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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Sept 06, 2023

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TOP HEADLINES:

TURKIYE

  1. Erdogan: Russia Sets Terms for Grain Deal Resumption (Press Bee). Turkish President Erdogan says Russia will only resume its suspended grain trade agreement if its agricultural bank gains SWIFT access and its ships are insured. The remarks followed a meeting with Russian President Putin in Sochi.
  2. Turkiye and Greece Start New Era in Diplomacy, Say Foreign Ministers (Daily Sabah). Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan announced a “new and positive era” in relations with Greece during a joint press conference with Greek counterpart Giorgos Gerapetritis. The statement comes amid ongoing disputes between the two nations over the Aegean Sea and Mediterranean.
  3. EU Pledges €781M for Turkish Refugees; Varhelyi to Sign Deal (Daily Sabah). EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi will sign a €781 million aid package for refugees in Turkiye during his visit to Ankara. Discussions will focus on EU-Turkiye bilateral relations and include meetings with key Turkish ministers.
  4. Turkiye and Japan Ink Trade and Investment Pact (TRT World). Turkiye and Japan have signed a cooperation agreement to boost trade and investment. Trade ministers Omer Polat and Yasutoshi Nishimura announced plans for a forthcoming summit in Tokyo and aim to elevate economic relations to a strategic partnership level.

ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Netanyahu Refutes Resignation Rumors Tied to Israel-Saudi Deal (Jerusalem Post). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denies reports suggesting he will resign in exchange for a U.S.-backed normalization deal with Saudi Arabia and a plea deal in his criminal trials. The reports claim his resignation would be due to his inability to govern under Israel’s current political conditions.
  2. Two Israelis Arrested for Smuggling Arms for Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Jerusalem Post). Two Israeli citizens from Tulkarm were arrested for smuggling firearms and explosives from Jordan for Palestinian Islamic Jihad, according to Israel’s Shin Bet. One of the arrested is known for connections to terrorist operatives.
  3. Bank of Israel Holds Rate at 4.75%, Signals Future Hikes (Central Banking). The Bank of Israel has maintained its interest rate at 4.75% for the second consecutive meeting, but hinted at possible future increases. The announcement comes amid rumors that Governor Amir Yaron will not seek reappointment, which the bank denies.
  4. UN Cautions Israel Against Mass Deporting Eritreans After Tel Aviv Riots (The National News). The UN has urged Israel to refrain from mass deportations of Eritreans following weekend riots in Tel Aviv. Over 200 people were injured in clashes between anti-government protesters and regime supporters. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had earlier vowed to take “harsh measures” including immediate deportations.
  5. Saudi Arabia Denies Visas to Israeli Ministers for UNESCO Conference (New Arab). Saudi Arabia has reportedly refused visas to Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Education Minister Yoav Kisch for a UNESCO conference in Riyadh. The denial comes despite ongoing U.S.-Israel efforts to normalize ties with Saudi Arabia. U.S. officials advised that inviting Israeli ministers at this stage would complicate matters for Saudi Arabia.

EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Swedish Oil Execs Face Trial for Alleged Sudan War Crimes (New Arab). Former CEO and chairman of Swedish oil firm Lundin Oil stand trial in Sweden, accused of aiding war crimes in Sudan between 1999 and 2003. Prosecutors allege the company requested Khartoum to forcefully secure an oilfield in what is now South Sudan.
  2. UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura Makes First Visit to Western Sahara (Al Hurra). UN envoy Staffan de Mistura arrives in Western Sahara’s city of El-Ayoun for his first visit since his appointment two years ago. The UN states that de Mistura will consult “all concerned parties” ahead of a report to the UN Security Council in October.
  3. Ex-Tunisian PM Hammadi Jebali Arrested Amid Uncertainty (Al Jazeera). Former Tunisian Prime Minister Hammadi al-Jabali was arrested and taken to the National Guard’s Aouina barracks in Tunis. The reasons for his arrest remain undisclosed. His wife, Wahida Trabelsi, states he is in poor health and recently had heart surgery.
  4. Egypt Resumes Commercial Flights to Sudan Post-Clashes (Al Ghad). Egypt has restarted direct commercial flights to Sudan for the first time since clashes erupted earlier this year. A weekly return flight by EgyptAir to the Sudanese city of Port Sudan has been announced.

GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Kuwaiti MP Links Iraq’s Sea Agreement Cancelation to Disputed Al-Dorra Field (964 Media). A Kuwaiti MP suggests Iraq’s withdrawal from the 2013 Khawr Abdullah maritime agreement may indicate plans to alter the maritime route to reach the disputed Al-Dorra gas field. Iraq’s Federal Court recently declared the agreement unconstitutional due to lack of a two-thirds majority.
  2. Saudi Arabia and Russia Extend Oil Production Cuts Through December 2023 (Al-Araby). Saudi Arabia will extend its voluntary oil production cut of one million barrels per day until December 2023, with monthly reviews. Russia will also continue its reduction of 300,000 barrels per day. Both moves aim to support OPEC+ efforts to stabilize oil markets.
  3. Yemen Confronts Unrest, Budget Crisis, and Rising Conflict Casualties (Al Arabiya). Yemen faces mounting issues as Houthi forces suppress protests over hazardous gas plants in Sana’a, the government reveals a 40-50% budget deficit due to Houthi attacks on oil ports, and casualties escalate with 15 more Houthi fighters killed in ongoing clashes.

IRAN

  1. Iran Arrests Uncle of Deceased Activist Mahsa Amini Before Anniversary (Times of Israel). Ahead of the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death, Iranian authorities arrested her uncle, Safa Aeli, in Saqez, western Iran. Rights groups report that security forces forcibly entered Aeli’s home without legal documentation and took him to an undisclosed location.
  2. Iranian Air Force to Manufacture Kaman-12 and Kaman-22 Drones (IRNA). Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF), Brigadier General Hamid Vahedi, announced plans to manufacture drones, including the Kaman-12 and Kaman-22 models. The move is part of IRIAF’s ongoing efforts to modernize and expand its operational capacities.
  3. Russia and Iran Negotiate New Treaty for Bilateral Cooperation (Iran International). Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko announced that Russia and Iran are in talks to formulate a new treaty aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation. The announcement underscores the positive momentum in Russia-Iran relations.

SYRIA

  1. No Progress in Ankara-Damascus Ties After Sochi; Erdogan Criticizes Assad (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The meeting between Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Putin ended without advancing normalization efforts between Turkiye and Syria. Erdogan blamed Syrian President Assad for the stalemate, urging him to act in line with ground realities and avoid hindering the normalization process.
  2. Russia Warns U.S. Actions in Syria Could Revive ISIS (Syria.TV). Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the U.S. of taking actions in Syria that could potentially revive ISIS. She noted that the Syrian regime is unable to exercise its authority over a significant portion of the country due to U.S. involvement.
  3. 135 Forcibly Disappeared by Assad’s Forces in August, Says Human Rights Report (Orient). The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that 135 people were forcibly disappeared by Assad’s militia in August. The report also stated that 97 civilians were killed last month, including 22 children and 3 women. The Assad regime was responsible for 17 of these deaths, while the SDF militia and other factions accounted for the rest.

IRAQ

  1. Kurdistan Government Urges Baghdad to Prevent Further Kirkuk Unrest (Flipboard). The spokesman for the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, Peshwa Hauramani, that “the Iraqi government must take measures to prevent the recurrence of the recent events.” victim of political strife.
  2. Iraqi Court Declares Khor Abdullah Agreement with Kuwait Unconstitutional (Al-Jazeera). Following violent demonstrations in Kirkuk, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s spokesman, Peshwa Hauramani, has called on the Iraqi government to take measures to prevent further unrest in the city.

LEBANON

  1. Lebanon Fears “Disguised Occupation” Amid New Wave of Syrian Displacement (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Lebanon is grappling with renewed concerns over the Syrian displacement crisis as a new wave of refugees looms. Former President Michel Suleiman warns of a “disguised occupation” and calls for stricter penalties against those aiding illegal entry and employment. A ministerial committee is being formed to address the return of the displaced to Syria.

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