Nasrallah Threatens to Attack Cyprus as Israel and Hezbollah Trade War Threats

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Top Headlines: 

  • Nasrallah Threatens to Invade Israel and Attack Cyprus in the Event of Hezbollah-Israel War
  • Israel Approves War Plans, Warns Hezbollah of Total Destruction
  • Canada Lists Iran’s IRGC as Terrorist Group, Equates with ISIS
  • Saudi Arabia Surpasses China as World’s Biggest Borrower Among Emerging Markets
  • Qatari PM Urges Hamas Leader Haniyeh to Compromise on Ceasefire Deal



  1. Nasrallah Threatens to Invade Israel and Attack Cyprus in the Event of Hezbollah-Israel War

In the wake of U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein’s mission to Beirut, and in response to Israel’s announcement of operational plans for an attack on Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that no place in Israel would be safe if a full-scale war erupted, while also issuing a brazen threat against Cyprus, accusing it of allowing launch attacks from its airports and therefore proclaiming it as part of Israel’s war against his militia. Speaking at a ceremony for slain commander Taleb Abdullah, Nasrallah emphasized Hezbollah’s readiness for extensive warfare, including potential attacks on Israel’s offshore gas rigs and in the Mediterranean. He revealed Hezbollah’s acquisition of new, powerful weapons and hinted at their future use. Nasrallah warned Cyprus against allowing Israeli use of its bases, suggesting it could be considered part of the war. He highlighted Hezbollah’s advanced reconnaissance capabilities and ongoing attacks on northern Israel, forcing the IDF to redirect resources from Gaza. The Cyprus Ambassador in Israel responded to Nasrallah’s threat confirming his country’s strong relations with Israel. 

  1. Israel Approves War Plans, Warns Hezbollah of Total Destruction

The Israel Defense Forces’ Northern Command has approved operational plans for conflict with Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon, authorized by Northern Command head Maj. Gen. Uri Gordin and IDF Operations Directorate head Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk. These plans focus on enhancing troop readiness and accelerating preparedness on the ground. This decision follows near-daily attacks by Hezbollah since October 8, resulting in over 20 deaths and significant damage in northern Israel. Recently, Hezbollah escalated its attacks, launching 150 rockets and 30 drones in a single day. In response, Israeli air defenses have intercepted drones, and IDF jets have struck Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has warned of a potential total war if the situation does not de-escalate. The IDF’s strategic plans aim to restore security and allow displaced residents to return to their homes. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has warned of a potential total war if the situation does not de-escalate. Katz warned Hezbollah of complete destruction in the event of a “total war.”

  1. Hezbollah Drones Hit Metula, IDF Strikes Hezbollah in Lebanon

Hezbollah launched a swarm of drones at Metula, Israel’s northernmost town, causing damage to cars but no injuries, as reported by Metula’s mayor. Three drones fell inside the town, marking a significant escalation in cross-border hostilities. In a related incident, the IDF detected another Hezbollah drone over northern Israel but opted not to shoot it down to avoid civilian injuries. The Air Force reported that Hezbollah launched three drones in total: one was downed, another likely crashed into the sea, and a third completed a reconnaissance mission over Haifa. In response to these provocations, the IDF conducted overnight strikes on Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, resulting in at least three fatalities, according to local reports.

  1. Hezbollah Retaliates as Israel Launches Seventh Raid on Borghlieh

Hezbollah retaliated against Israeli strikes on south Lebanon by attacking a command center in Kiryat Shmona and Israeli posts in Metula. Suicide drones targeted Israeli soldiers, followed by rocket and artillery shell attacks on Kiryat Shmona. These actions responded to repeated Israeli strikes on Borghlieh, which resulted in the death of three Hezbollah members. Additionally, Israeli forces targeted multiple southern Lebanese towns, including Yaroun, al-Khiam, and al-Wazzani.

  1. World Bank Says Syrian Displacement Has Cost Lebanon Over $31 Billion

A World Bank report revealed that Lebanon lost $31 billion in economic growth between 2011 and 2017 due to the Syrian conflict. The report highlights that Syrian displacement led to security and political crises, reducing investment by 20% and impacting trade and tourism. Public services and infrastructure have been strained, with annual costs for water, sanitation, waste, electricity, health, and education for refugees reaching hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite donor support, the pressures and competition for services have increased, exacerbating Lebanon’s economic challenges.



  1. US-Israel Relations Strained Over Weapons Shipment Controversies

After Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accused the White House of delaying military aid to Israel, the White House denied Netanyahu’s claims and also denied reports that they had canceled high-level talks with Israeli officials, attributing the rescheduling to a conflict. Netanyahu’s video accusing the US of delaying arms shipments sparked significant tension, with US officials claiming that only one shipment was paused while billions in aid continued. US envoy Amos Hochstein reportedly confronted Netanyahu in Jerusalem and said the Prime Minister’s accusations were unfounded. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has yet to notify Congress of an $18 billion sale of F-15 fighter jets to Israel, attributing the delay to tactical timing considerations. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is also still reviewing a paused shipment of 2000-pound bombs due to the administration’s concerns that the Israelis would use the weapons in densely populated areas in Gaza. These controversies are straining the already tense relationship between Biden and the Netanyahu government.

  1. Hamas-Operated Drone Shot Down Over Southern Israel

A drone from Gaza infiltrated Israeli airspace on Wednesday, marking the first such incident since November. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the drone crossed into Israel and fell in an open area near the border, setting off air-raid sirens in Kibbutz Holit, Nir Yitzhak, and Sufa. The Eshkol Regional Council confirmed that the incident occurred around 6 a.m., stating that the drone was shot down without causing injuries or damage.

  1. Gaza Pier Costing $200 Million Dismantled After Limited Success

The US may dismantle the $200 million Gaza aid pier earlier than planned due to severe weather and limited success. Operational for only ten days since mid-May, it faced weather damage and security issues. The UN paused cooperation, emphasizing land routes as more efficient for aid delivery to Gaza’s 2.3 million residents. 

  1. Ben Gvir Challenges Netanyahu to Lie Detector Test After Netanyahu Accuses Him of Leaking State Secrets

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party has accused National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir of leaking state secrets, intensifying tensions within the Israeli government. Netanyahu demanded that all participants in security consultations prove they have not leaked information. In response, Ben Gvir challenged Netanyahu to submit to lie detector tests, highlighting deep mistrust. Opposition leaders argue that anyone suspected of leaking state secrets should not control the police or participate in security discussions. These accusations and the ensuing political turmoil raise serious concerns about the stability and trustworthiness of Israel’s leadership during critical times.



  1. Canada Lists Iran’s IRGC as Terrorist Group, Equates with ISIS

The Canadian government has officially designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, following significant pressure from the Iranian community in Canada, particularly from families of victims of Ukrainian flight PS752, which was downed by IRGC missiles in January 2020. This designation allows Canadian law enforcement to take action against those supporting the IRGC financially or materially. This move aligns Canada with similar stances taken by Europe and the United States, placing the IRGC alongside groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.

  1. IAEA Allegedly Paid a Sanctioned Iranian Weapons Scientist, Sent Researchers to Russia

Iranian-led media sources report that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) allegedly paid cash to Javad Karimi-Sabet, a US-sanctioned Iranian atomic weapons scientist, in Vienna in early 2022. According to German tabloid Bild, which obtained confidential files, the IAEA circumvented sanctions by making the payment in cash. Karimi-Sabet, vice chairman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, is noted for his role in Iran’s atomic bomb development. The IAEA did not deny the payment, stating that US sanctions do not apply to its operations. Additionally, the IAEA reportedly sent Iranian nuclear researchers to Russia for training, coordinated under project “IRA2018001” to enhance skills and infrastructure. Despite assurances that participants did not gain weapons knowledge, concerns about the IAEA’s support for Iran’s nuclear program persist. The IAEA’s technical cooperation, according to these documents, appears to have provided Tehran with significant assistance, raising questions about potential collusion.

  1. Iranian Regime Claims its Navy to Receive New Equipment Soon

Iranian-led media sources report that the Iranian Navy will soon receive new equipment, including advanced drones, according to Navy Commander Shahram Irani. During a visit to a military base in Sirjan, Irani highlighted the enhanced combat capabilities these drones will bring to the naval forces. He emphasized the continuous addition of new technology to the Navy’s fleet as a priority to maintain and improve operational capabilities. Additionally, Iran aims to ensure a constant and effective naval presence in all oceans.

  1. Iran Claims to Thwart Terrorist Group’s Entry Through Saravan Region

Iranian-led media sources report that Brigadier General Ahmad Ali Goudarzi, Commander of the Iranian Border Guard, announced the thwarting of a terrorist group’s attempt to enter the country through the Saravan border region. Border guard forces in Sistan and Baluchestan province, through intelligence supervision, detected the group’s movements and launched operations that resulted in the group’s heavy defeat. Two terrorists were killed, and one was arrested, who confessed to being a member of the Ansar Al-Furqan group. The operation also led to the seizure of explosives, weapons, ammunition, explosive fuses, and wireless devices from the group.

  1. Iran Says it Wants to Send Taliban Fighters to Gaza

Iranian and Taliban officials have engaged in discussions about collaborating against Israel, focusing on the conflict in Gaza and rising tensions with Hezbollah in Lebanon. In a recent phone call, Iran’s Ali Bagheri Kani and the Taliban’s Amir Khan Muttaqi highlighted the necessity for unified Islamic actions against Israel, coordinating through the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Iran’s ambassador in Kabul has proposed the deployment of Taliban fighters to Gaza in support of Hamas. This comes in the context of Iran’s financial backing of the Taliban, which has amounted to substantial sums annually since 2012. Despite historical disputes over water rights and border security, Iran and the Taliban are now exploring joint actions.



  1. Israeli Airstrikes Kill Syrian Officer and Hezbollah Members in Lebanon and Syria

An Israeli drone strike on Wednesday killed a Syrian officer and four Hezbollah members in southern Syria and Lebanon. The attacks targeted military sites in Quneitra and Daraa, causing material damage. Hezbollah confirmed the deaths of its members in Yaroun, Lebanon. Israeli forces continued targeting Hezbollah positions, citing efforts to combat “saboteurs’ cells and terrorist structures.” Israel frequently strikes in Syria, mainly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah assets.

  1. Attrition in the Syrian Regime’s Army: 675 Deaths Since January

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports 675 Syrian regime force members killed from January to mid-June, indicating widespread attrition. Of these, 330 were killed by ISIS, with the rest from internal conflicts, security incidents, and opposition attacks. The regime’s military struggles, compounded by reliance on Russian and Iranian support, reflect its weak capacity to address ongoing security threats.

  1. Clashes in Damascus Countryside Injure Civilians Over Drug Conflict

In rural Damascus, residents of Zakia clashed with an armed group led by a Hezbollah-supported drug trafficker, resulting in injuries to three children and damage to property. The conflict arose as locals attempted to expel the trafficker, ultimately setting fire to his house. The incident highlights ongoing chaos in areas under settlement agreements between opposition factions and regime forces.

  1. Regime and Militia Members Killed in Syrian Desert Attacks

In the Syrian desert, members of the Liwa al-Quds militia and regime forces suffered casualties due to landmines and ambushes. Two Liwa al-Quds members were killed and two injured in a landmine explosion near Al-Shula, Deir ez-Zor. In Raqqa’s Rusafa desert, an ISIS ambush killed two regime soldiers and injured others. Over the past ten days, more than 60 regime and militia members have died, including high-ranking officers, due to numerous ISIS attacks, particularly on the Palmyra-Sukhna road in eastern Homs.



  1. US CENTCOM Faces Intense Naval Battle Against Houthis 

US CENTCOM announced the destruction of eight Houthi drones in Yemen and one over the Gulf of Aden within 24 hours. U.S. Defense officials term the complex naval involvement in the Red and Arabian Seas as a “black swan” event, indicating unpredictable challenges. The U.S. Navy, prepared for threats from major powers, finds itself combating Yemen’s Ansarullah movement in a critical location. Six months of U.S. intervention has failed to halt attacks, affecting 65 countries and 29 major shipping companies. Experts call it the most intense naval battle for the US Navy since WWII. The Houthi-affiliated Al-Masirah channel reported that the United States and Britain conducted four airstrikes on Raymah Governorate, targeting the government complex in Al-Jabayn District. 

  1. Houthis Sink a Greek-Owned Merchant Ship in the Red Sea 

A Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned ship, Tutor, sank after a Houthi drone boat attack in the Red Sea, resulting in the death of a Filipino sailor and critical injuries to a Sri Lankan. The UK Maritime Trade Operations reported maritime debris and oil at the sinking site.



  1. Baghdad Government Looks the Other Way as Turkiye Ramps Up Military Operations in Kurdistan, Iraq

Iraqi Kurdish and Baghdad officials report a surge in Turkish military actions in Iraq, with nearly 1000 air, artillery, and ground attacks targeting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants since the start of 2024. This escalation is attributed to pre-existing security agreements between Baghdad and Ankara. Despite previous condemnations, Baghdad’s current silence indicates possible tacit approval. Kurdish leaders highlight significant property damage and civilian casualties. This increased activity follows Iraq’s designation of the PKK as a banned organization and commitments to cooperate with Turkey against the group.

  1. Iraqi Security Forces Concerned by Rise of Suicide Cult in Southern Iraq

Iraqi security forces are confronting the extremist group “Al-Qurban,” which conducts brutal rituals involving suicides as offerings to Imam Ali. Recent arrests of group leaders have sparked social and security unrest in southern provinces. Predominantly active in Nasiriyah, the group also operates in Maysan, Basra, and Diwaniyah, promoting rituals and songs venerating Imam Ali. Authorities label them a “deviant religious group.” This year, 12 suicides linked to the group were reported, alarming local communities. The group’s organized presence on social media and connections to similar factions in Iran further complicate efforts to curb their activities.

  1. TV Program Exposes Mass Executions in Iraq’s Nasiriyah Prison

An Iraqi TV program exposed the plight of detainees in Nasiriyah prison, also known as “Al-Hout Prison,” Iraq’s largest penitentiary. Notorious for its mass executions, the prison has drawn criticism from Human Rights Watch, especially after the latest executions in April. The organization condemned these executions as illegal and urged the suspension of the death penalty and a judicial reform. The episode featured Ali Al-Bayati, head of the Defenders Foundation for Human Rights, discussing the dire conditions and treatment of prisoners within this facility.

  1. Iraqi Government Launches Weapons Buyback Campaign, Threatens Heavy Prison Sentences for Weapons Violators

Iraq’s Ministry of Interior has launched a campaign to purchase weapons from citizens, aiming to restrict arms possession to the state. Those who refuse to surrender heavy weapons face life imprisonment. Despite challenges, the campaign has seen some success, particularly in urban areas. However, armed factions and tribes pose significant obstacles. Legal protections and financial incentives are offered to encourage compliance. Human rights activists and tribal leaders emphasize the need for long-term strategies and stricter law enforcement to ensure the campaign’s success and enhance security and stability in Iraq.



  1. Qatari PM Urges Hamas Leader Haniyeh to Compromise on Ceasefire Deal

Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to encourage compromises on the ceasefire proposal with Israel. The primary obstacle is Hamas’s demand for an immediate ceasefire and IDF withdrawal, while Israel insists on the release of all hostages first. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf labeled Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar a “psychopath” during Senate testimony, while lauding Qatar’s mediation role despite its limited leverage over Sinwar.

  1. Sharp Debate Erupts Between UAE and Sudan Ambassadors at UN Security Council

A heated exchange occurred at the UN Security Council between Sudan’s ambassador Al-Harith Idris Al-Harith and UAE ambassador Mohammed Abu Shehab. The Sudanese ambassador accused the UAE of providing weapons to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan’s ongoing civil war. In response, Abu Shehab dismissed the allegations as “ridiculous and false” and criticized Sudan for obstructing aid and avoiding peace talks. The debate highlighted accusations of UAE’s support for RSF through neighboring countries, while the UAE stressed its humanitarian efforts and called for an end to the conflict and a transition to civilian rule in Sudan.

  1. Bin Salman and Trudeau Discuss Strengthening Saudi-Canada Relations

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed enhancing bilateral relations and addressing regional and international issues in a recent phone call. The leaders reviewed efforts to achieve security and stability and explored ways to strengthen cooperation in various fields. This dialogue marks an improvement in Saudi-Canada relations, following the resumption of economic and diplomatic ties in 2023 after a five-year hiatus. Relations were previously suspended in 2018 due to disagreements over human rights issues.

  1. Saudi Arabia Surpasses China as World’s Biggest Borrower Among Emerging Markets

Saudi Arabia has overtaken China as the top issuer of international debt among emerging markets, ending Beijing’s 12-year dominance, according to Bloomberg. Driven by the Vision 2030 plan, Saudi Arabia’s borrowing has reached record levels, with bond sales up 8% this year, totaling over $33 billion. The Kingdom’s efforts to finance large infrastructure projects and diversify its economy have gained strong investor support. Meanwhile, Chinese borrowers have focused on local currency bonds, slowing their international issuance. Overall, emerging market bond sales increased by 28% this year, totaling $291 billion, amid favorable borrowing conditions.



  1. Egyptian Exports Reach Historic $3.5 Billion in May

For the first time in foreign trade history, Egypt’s monthly export volume hit $3.5 billion in May. This marks the fifth consecutive month of growth, with total exports reaching $16.55 billion in the first five months of the year, up 9.8% from the same period in 2023. Trade and Industry Minister Ahmed Samir highlighted the state’s commitment to boosting exports towards a $100 billion annual goal. Key export sectors included building materials, food industries, chemical products, and agricultural crops. The top markets were Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE.



  1. Erdogan and Armenian PM Discuss Bilateral Relations

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan reaffirmed their commitment to normalizing relations without preconditions during a recent phone call. They emphasized the importance of ongoing dialogue between their special envoys and expressed satisfaction with the progress made. Erdoğan extended condolences for the recent flood disaster in northern Armenia, while Pashinyan congratulated Erdoğan on Eid al-Adha. Relations between Türkiye and Armenia have been improving since the Second Karabakh War, with notable milestones including the resumption of commercial flights in 2022 and the temporary reopening of their land border in 2023.

  1. Barclays Predicts Controlled Depreciation of Turkish Lira

Barclays analysts foresee a controlled depreciation of the Turkish Lira (TL) during the summer, while expecting the policy rate in Turkey to remain unchanged throughout 2024. The bank finds Turkish bank bonds attractive compared to other EEMEA markets, recommending the purchase of Akbank and Yapı Kredi perp bonds due to their high carry yield. This prediction follows Barclays’ recent upgrade of its recommendation on Turkish bank bonds, indicating confidence in their performance despite potential currency devaluation.


📌 In case you missed it,

📰  THE EARLY PHOENIX June 18, 2024

📰  THE EARLY PHOENIX June 17, 2024


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