THE EARLY PHOENIX – Nov 28, 2023

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  1. Fifth Day of Gaza Ceasefire: 10 Israeli Prisoners Released in Exchange for 30 Palestinians. On the fifth day of the temporary ceasefire in Gaza, Hamas handed over 10 Israeli prisoners, leading to the release of 30 Palestinians, including women and children. The exchange, part of the ceasefire agreement, raises hopes for further extensions and facilitates aid entry to war-torn Gaza. Israel maintains its commitment to weaken Hamas militarily despite the ceasefire.
  2. Putin’s Bias towards Hamas Prompts Israel to Reevaluate. Russia’s alignment with Hamas in the Israel-Hamas conflict prompts Israel to reassess its relationship with Moscow. Putin’s support for Hamas diverges from Russia’s long-term public relations strategy, raising concerns for Israel’s strategic alliances. The evolving situation in the Middle East, coupled with Russia’s assertive stance, compels Israel to navigate a delicate balance in its geopolitical engagements.
  3. Hamas Violates Ceasefire, Attacks Israeli Forces in Gaza. Amid efforts to extend the ceasefire, Hamas reportedly attacked Israeli forces in northern Gaza. Hamas claims Israeli forces violated the truce, emphasizing their commitment to it and urging mediators to pressure Israel to adhere to the ceasefire terms. Israeli fighter jets were allegedly deployed after the incident.
  4. Israel Withdraws Support for Saudi Arabia’s Expo 2030 Amid Gaza War. In light of the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Israel has withdrawn its support for Saudi Arabia’s Expo 2030 and redirected it to Italy. The decision, reportedly made in coordination with relevant parties, positions Italy as the new host for the global exhibition, intensifying the competition between Saudi Arabia and Italy. The final vote to determine the winning city is scheduled for today, with the current geopolitical context influencing the decision.
  5. Israel Accuses Hamas of Sexual Violence, Holds UN Meeting. Israel convened a meeting at the UN in Geneva, accusing Hamas of sexual violence against women during the October 7th attacks. Israel initiated an investigation into sexual violence, including rape, based on evidence of such crimes. The meeting, attended by diplomats and human rights organizations, marks Israel’s first international event on what it claims to be widespread sexual violence by Hamas. The UN Human Rights Office requested entry into Israel for monitoring, but Israel has not responded, hindering direct access to investigate reported human rights violations.
  6. Israeli Army Admits Failures and Casualties in October 7th Offensive. The Israeli military acknowledges the injury of a thousand soldiers since the start of the Gaza conflict, admitting its failure to counter the Palestinian resistance’s attack on October 7th. Reports reveal 202 soldiers with severe injuries, 320 with moderate, and 470 with minor wounds. The military faces scrutiny over information control, while the chief of staff outlines preparations for continued combat during ceasefires, aiming to dismantle Hamas. The conflict resulted in significant Israeli casualties and extensive damage in Gaza, raising humanitarian concerns.
  7. US Democratic Senators Meet Israeli Military Leaders to Discuss Gaza Conflict. A group of Democratic senators in the U.S. Senate met with high-ranking officials of the Israeli military to discuss the conflict between Israel and Palestinian resistance, particularly Hamas, along with concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Senators stressed the need for Israeli adherence to American values during operations against Hamas, while raising questions about the conditions for U.S. aid to Israel. The meeting also addressed the post-ceasefire phase, exploring viewpoints on the current situation and future developments.



  1. Iranian President Reisi Delays Turkey Visit Amid Rising Regional Tensions. Iranian President Ibrahim Reisi has postponed his planned visit to Turkey, as reported by Reuters citing Iran’s Tasnim news agency. The trip was originally scheduled for Wednesday but has been delayed to a later date, impacting talks on Gaza, according to Turkish President Erdogan. Reisi’s absence from a summit in Ankara, declared by Erdogan earlier, highlights tensions between the regional powers despite their common stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict. The move raises questions about the complex relations between Iran and Turkey, involving economic ties, regional conflicts, and differing approaches to geopolitical issues.
  2. Iran Fortifies Military Capabilities with Russian Aircraft Deal. Iran, under a new agreement, is set to bolster its military prowess by acquiring advanced Russian Su-35 fighter jets and Mi-28 attack helicopters. The collaboration signals a significant upgrade in Iran’s aerial defense capabilities, with the inclusion of sophisticated aircraft aimed at enhancing combat readiness and pilot training.



  1. Iran Proposes Joint Digital Economy Zone with Iraq. Iran announces its readiness to establish a joint digital economic zone with Iraq, aiming to share expertise in telecommunications, information technology, and digital commerce. The two countries explore collaboration in satellite imagery, affirming a commitment to mutual knowledge transfer and fostering digital independence. Iraqi officials express satisfaction with Iran’s advancements in e-commerce and financial technologies, highlighting a shared interest in leveraging Iranian capabilities to boost electronic trade in Iraq.



  1. CIA Director in Qatar for Hamas-Israel Ceasefire Expansion Talks.  Israeli Mossad and CIA directors held a meeting with the Qatari Prime Minister in Doha to discuss extending the Israel-Hamas ceasefire for 48 hours and explore broader agreements. The talks, also attended by Egyptian officials, centered on a potential wide-ranging exchange, including the release of Israeli soldiers held by Hamas. The ceasefire extension depended on ongoing hostage releases, possibly including the first-time release of some Israeli men. Israel expressed readiness for further extensions with additional hostage releases. Concurrently, CIA Director William Burns met with Israeli intelligence chief David Barnea in Doha, aiming to expand negotiations in secret talks in Qatar, mediated by intelligence officials and Qatar’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. The focus was on including the release of male prisoners, moving beyond the initial focus on women and children, with discussions addressing the ceasefire extension and the potential release of American detainees held by Hamas in Gaza
  2. Saudi Crown Prince and Zelensky Discuss Ukrainian Crisis. Ukrainian President Zelensky and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held a phone call to discuss the latest developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Bin Salman affirmed Saudi support for international efforts to politically resolve the crisis. The leaders also reviewed bilateral relations and common interests. The call follows Saudi-hosted consultations in August involving national security advisors from various countries on the Ukrainian crisis (Alkhaleej Online).
  3. Yemen’s Strategic Moves: Prisoner Exchange Standoff, Gaza Warning, and Red Sea Impact on Israel.  Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a Houthi leader, urges Saudi Arabia to prioritize a comprehensive Yemeni prisoner exchange, accusing them of hindering negotiations. Al-Houthi also warns of an alleged Israeli plot in Gaza, cautioning Palestinians about hidden motives behind aid restrictions. Additionally, the Yemeni armed forces’ decision to close the Red Sea to Israeli ships has heightened insurance premiums, impacting 70% of Israel’s food imports and exacerbating the crisis for the Zionist entity.



  1. Egypt’s Humanitarian Aid Efforts for Gaza Amidst Conflict. Egypt has facilitated the delivery of 25,240 tons of aid, including medical supplies, food, and water, to Gaza since the conflict’s onset. The aid, transported through the Rafah border crossing, includes essentials like fuel. Egypt, alongside mediation efforts, contributes to easing the humanitarian crisis. The four-day truce extension allows increased aid, highlighting the dire situation and urging a sustained ceasefire for long-term solutions.
  2. Sisi Advocates 1967 Borders as Solution to Palestinian Crisis. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi asserts that regional stability relies on recognizing a Palestinian state within the June 4, 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Meeting Hungary’s President Katalin Novak, Sisi emphasizes Egypt’s efforts for a Gaza truce and calls for a permanent ceasefire, increased aid, and preventing the conflict’s expansion to the West Bank. Both leaders condemn civilian targeting and forced displacement, underscoring the importance of regional calm.



  1. Russian Ambassador: Willing to Facilitate Turkish-Syrian Normalization Efforts. Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Alexei Erkhov, expresses readiness to support normalization between Turkey and the Assad regime. Despite some differences, the quadrilateral formula involving Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iran aims to benefit both nations. Recent talks in Astana focused on a roadmap for official Turkish-Syrian relations, coordinated with defense and intelligence efforts. However, no progress has been made as Syria insists on Turkish troop withdrawal, a condition Turkey rejects.
  2. Escalation of Syrian Regime Strikes Targets Civilians in Northwest Syria. Syrian regime forces intensify attacks on civilians along the frontlines with opposition-held areas in northwest Syria. The Syrian Civil Defense reports targeted strikes on a civilian car, injuring a woman and child in Idlib. The regime’s systematic assaults on farmers and civilians hinder agricultural activities, signaling a new form of warfare. The frequency of targeted missile attacks has risen in recent weeks, particularly in areas where Iran-affiliated militias are present. Despite the Moscow agreement, the region faces daily Russian airstrikes and drone activities, violating the March 2020 ceasefire. The humanitarian impact is evident, with over 70 killed, 349 injured, and significant damage to health and education facilities, water networks, and infrastructure. The escalation, the largest since 2019, has displaced over 120,000 people.
  3. Security Operations in Eastern Deir al-Zour: Arrests and Raids Follow Aerial Deployment. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) carried out arrests in Deir al-Zour, supported by an international coalition aerial operation. Key figures, including “Sheikh Al-Jabal,” were detained amid speculation about ISIS affiliation. Tensions within SDF leadership and clashes in Deir al-Zour are reported, reflecting complex dynamics in the region. The SDF continues security campaigns against alleged regime affiliates, with recent captures and military operations, reinforcing their efforts against terrorism.
  4. Iranian Plane Lands in Damascus Before Israeli Airstrike. An Iranian plane landed in Damascus just hours before an Israeli airstrike, according to “Voice of the Capital.” The footage captured moments of the airstrike targeting the airport runway, revealing the presence of an Iranian aircraft linked to “Yas Air” in one of the hangars. The plane entered Syrian airspace in stealth mode, possibly transporting military equipment. Despite Syria’s silence on passenger flights, the aircraft made undisclosed trips between Tehran and Latakia from November 22 to 25. Israeli airstrikes targeted Damascus airport shortly after its reopening, following a month-long closure due to a previous Israeli attack.



  1. Increasing Tensions Between Turkey and NATO Over Surge in Forbidden Military Shipments to Russia. A report from the Financial Times reveals a rise in Turkey’s sales of military materials to Russia, intensifying tensions with NATO. The surge in forbidden shipments raises suspicions about Turkey serving as a conduit for Moscow, impacting relations with the U.S. and allies. A top-level visit from the U.S. Treasury’s Brian Nelson underscores Washington’s concern, emphasizing efforts to prevent and investigate commercial and financial activities benefiting Russia’s war in Ukraine. Turkey’s $158 million exports to Russia and former Soviet countries, suspected of aiding Moscow, pose a challenge to export controls.
  2. Cihat Yaycı Issues Warning: Palestine Rejects Ankara’s Proposal. Retired Admiral Cihat Yaycı emphasizes the need for a ‘maritime jurisdiction agreement‘ with Palestine, similar to the one with Libya. He warns that Turkey must act swiftly, asserting that such an agreement would grant Palestine significant maritime territory. Yaycı highlights the potential for legal documentation, asserting ownership and restricting access to resources. Despite presenting the proposal, Palestine rejected it. Yaycı also discusses geopolitical challenges in the Middle East, emphasizing the target on Turkey.
  3. High-Level Military Talks Strengthen Alliance Between Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. In Baku, the capitals of Azerbaijan, high-level military discussions were held between Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The meeting emphasized ongoing military collaboration and regional stability. Ministers highlighted the importance of countering terrorism, separatist threats, and non-regional interference, affirming the need for peaceful conflict resolution. The trio underlined the significance of joint military, educational, and health initiatives, promoting exercises for operational harmony and elevating trilateral cooperation to enhance regional security. The talks marked the tenth strategic dialogue, emphasizing the commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the South Caucasus region.



  1. Lebanon Urged to Prepare for Border Negotiations. French sources indicate that Lebanon must ready itself for negotiations over its southern border, including discussions on Resolution 1701. The urgency is emphasized due to the potential spillover of the Gaza conflict into south Lebanon. The call for preparedness is further underscored by a reminder from the U.S., expressing a desire to prevent the expansion of the Gaza conflict into Lebanon.
  2. Hamas and Hezbollah in the Context of Major Geopolitical Projects. Analyzing the geopolitical roles of Hamas and Hezbollah, the article explores potential shifts in alliances. While Hamas may tactically align with Hezbollah, it remains to be seen if the U.S. will pursue a diplomatic approach, potentially reshaping dynamics in the Middle East and challenging Iran’s interests.


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