice,” Tells Hamas Leaders “We Have the Israelis Right Where We Want Them”

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar reportedly told fellow Hamas officials that civilian casualties in the Israel-Hamas conflict are a “necessary sacrifice” for the Palestinian cause. Sinwar’s correspondence with Hamas officials and mediators, reported by The Wall Street Journal, reveals his confidence in Hamas’s position, as he told Hamas officials, “We have the Israelis right where we want them.” At the same time, Sinwar reportedly criticized Hamas’s political leadership for discussing post-war plans without consulting him, labeling their actions as “shameful and outrageous.”

  1. IDF Claims 100 Hamas Terrorists Killed During Rescue Operation

Operation ‘Arnon,’ involving the rescue of four hostages with assistance from the Paratroopers Brigade, Yamam, and ISA forces, resulted in the killing of 100 Hamas terrorists, according to the IDF. Additionally, the 98th Division announced the destruction of over two kilometers of attack tunnels and the neutralization of numerous weapons caches and terrorist sites.

  1. IDF Confirms Deaths of Four Soldiers in Gaza Blast

Four IDF soldiers, including Sergeant Almog Shalom, Sergeant Yair Levin, Staff Sergeant Eitan Karlsbrun, and Major Tal Pshebilski Shaulov, were killed in a booby-trapped building explosion in Rafah, southern Gaza. The soldiers, part of the Givati Brigade’s reconnaissance unit, were conducting operations when the incident occurred. Seven others were injured, five seriously. The IDF found a Hamas tunnel shaft within the building.

  1. Fatah’s Military Wing Fires Missiles at Israeli Army Headquarters South of Gaza

Palestinian media reported Fatah’s military wing launched two missiles at the Israeli army headquarters in the Netzarim Corridor, south of Gaza City. Concurrently, Israeli vehicles conducted a limited incursion east of Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, leading to clashes with Palestinian youth amidst heavy gunfire and artillery shelling. The Netzarim Corridor, separating Gaza City from its central and southern regions, was formerly the site of the Netzarim settlement until 2005. Satellite imagery analyzed by CNN reveals the Israeli military road dividing Gaza has extended to the Mediterranean coast.

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LEBANON

  1. Israeli Strike Kills Senior Hezbollah Leader in South Lebanon

Two drones were intercepted over Haifa, and 40 missiles were fired from southern Lebanon towards Israel. Meanwhile, an Israeli strike targeted a meeting of Hezbollah leaders in Joya, Lebanon, killing four, including senior Hezbollah leader Abu Talib. Israeli forces also attacked Hezbollah infrastructure in Aitaroun and Mays al-Jabal. This escalation follows Hezbollah’s downing of an Israeli drone. Abu Talib is reportedly the most senior Hezbollah commander killed since October 7, along with Radwan brigades senior leader Wissam al Tawil, who was killed in an Israeli strike in January.

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SYRIA

  1. Syrian Locals Block Russian Convoy East of Aleppo, Demand Russian Withdrawal

Reports of a Russian military convoy intending to conduct a patrol alongside Turkish forces in Al-Bab, east of Aleppo, ignited widespread demonstrations. Civilians and military personnel took to the streets to oppose the entry of Russian forces into the region. Videos circulated online depicted protestors gathering near the Abu al-Zindin crossing, where tensions rose as individuals attempted to prevent the delegation’s entrance. Despite no confirmed sighting of the Russian delegation, the presence of Turkish officials fueled speculation. This marks the first time Al-Bab witnessed such protests against a Russian convoy, signaling heightened tensions in the region. Rumors surrounding the purpose of the visit, including water negotiations and road monitoring, added to the uncertainty. While negotiations between Turkey and Russia persist over water solutions for Al-Bab, the entry of the Russian delegation remains shrouded in secrecy, with conflicting reports emerging regarding its objectives. 

  1. Jordanian Authorities Thwart Drug Smuggling Operation with Innovative Methods

Retired Brigadier General of Jordanian Intelligence, Saud Al-Sharafat, revealed that drug smugglers from Syria, inspired by tactics employed on the Mexican border, attempted a daring operation recently thwarted by Jordanian authorities. Concealing drugs within drilling machines marked a new tactic in Jordan’s history of smuggling. This surge in smuggling activity along the Jordanian-Syrian border, extending 375 kilometers, has raised concerns about links to terrorism. Al-Sharafat highlights a concerning correlation between drug and weapons smuggling and terrorism financing, with drug profits potentially funding terrorist operations. 

  1. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Expands Influence in Syria

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is intensifying efforts to bolster influence in Syria, holding meetings with Syrian security authorities focusing on enhancing IRGC control and coordination with regime forces. The IRGC aims to consolidate control over areas such as Al-Tal and Maaraba in the Damascus countryside, instructing Syrian security branches to comply with its directives. 

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YEMEN

  1. Clashes Erupt Between Houthis and Army Forces in Al-Dhalea

Fierce clashes erupted between Houthi rebels and Yemeni army forces in Al-Dhalea’s Hajar Al-Masharih area. The battle began when Houthis advanced towards army positions, prompting a strong military response. Heavy weapons were used, causing explosions and gunfire that terrified residents. Casualties were reported, though exact numbers are unclear. This conflict is part of ongoing tensions in Yemen, with both sides vying for control of strategic areas. Residents, living in fear, have called for intervention to halt the violence and address the humanitarian crisis.

  1. Concerns Over Potential Houthi-Al-Shabaab Weapon Transfer

US intelligence reports suggest discussions between Yemen’s Houthis and Somalia’s Al-Shabaab about a possible weapon supply deal. Officials are investigating these talks and potential Iranian involvement. The US has alerted regional countries, and African nations are engaging with Washington for more details. Despite religious and ideological differences, both groups share a common enmity towards the United States. This cooperation could destabilize Somalia, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden, areas already tense due to recent Houthi attacks on commercial and military ships following the Gaza conflict.

  1. Houthis Seize Control of Yemen’s Largest Pharmaceutical Companies

Houthi militias have taken control of Yemen’s Modern Pharmaceutical Company and International Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company in Sanaa. The takeover followed a campaign targeting employees of international and Yemeni organizations, including UN agencies. Armed Houthis stormed the companies, kidnapping eight directors, including a woman. The seizure is linked to internal interference and efforts to control the companies’ systems. Since 2017, judicial authorities have forced these companies to surrender profits, with $240,000 handed over in 2022. Recent arrests and interrogations of employees indicate the Houthis’ intent to place the companies under judicial guard.

  1. Rerouted Oil Shipments Rise Due to Houthis’ Red Sea Attacks

The US Energy Information Administration reported a 47% increase in global energy shipments rerouted via the Cape of Good Hope instead of the Suez Canal due to Red Sea attacks. To avoid Houthis attacks in Yemen, ships now take the longer route, raising shipping costs. Tracking data shows 8.7 million barrels of crude oil and refined products per day used this route in early 2024, up from 5.9 million in 2023. Saudi Arabia and Iraq rerouted more crude oil to Europe, while Asia and Middle East refiners increased exports to Europe via southern Africa. The US also saw a significant rise in trade through this route.

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IRAQ

  1. Iraqi Forces Conduct Cross-Border Operation to Kill ISIS Leader in Syria

Iraq’s National Security Service reported a successful security operation within Syrian territory resulting in the elimination of an ISIS leader east of Raqqa Governorate. The operation, carried out in coordination with the US-led international coalition forces, targeted a high-ranking ISIS operative who operated along the Iraqi-Syrian border, orchestrating attacks on security forces. Despite the area being under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Iraq obtained necessary approvals for the operation. This marks a significant move as it’s the first time Iraqi forces have conducted such a deep incursion into Syrian territory. The operation underscores ongoing efforts to combat ISIS remnants, which continue to pose a threat despite significant losses in both Iraq and Syria.

  1. Iraqi Militias Drone Attack Israeli Target in Eilat

The Islamic Resistance group in Iraq announced a drone strike on an Israeli target in Eilat. This is their second attack this month, reportedly launched from Syrian territory. The group includes factions such as Al-Nujaba and Kata’ib Hezbollah, known for Iranian ties. They claim the attack supports Gaza and retaliates against Israeli actions in Palestine. Earlier, the group and Yemeni Houthis targeted Haifa port. Researcher Ahmed Al-Naimi noted the limited impact of these attacks compared to Houthi operations, suggesting they fall outside Iran’s direct response framework. 

  1. Iraq Dismantles 224 Drug Networks, Seizes 5 Tons of Narcotics

Iraq’s Ministry of Interior announced the dismantling of 224 international and local drug networks and the seizure of five tons of narcotics. This effort is part of a broad campaign in Baghdad targeting fraud, drug trafficking, robbery, and organized crime. Over the past two years, the Ministry has intensified its operations, leading to numerous arrests and significant drug seizures. Spokesman Brigadier General Miqdad Miri Al-Moussawi highlighted the Ministry’s success in increasing judicial convictions and life sentences for drug-related offenses.

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IRAN

  1. Reformists Rally Behind Sole Candidate as Iran’s Presidential Race Begins

Iranian Reformists are uniting behind Masoud Pezeshkian, their sole candidate in a presidential race dominated by conservatives. While state media claims the elections are competitive, pro-reform outlets note that five of the six candidates are conservatives. Campaigning has begun with candidates appearing on state television. Key Reformist figures, including former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and former Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, have endorsed Pezeshkian. Despite differing views in the media, there is hope that support for Pezeshkian will mobilize voters ahead of the June 28 election, potentially leading to a runoff on July 5.

  1. Contradictory Reports on Iran-Russia Strategic Deal

Conflicting reports have emerged about a comprehensive cooperation agreement between Iran and Russia. RIA reported a halt in the process due to issues faced by Iranian counterparts. Russian official Zamir Kabulov expressed confidence that the agreement would be finalized soon. However, Iran’s ambassador to Russia, Kazem Jalali, denied any suspension, attributing it to mistranslations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed ongoing efforts towards the agreement. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned that procedural steps are needed before signing.

  1. Iranian Air Defense to Unveil New Radar and Missile Systems

Brigadier General Ali Reza Sabahifard, Commander of the Iranian Army Air Defense Forces, announced that new radar, missile, electronic warfare, and drone systems will soon be unveiled and operational. During a visit to the air defense zone in northwestern Iran, Sabahifard assessed the combat readiness of sites in Tabriz and highlighted the critical role of air defense in enhancing the armed forces’ capabilities. He praised the readiness and technological advancements achieved by young Iranian experts, emphasizing their ability to produce advanced radar systems and drones.

  1. Bagheri Kani and Saudi FM Meet in Russia

During the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting, Iran’s Foreign Ministry supervisor, Ali Bagheri, met with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan. Bagheri highlighted the progress in Iran-Saudi relations under President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amir Abdullahian, emphasizing their commitment to strengthening comprehensive ties. He stressed that cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia benefits regional stability and security. Bagheri also called for a coordinated Islamic response to Israeli crimes in Palestine and appreciated Saudi efforts in hosting Iranian pilgrims. Faisal bin Farhan expressed satisfaction with the strong cooperation between the countries and reiterated the importance of dialogue and mutual efforts to ensure regional stability.

  1. Report:  Guardian Council Disqualified Larijani for Being Too Moderate

An exclusive Amwaj Media report said that Ali Larijani was disqualified from running for president because of his overly moderate policies.  Larijani has been barred from running in Iran’s presidential election for the second time in three years, despite support from influential figures. The Guardian Council’s decision has raised questions about the criteria for candidacy. Larijani, a seasoned politician and former parliament speaker, was seen as a successor to moderate former president Hassan Rouhani. His disqualification has sparked controversy and highlighted internal power struggles. Despite his exclusion, Larijani remains a significant political figure, and his disqualification may impact the future dynamics of Iranian politics.

  1. Canadian Court Rules Ukrainian Airline Failed to Cancel Flight Downed by IRGC

An Ontario court found Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) failed in its duty to cancel flight PS752 in 2020, which was downed by the IRGC, killing 176 people. The court ruled UIA did not act according to standards that necessitated cancelling the flight due to military activities. This verdict emphasizes passenger safety and holds UIA liable for full compensatory damages under the Montreal Convention, beyond the $180,000 USD per passenger limit. The IRGC’s missile strike, labeled as “terrorist activity,” caused the crash, with Iran failing to close its airspace during expected US retaliation. Iranian officials initially claimed the downing was a “human error.”

  1. Iran Seeks Release of IRGC Officer Held in Iraq for Murder of American

Iran claims Iraq has denied a US request to extradite Mohammadreza Nouri, an IRGC officer sentenced to life in prison for the murder of American Stephen Troell in Baghdad. Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s Deputy Judiciary Chief for International Affairs, denied the allegations against Nouri, describing him as a “defender of the shrine.” Nouri, who also holds Syrian citizenship, was involved in securing commercial contracts for the IRGC in Iraq. Despite an extradition treaty between Iran and Iraq, Baghdad has refused to transfer Nouri to Iran.

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★ THE GULF

  1. UAE Boosts Iraqi Oil Purchases Following Refinery Upgrade

The UAE plans to increase oil imports from neighboring countries after upgrading its Ruwais refinery to handle a wider range of crude types. In May, ADNOC received its second shipment of Iraqi crude, following an initial delivery in April. The tanker “Spyros” transported about one million barrels of Basra Heavy crude from Iraq to Abu Dhabi. It also carried Saudi oil to the UAE earlier in May. The refinery upgrade allows ADNOC to sell more high-value crude, enhancing exports of lighter, pricier grades like Murban and Upper Zakum.

  1. Saudi Oil Exports to China Decline for Third Consecutive Month

Reuters reported that Saudi crude oil exports to China are set to decline for the third straight month in July, falling to about 36 million barrels due to refinery maintenance and preferences for cheaper oil sources. This is down from 39 million barrels in June, marking the lowest level this year. Both government and private refineries in China have reduced their intake of Saudi crude, citing high prices and weak refining margins. Despite Saudi Aramco lowering its official selling prices for Asia in July, Sinopec, Asia’s largest refiner, kept its imports unchanged, but at the lowest levels this year.

  1. Saudi Arabia Leads Global Growth in Mining Investments

Saudi Arabia has been recognized as the fastest-growing country in mining sector investments, according to a report by MineHutte and Mining Journal. The Kingdom achieved the top ranking for developing an attractive regulatory environment for mining between 2018 and 2023. Saudi Arabia improved its mining licensing index, now the second best globally, and advanced in financial policy, ranking among the top 10. The Kingdom’s legislative and regulatory frameworks are also highly rated. The comprehensive strategy for mining, launched in 2018, has significantly boosted the sector, attracting global investments and doubling the value of its mineral wealth to over $2.6 trillion.

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 TURKIYE

  1. Foreign Minister Fidan Meets with Russian President Putin

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, highlighting the strong relations between Turkey and Russia. He emphasized the need for further steps in trade and conveyed Turkey’s commitment to mediating in the Ukraine conflict and maintaining stability in Syria. He noted that these issues were discussed during his visit to Moscow for the BRICS+ meeting and expressed his intention to address additional concerns with Putin.

  1. Türkiye to Build Three Warships for Malaysian Navy

Malaysia has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire three Turkish corvette warships, announced by the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) on Monday. Malaysian Defense Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin presented the letter of acceptance for the ships, which will be built by Turkish defense firm STM. This marks Malaysia’s first government-to-government defense deal. SSB President Haluk Görgün highlighted the strategic partnership and potential for further cooperation in the Royal Malaysian Navy’s projects. The ships, equipped with systems from Turkish companies like Havelsan, Aselsan, and Roketsan, will be delivered within three-and-a-half years.

  1. Türkiye, Bulgaria, and Romania to Clear Black Sea Mines

Starting in July, Türkiye, Bulgaria, and Romania will jointly begin operations to remove sea mines in the Black Sea. Turkish Ambassador to Bucharest, Ozgur Kivanç Altan, announced the initiative during the “Romania Days” event at the University of Thrace. Emphasizing the importance of Black Sea security, Altan noted that the operation involves warships from all three countries. This collaborative effort follows a Turkish notification from March 18, 2022, addressing the mine threat that emerged during the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Surveillance and coordination among the naval operations centers of these countries are ongoing.

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📌 In case you missed it,

📰  THE EARLY PHOENIX June 11, 2024

📰  THE EARLY PHOENIX June 10, 2024

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