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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12, 2023

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

Summary:

Tensions are escalating across the MENA region, affecting U.S. foreign policy. President Biden faces questions over handling classified files, while lawmakers examine Robert Malley’s ties to Iran. The ongoing conflict in Israel has economic implications for the U.S., noted by the U.S. Treasury Secretary. Meanwhile, Senator Tim Scott, also a presidential candidate, criticized the Biden administration’s role in Middle East turmoil during a Hudson Institute conference. Iranian lawmakers plan to visit Syria and Lebanon to meet with Hamas fighters amid the Israel conflict, as Iran offers to host an emergency OIC meeting. In Turkey, President Erdogan announced the completion of the first phase of anti-PKK operations in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister met with Assad’s Foreign Minister, Faisal Mikdad, on the sidelines of the Arab League’s emergency session on Palestine. Iraq’s Prime Minister Al Sudani has asked Putin for intervention in the current conflict, while Putin mocked the arrival of an American aircraft carrier as ‘scare tactics.’ The situation remains volatile as Gaza residents bear the brunt of Hamas’s actions.

THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

Top 5 Headlines:

★ Republicans and Bipartisan Senators Investigate Malley’s Iranian Connections and Security Clearance.
★ Iran Offers to Host OIC Meeting on Palestine Crisis.
★ Iran Exploits Israel’s “Al-Aqsa Flood” to Bolster Syria Presence.
★ Saudi Crown Prince Engages in Diplomatic Talks with Iranian and French Presidents on Gaza Crisis.
★ Hizballah to U.S. Carrier: “You Don’t Scare Us!.

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

USA

  1. Biden Questioned in Special Counsel Investigation Over Classified Documents. US President Joe Biden voluntarily participated in an interview as part of a special counsel investigation into his handling of classified files from his tenure as a US senator and vice president. The investigation, led by Special Counsel Robert Hur, focuses on two sets of classified documents found at different locations. Biden has not been charged, and the White House states it is cooperating fully with the investigation (The National). 
  2. Republicans and Bipartisan Senators Investigate Malley’s Iranian Connections and Security Clearance. Top Republicans in the Senate and House, along with Senators Jim Risch and Bill Hagerty, are scrutinizing Robert Malley, former U.S. envoy to Iran, for his ties to a covert Iranian influence operation and the suspension of his security clearance. Lawmakers are seeking to understand the impact of Malley’s actions on U.S.-Iran policy, including the 2015 nuclear deal. Both the State Department and Pentagon have come under fire for not providing sufficient information, hindering congressional oversight. The investigations follow an FBI probe into Malley’s alleged mishandling of classified information and cite an article from the Tehran Times suggesting Iranian influence in the U.S. government. The collective efforts underscore the urgent need for transparency and accountability in U.S. dealings with Iran (Iran International, Free Beacon).
  3. US Economy Affected by Israel’s Security Situation, Says Yellen. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed concerns that the ongoing conflict in Israel could impact the growth of the American economy. Despite these concerns, Yellen stated that the US economy is not expected to enter a recession. The comments come as the IMF recently raised its growth forecast for the US economy. Israel’s strong tech sector has significant influence on American and European stock markets (Anadolu Agency). 
  4. Senator Tim Scott Lays Bare Biden Administration’s Role in Fueling Middle East Turmoil at Hudson Institute. In a wide-ranging discussion at the Hudson Institute, Senator Tim Scott was questioned by Mike Doran on various aspects of U.S. foreign policy. The Senator criticized the Biden administration’s approach towards Israel and Iran, accusing the President of inviting aggression and undermining U.S. security. Scott emphasized the need for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, especially in light of recent attacks on Israel. He also denounced far-left elements within the Democratic Party for their anti-Israel and anti-Semitic stances. In addition, Scott highlighted the importance of a robust military and a “peace through strength” philosophy. He warned against relying solely on economic strength for national security and called Iran part of a new “axis of evil” with Russia and China. The Senator concluded by advocating for a comprehensive strategy to address global challenges, emphasizing the interconnectedness of domestic and foreign policy (Hudson Institute). 
  5. U.S. and Russia Clash Over Lebanon Tensions; Hizballah Unfazed by U.S. Military Presence. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby emphasized that the U.S. is closely monitoring the Lebanese-Israeli border and is preparing military assets to deter any escalation in the conflict. Hizballahollah responded with a statement blaming the U.S. for the ongoing conflict and calling for its condemnation. Furthermore, Putin also mocked what he referred to as ‘Scare Tactics’ with the American aircraft now in the region. He criticized the decision, questioning whether the aim was to “bomb Lebanon or scare anyone.” He stated that the move exemplifies the failure of American policy in the Middle East, particularly in the Israel-Palestine conflict, emphasizing that material aid is insufficient to solve the underlying political issues and warned that the conflict’s expansion could have serious global consequences, including in the energy sector (Beirut Observer, Al Maydeen).

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES 

  1. Israel’s Intel Minister Accuses Iran of Backing Hamas Attacks. Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel stated that Iran’s long-term support for Hamas makes it partly responsible for the recent attacks against Israel. Gamliel emphasized that the focus is currently on enhancing security measures. She also mentioned receiving global support, including from the Iranian diaspora. The minister condemned Hamas for committing “war crimes” and using civilians as human shields (Al Monitor).
  2. Israeli-American Teen Survives Hamas Attack After Parents Sacrifice Lives. In a tragic incident near the Gaza border, an Israeli-American teenager, Rotem Mathias, survived a Hamas attack on his family’s home by hiding under his deceased mother. His parents, Shlomi and Debbie Mathias, were killed while shielding him from gunfire. Rotem played dead for 30 minutes before finding a hiding spot. The family had less than a minute to seek shelter after being alerted to the attack. Rotem and his sisters, who were hiding in separate safe rooms, were eventually rescued by Israeli soldiers. The attack occurred just hours after the family celebrated the Jewish holiday of Sukkot (AP).
  3. Israelis Abroad Rush Home to Support War Effort as Conflict Continues. As the conflict with Hamas intensifies, Israelis living overseas are making urgent plans to return home. They aim to join reserve military units or volunteer in various roles. Israel’s military has recently expanded its reservist mobilization to 360,000. Individuals like Yaakov Swisa and Adam Jacobs feel a compelling duty to return, despite the war claiming at least 1,800 lives. Travel remains challenging due to suspended flights and U.S. State Department advisories (AP). 
  4. U.S. Jewish Communities Mobilize Rapid Aid for Israel Following Hamas Attack. In response to the recent Hamas attack on Israel, Jewish communities across the United States have rallied to provide aid, raising millions of dollars and sending supplies ranging from bulletproof vests to toiletries. Rabbi Jonathan Leener’s Brooklyn synagogue alone raised $5,000 within an hour. High-profile donors like Yuri Milner and Mike Bloomberg have also pledged significant contributions. Despite airlines suspending flights to Israel, communities are using social media and private charters to ensure supplies and donations reach their destination. Legacy aid organizations are also raising funds for both Israel and the Palestinian territories (Reuters). 
  5. Hamas Official Reveals Two-Year Secret Plan for Israel Invasion. Senior Hamas official Ali Baraka disclosed in an interview that the organization had been covertly planning an invasion of southern Israel for two years. Baraka stated that only a select few within Hamas were aware of these plans. He also mentioned that Russia is sympathetic to Hamas and benefits from the U.S. being entangled in this conflict. Additionally, Baraka revealed that any prisoner swap deals should include Hamas prisoners in the U.S. and Europe (MEMRI). 
  6. The Enigmatic Commander: Who is Mohammed Deif? Mohammed Deif, the secretive chief of Hamas’s military wing, is the mastermind behind the recent devastating attack on Israel. Deif began planning the operation two years ago, triggered by Israeli raids on Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque. A survivor of multiple assassination attempts, Deif is a highly elusive figure, rarely appearing in public. He is held responsible for numerous deaths in Israel and has been on the country’s most-wanted list for decades. His planning involved a long-term deception strategy, making Israel believe that Hamas was focused on economic development in Gaza. Deif’s whereabouts remain unknown, likely hidden in Gaza’s tunnel networks (Reuters). 
  7. Gaza’s 75-Year Struggle: A Timeline of Key Events. Gaza, a coastal strip with over 2 million Palestinians, has a history marked by conflict and hardship. From Ottoman rule to British, Egyptian, and Israeli military control, the area has seen significant changes. Major milestones include the influx of Palestinian refugees in 1948, Egyptian rule in the 1950s and 1960s, and Israeli occupation post-1967. The first Palestinian uprising in 1987 led to the formation of Hamas. The Oslo Accords in 1993 offered some autonomy but failed to achieve statehood. The second intifada in 2000 worsened conditions, leading to Israeli withdrawal in 2005. Hamas took control in 2006, resulting in international isolation. Repeated cycles of conflict have devastated Gaza’s economy, culminating in a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel in October 2023 (Reuters).
  8. Hamas Releases Israeli Woman and Children; Israeli Army Calls It a “Play”. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, announced the release of an Israeli woman and her two children, previously detained during clashes. Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adraee criticized the move as a propaganda stunt, labeling Hamas “worse than ISIS (Sky News). 
  9. Palestinian President Scheduled for Upcoming Moscow Visit. Kremlin foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov announced that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to visit Moscow in the near future. While a specific date has not been set, the visit is confirmed to take place “relatively soon,” according to Ushakov (Al Nahar). 
  10. World Leaders Omit Mention of Iran in Joint Statement Condemning Hamas. An initial draft of a joint statement from leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, and the US had explicitly warned Iran not to exploit the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. However, the final version omitted any reference to Iran. This comes during speculation about Iran’s role in supporting Hamas’s recent attacks on Israel. The U.S. has deployed aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean as a deterrent, while the world leaders’ statement strongly condemned Hamas’s acts of terrorism (Iran International). 

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

IRAN

  1. Iran Offers to Host OIC Meeting on Palestine Crisis. Iran has officially proposed to host an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to discuss the ongoing situation in Palestine. The offer was made through an official letter from Iran’s Permanent Mission in the OIC to the organization’s secretariat. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian expressed gratitude to OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha for constructive discussions on Palestinian developments. The letter emphasized Iran’s readiness to host the meeting and urged immediate consultations among OIC member states (Tehran Times). 
  2. Iranian Lawmakers Plan to Meet Palestinian Fighters After Ongoing Conflict. A delegation of Iranian lawmakers may soon visit Syria and Lebanon to meet with Palestinian fighters involved in the conflict with Israel. Vahid Jalalzadeh, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, announced the parliament’s full support for the Palestinian resistance. The commission has already met with representatives of Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Tehran to discuss the situation in Gaza (Tasnim Agency).

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Egypt Warned Israel of “Big” Gaza Situation, Reports Say. Multiple outlets, including the Associated Press and Al-Monitor, reported that Egyptian intelligence warned Israel of a looming “big” situation in Gaza. Israeli officials reportedly downplayed these warnings, focusing instead on the West Bank. Financial Times added that the warnings were general in nature. The Prime Minister’s Office has denied these reports, calling them “absolutely false (Jerusalem Post). 

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

TURKIYE

  1. Defense Minister Yaşar Güler Attends Key NATO Meeting in Brussels. Defense Minister Yaşar Güler participated in a significant NATO meeting in Brussels, focusing on urgent strategies and responses. The meeting included around 50 countries and featured a session on Ukraine’s defense needs. Güler met with key counterparts, including U.S. ‘s Lloyd J. Austin and Britain’s Grant Shapps (Hurriyet).
  2. Turkey Intensifies Operations Against PKK in Syria, Iraq. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey had “successfully completed the first phase” of its bombing campaign, destroying 192 targets and killing 162 PKK and YPG fighters (Al Hadath). 

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

SYRIA

  1. Saudi and Assad’s Foreign Ministers Discuss Gaza Developments in Cairo Meeting. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with Faisal Al-Miqdad in Cairo to discuss various issues, including the ongoing military operations in the Gaza Strip. The meeting took place on the sidelines of an extraordinary session of the Arab League Council (Sharq Awsat). 
  2. Iran Exploits Israel’s “Al-Aqsa Flood” to Bolster Syria Presence. Iran is capitalizing on Israel’s focus on Operation “Al-Aqsa Flood” to enhance its foothold in Syria. Tehran has been supplying its militias with weapons, ammunition, and personnel of Afghan and Iraqi nationalities. The move comes especially after the withdrawal of Wagner mercenaries from certain areas. Iran aims to fortify its positions in Syria, using the situation as an opportunity to smuggle in air defense systems and radar equipment. The Iranian militias are particularly interested in Deir ez-Zor, a strategic location for extending their influence (Orient).

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

IRAQ

  1. Ali al-Sistani and Iraqi Leaders Call for Global Action Against Israeli Actions in Gaza. Leading religious authority in Iraq, Ali al-Sistani, along with Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani and other Iraqi officials, have called for international intervention against Israel’s actions in Gaza. Al-Sistani emphasized the need for the world to prevent ongoing brutality, while Al-Sudani warned of a dangerous escalation if bombings continue. The statements come after widespread support in Iraq for the Palestinian cause.
  2. Iraqi Prime Minister Urges Russian Intervention in Israel-Gaza Conflict. In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani called for Russia to use its UN Security Council position to halt Israeli strikes in Palestine. Putin criticized U.S. policy in the Middle East and emphasized the need for an independent Palestinian state. The meeting also covered bilateral relations, including energy cooperation (Elaph). 
  3. Iraqi PM Announces Resumption of Oil Exports via Turkish Port at Russian Energy Forum. Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani stated at the Russian Energy Week Forum that Iraq is set to resume oil exports through Turkey’s Ceyhan port. The move comes after a halt in exports due to an International Arbitration Court decision and a recent earthquake in Turkey. Al-Sudani indicated that an agreement is near, aligning with Iraq’s OPEC+ commitments (Kurdistan 24). 

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

THE GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Saudi Crown Prince Engages in Diplomatic Talks with Iranian and French Presidents on Gaza Crisis.  Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held phone discussions with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and French President Emmanuel Macron about the escalating tensions in Gaza. The Crown Prince emphasized Saudi Arabia’s efforts to engage with international and regional parties to halt the escalation, condemned the targeting of civilians, and expressed concern for the humanitarian situation. He also discussed lifting the siege on Gaza and restoring stability (Sharq Awsat, Akhabriya). 

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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Oct 12 – 2023

LEBANON

  1. Israel-Lebanon Situation Report: View from the Lebanese Border. Reporters on the Lebanese side of the Israel-Lebanon border describe a tense and confusing atmosphere in the Galilee region. Initial reports of drones or gliders breaching Israeli airspace led to heightened security alerts, but these claims remain unverified. Sirens were sounded in various locations, including areas far from the border. Official sources confirmed a shell landing in Metulla near the Lebanese border and clarified that sirens in Haifa were unrelated, originating from an event in Gaza. The Israeli security system appears to be in a state of disarray, with conflicting reports and no clear official statements (Watch ACLS’s English Subtitled Video of Al Jazeera).
  2. Hizballah to U.S. Carrier: “You Don’t Scare Us!. Hezbollah announced that the U.S. sending an aircraft carrier to the region won’t intimidate them or other resistance groups. The group criticized the U.S. for its open support of “Zionist aggression” and called on the international community to condemn American intervention. They stated that the move reveals the weakness of the “Zionist military machine” and emphasized that resistance factions are ready for confrontation (Al Nahar). 

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