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The Israel-Hamas War Update, Iran’s Military Advances and Regional Implications

Table of Contents

Top 5 Headlines: 

  • Israel’s “Saar 6” Warship and Iran’s ‘Sarir’ Satellite Launcher.
  • Islamic Resistance Strikes U.S. Base in Syrian Oil Field.
  • Houthi Attacks in Red Sea Trigger Surge in Shipping Costs and Insurance Premiums.
  • White House Probes Alleged Israeli Use of U.S.-Made White Phosphorus in Lebanon.
  • Israeli Military Strikes Targets in Syrian and Lebanese Territories.

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  • ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Israel’s “Saar 6” Warship and Iran’s ‘Sarir’ Satellite Launcher. Israel has deployed the “Saar 6” warship to the Red Sea, countering Houthi threats, while Iran has made significant progress with its ‘Sarir‘ Satellite Launcher. These developments mark major advancements in their respective military and technological capabilities. The “Saar 6”, equipped with sophisticated missile systems, bolsters Israel’s maritime defense, particularly in naval combat. Concurrently, Iran’s ‘Sarir’ enhances its capabilities in space exploration and missile technology, potentially reaching geostationary orbit. Each system underscores the distinct strategic posture of its nation; “Saar 6” in maritime operations, and ‘Sarir’ in long-range technological prowess.
  2. Israeli Forces Suffer Major Casualties in Gaza Ambush. Ten Israeli soldiers, including two senior officers from the Golan Brigade and Air Force’s Unit 669, were killed in Gaza. The incident marks one of the deadliest in the ongoing ground operation, bringing the total Israeli military death toll to 115.
  3. 19 Hostages Confirmed Dead in Gaza Crisis. Israel confirms the death of 19 out of 135 hostages still held in Gaza, including a Tanzanian national. Two Tanzanian agricultural students were among the 240 hostages taken to Gaza in October. The Israeli military recovered the bodies of two hostages, identified as Edein Zakaria and (Soldier) Ziv Dadon, during a military operation. Dadon was killed in a Hamas attack, while Zakaria was abducted during the Nova Music Festival.
  4. Israeli Army Conducts Over 250 Airstrikes on Gaza. The Israeli military carried out more than 250 airstrikes in Gaza, targeting Hamas elements and infrastructure, resulting in ten soldiers killed. The army thwarted a missile-launching cell in Gaza, releasing footage of the airstrike. The death toll from the ground incursion rises to 115, including two senior commanders.
  5. Israel Vows to Continue War on Hamas with or Without International Support. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen states that agreeing to a ceasefire in Gaza at this stage would be a mistake. Israel commits to pursuing its war on Hamas, with or without international backing, as the Foreign Ministry insists the General Assembly’s vote doesn’t signal a loss of international support.
  6. World Bank Announces $20 Million Funding for Gaza Relief. The World Bank has revealed a new $20 million funding initiative, allocating $10 million for food vouchers and supplies, aiming to provide emergency relief to Gaza. The aid, benefiting approximately 377,000 people, is part of a larger $35 million relief package, with an initial disbursement of $15 million already delivered.
  7. Polish Right-Wing Deputy Extinguishes Hanukkah Candles, Sparks Outrage. Gregorz Braun, a Polish far-right deputy, caused uproar by extinguishing Hanukkah candles in the parliament, disrupting proceedings ahead of a confidence vote in the new government. Braun’s actions prompted a break in the session, leading to his suspension for the day. The incident drew condemnation from various officials, including Poland’s parliament president, the Israeli ambassador, and the U.S. ambassador, highlighting concerns about rising anti-Semitism.
  8. US-Israel Discord: Navigating Response to Houthi Threat. The US-Israel alliance faces a dilemma in responding to Houthi attacks supported by Iran. Washington discourages direct Israeli retaliation, fearing regional escalation, while emphasizing a cautious approach to protect fragile Yemen ceasefire. Military options remain on the table, but the Biden administration seeks to avoid broader conflict, reflecting concerns about regional stability and the vulnerability of international shipping routes.

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  • IRAN

  1. Billions Vanish: Iran’s Ongoing Saga of Financial Corruption. Iranian officials have allegedly embezzled staggering amounts, with recent cases totaling $94.3 billion, revealing a pattern spanning multiple administrations. Lack of transparency and international sanctions contribute to the complexity of these cases.
  2. Europe Imposes New Sanctions on Iranian Drone Program. The European Union adds six individuals and five entities linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to its sanctions list for supporting Russia in the war against Ukraine. The sanctions target companies involved in drone manufacturing, signaling Europe’s response to Iran’s military support for the Russian invasion.

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  • IRAQ

  1. Blinken and Iraqi Prime Minister Discuss Threats to U.S. Embassy in Phone Call. Following the U.S. warning, Secretary of State Blinken condemned the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad during a phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. The call emphasized the need to prevent further attacks on diplomatic missions, highlighting Iraq’s commitment to protecting embassies and the stability of the region.
  2. Iraq and UAE Agree to Trade Financing in Emirati Dirham. Iraq and the UAE have agreed to conduct trade and imports using the Emirati Dirham, with initial financial transactions involving five Iraqi banks. The Central Bank of Iraq announced the commencement of money transfers in Dirhams, aiming to establish relationships with reputable global banks. The move aims to reduce reliance on electronic platforms and align with international practices to enhance Iraqi banks’ trade financing capabilities. Abu Dhabi First Bank expressed interest in contributing to clean energy projects in Iraq.
  3. Iraq’s Anti-Corruption Body Ready to Cooperate with China. The Iraqi Federal Integrity Commission expresses readiness to collaborate with China in preventing and combating corruption. The two sides discuss exchanging expertise and are set to sign a memorandum of understanding. The Iraqi official emphasizes the importance of creating a secure environment for foreign companies, particularly Chinese ones, operating in Iraq, lauding the resilience of Chinese companies against corruption.
  4. Iraq’s Oil Exports to Independent Chinese Refineries Reach 6.95 Million Barrels in November. China’s Customs Administration reports a 17.06% increase in Iraq’s oil exports to independent Chinese refineries, reaching 6.95 million barrels in November 2023. Iraq ranks fifth among the top ten oil-exporting countries to independent Chinese refineries.
  5. Baghdad’s Most Dangerous Drug Dealer Apprehended. Iraqi security forces arrested the notorious drug dealer known as “Son of the Teacher” in a well-coordinated operation in northeastern Baghdad, charged under drug-related offenses.

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  • SYRIA

  1. Islamic Resistance Strikes U.S. Base in Syrian Oil Field. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq announced a missile strike on a U.S. base in Syria’s Koniko oil field in response to perceived crimes against Gaza. This marks continued resistance actions, with 83 drone and missile strikes targeting U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza in October.
  2. SDF Discovers Artillery Platforms Targeting International Coalition Bases in Hassakeh Countryside. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) uncovered artillery launchers in Hassakeh’s countryside, utilized for shelling the area around their joint base with the international coalition. The operation followed mortar attacks on the base, revealing the platforms near Adla village. Reports suggest the recent strike on the U.S. base in Shaddadi originated from SDF-controlled areas, highlighting tensions in the region.
  3. Israeli Warning Leaflets Follow Missile Exchanges in Southern Syria. Israeli reconnaissance aircraft circulate over Daraa and Quneitra in southern Syria after missiles, reportedly launched by unidentified groups, targeted the Golan Heights. Israeli forces responded with artillery fire, and warning leaflets were dropped, cautioning local residents about the consequences of missile launches, blaming the Syrian regime for abandonment.
  4. Israeli Military Strikes Targets in Syrian and Lebanese Territories. According to the Jerusalem Post, Israeli aircraft and tanks targeted military infrastructure and a Syrian army site in Syrian territories. Additionally, an Israeli Air Force fighter jet struck Hezbollah’s military infrastructure, while Israeli forces attacked a launching site in Lebanese territories. The Israeli military also reported intercepting anti-tank missiles and mortar shells launched towards the “Bar’am” region. Artillery fire from Israel targeted sources of fire in Lebanon, and several launch operations towards Israeli military sites were identified along the northern border.

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  • THE GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. NATO Chief and Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Discuss Regional Issues. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s visit to Riyadh includes discussions with Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Al-Khuraiji on common regional and international concerns. The visit marks the first of its kind, and Stoltenberg is set to meet with other high-ranking Saudi officials during the two-day trip.
  2. Saudi Foreign Minister Meets Iranian Counterpart in Geneva. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Iranian counterpart, Hussein Amir Abdollahian, in Geneva, discussing bilateral relations and regional developments, particularly the situation in Palestinian territories and Gaza, during the 75th anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  3. Houthi Attacks in Red Sea Trigger Surge in Shipping Costs and Insurance Premiums. Houthi attacks on Israel-linked ships in the Red Sea have led to rising shipping costs and escalated insurance premiums for vessels in high-risk areas. This increase presents global economic threats and concerns for safe maritime navigation. Ashdod Port in Israel, crucial for the country’s maritime trade, acknowledges the strategic threat these attacks pose to global shipping routes and its potential impact on Israel’s imports and exports. 
  4. Yemen Criticizes Houthi Attacks on Ships for “Iranian Objectives”. Yemeni officials condemn Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, distancing them from Gaza events. Accusations arise that the actions serve Iranian agendas rather than Yemen’s interests. The Houthi strategy is seen as fueling tension for political gains, risking regional stability.

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  • EGYPT & AFRICA 

  1. Biden Urges Sisi to Open Border Gateway for Gaza Palestinians. President Biden, speaking at the White House during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, publicly asked Egyptian President Sisi to ensure the opening of the border for Palestinians in Gaza, despite prior assurances against forced displacement. 
  2. Intense Israeli Airstrikes Near Egypt Border, Escalating Clashes in Khan Yunis. Fierce Israeli airstrikes target Egypt’s border areas in Rafah, while intensified fighting unfolds in Khan Yunis. Israeli forces advance into Khan Yunis, seizing significant portions and engaging in demolition and destruction in central areas. The military also entered the non-operational Kamal Adwan Hospital in Jabalia, causing casualties.
  3. Why Doesn’t Egypt Use International Support to Open Rafah Crossing? Despite international support, a UN delegation’s visit to Rafah highlights Egypt’s reluctance to sustainably open the crossing for humanitarian aid to Gaza, hindered by Israel. Challenges include Israeli restrictions on aid trucks and the evacuation of casualties. The political will to confront Israel’s opposition remains a key obstacle. Egypt’s former official cites the Egyptian government’s lack of political will and emphasizes the urgency of facilitating aid without waiting for Israeli approval.

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  • TURKIYE

  1. Turkey Invests in Iraqi Agriculture Amid Water Dispute. Iraqi Prime Minister al-Sudani invites Turkish companies to invest in Iraq, praising the partnership with Turkish firm, Tiryaki Agro, for the first-of-its-kind agricultural processing complex. The Turkish delegation expresses interest in further agricultural projects, modern irrigation technologies, and clean energy.
  2. Turkish MP’s Collapse: Critique of Erdogan’s Israel Stance. Turkish MP Hassan Betmez collapses after denouncing President Erdogan’s policies on Israel in Parliament. The incident underscores dissent over Turkey’s stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict, emphasizing ongoing tensions. Betmez’s critical condition reflects the broader discord within Turkey.
  3. Turkey’s Multi-Directional Quest for Resources and Investments. Turkey, amid economic challenges, intensifies efforts to attract foreign investments and secure financial resources. Despite diplomatic tours, including visits to the U.S., UK, and Gulf states, tangible results remain elusive. President Erdogan’s economic diplomacy extends to Europe, with a focus on enhancing economic ties.

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  • LEBANON

  1. White House Probes Alleged Israeli Use of U.S.-Made White Phosphorus in Lebanon. The White House is investigating reports that Israel used U.S.-supplied white phosphorus in Lebanon. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby expressed concern and the need for more information. Lebanon accused Israel of using the incendiary weapon, a claim supported by a Washington Post analysis of shell fragments. White phosphorus, while legal for battlefield illumination and as a smokescreen, is banned as a chemical weapon. The U.S. expects its military supplies to be used lawfully, amidst reports of civilian injuries and environmental damage in Lebanon.
  2. Iran and Lebanon FMs Discuss Palestinian Situation in Geneva.Iranian and Lebanese foreign ministers meet in Geneva to discuss regional issues, focusing on the Palestinian situation. Amirabdollahian emphasizes the need for the U.S. to cease support for Israel, condemning Zionist war crimes. The ministers underscore the importance of anti-Zionist resistance, affirming solidarity amid ongoing regional complexities.

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📌 Incase you missed it,

🌍 The Region December 11, 2023

🌍 Israel

🌍 Iran

🌍 Turkiye

🌍 SYRIA

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX December 12, 2023

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