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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Sept 09-11, 2023

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Currencies: 

1 U.S Dollar
Syria  13,700 SYP
Iran  49,800 IRR
Iraq  1,308  IQD
Egypt  30 EGP
Lebanon  27 TL
ISRAEL 3,8 ILS

SYRIA

  1. Milley-Gurak Talk Focuses on Syria, Ukraine Alternatives (Syria TV). In a landmark call, U.S. Joint Chiefs’ Mark Milley and Turkey’s Metin Gurak discussed Syria, NATO, and Eastern Europe security. The conversation aims to mend bilateral ties and consider alternatives in Ukraine and Syria.
  2. Arab League Waives Syria’s Fees Since 2011 (Enab Baladi). Amid financial challenges, the Arab League exempts Syria from dues dating back to its 2011 suspension, as Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit urges prompt member payments.
  3. Border Incidents: Two Wounded, 65 Deported from Syria to Turkey (North Press).In northern Idlib, Turkish gendarmerie wounded two attempting to cross from Syria to Turkey, detaining them. Additionally, 65 individuals, including 15 women, were deported from Turkey to northern Syria via Tel Abyad border crossing. Deportations have increased, especially near Turkey-controlled northern al-Hasakah.
  4. Iranian Fighters Deployed to Quell Ongoing Protests in Southern Syria (Orient, Al Jazeera). Recent reports reveal that Iran has dispatched more than 60 fighters from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to Daraa province in southern Syria. These fighters are allegedly being used by the Syrian regime to suppress persistent protests demanding political change and the departure of Bashar al-Assad. The deployment of Iranian fighters has raised concerns about the intensification of the crackdown on demonstrators in the region.
  5. Hidden Cameras Expose ISIS Torture Atrocities in Aleppo Hospital (Al Hadath). Hidden cameras have exposed atrocities committed by ISIS in a children’s hospital in Aleppo, Syria, dating back to March 2013. The footage shows ISIS militants torturing detainees, transporting them blindfolded, and beating them with sticks. The videos are considered crucial evidence for investigations and criminal prosecutions of extremist groups, aiding in verifying survivors’ accounts. The International Justice and Accountability Committee is conducting investigations into crimes committed by such groups.
  6. Assad to U.N.: “Uncle Sam Owes Me $115.2B!” (SANA, Enab Baladi). Assad, in a bizarre twist, sends the U.N. a $115.2 billion bill for America’s “oil heist” and land antics. Meanwhile, Russia’s Admiral Vadim Collet claims U.S.-led aircraft turned Syrian skies into “Russian Roulette,” with 23 hair-raising situations and 11 protocol violations in a day.

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IRAQ

  1. Orange Juice Mishap Leaves Iranians Seeing Stars in Iraq! (Al Hurra). Sixteen Iranian pilgrims, visiting Iraq for Arbaeen in Karbala, suffered food poisoning in Babil province from “expired” orange juice. They received treatment in Dhi Qar province. Karbala hosts millions of Shia pilgrims annually for Imam Hussein’s mourning. Iraq’s Ministry of Interior reported 2.6 million visitors for Arbaeen.

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ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Palestinians Attempt Seventh Rocket Launch towards Israel in Months (Times Of Israel,  Al Sharq Al Awsat). The “Ayyash Brigade” made its seventh missile attempt at the Ram On settlement in the West Bank, with Israeli forces confirming a “failed attempt.” While these attempts haven’t posed a real threat, Israel’s security concerns are growing ahead of Jewish holidays, preparing for potential escalations and multi-front confrontations. Palestinian prisoners planning a hunger strike add to rising tensions.
  2. Mossad Chief Warns Iran of Strike in Tehran’s Heart (Al Sharq Al Awsat, Al Jazeera ). David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, has issued a stark warning to Iran. He stated that any attacks on Israelis or Jews would lead to operations “in the heart of Tehran.” Israel has thwarted 27 Iranian-led plots against Israelis worldwide in the past year. Barnea emphasized the need for a “united front” against Iran, commended the U.S. for Gulf navigation efforts, and pointed out that Iran’s growing confidence, partly due to Russian arms deals, has fueled its global terrorism sponsorship.
  3. Mossad’s Book on Ashraf Marwan Ahead of October War Anniversary (Al Hadath). Mossad’s book, “One Day, When Talking Is Permissible,” exposes Ashraf Marwan’s role in providing vital information to Israel ahead of the 1973 October War. The book challenges Egypt’s perception of him as a hero and double agent, revealing his collaboration with Mossad from 1970. This release precedes the war’s 50th anniversary by a month.

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EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Derna Floods in Libya Claim 2,000 Lives, Thousands Missing (Al Hadath). The Libyan Interior Minister Issam Abu Zariba confirmed over 2,000 deaths and thousands missing due to catastrophic flooding in Derna, prompting urgent calls for international assistance. Hurricane Daniel wreaked havoc in eastern Libya, overwhelming Derna’s dams and resulting in a disaster declaration for the city of 100,000 residents. Amidst the turmoil, the National Unity Government initiated relief funds, and local authorities imposed curfews and school closures. The disaster has intensified existing challenges for Libya’s competing governments.
  2. Egypt-U.S. Joint Training: Aerial Combat & Explosive Devices Handling (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Egypt and the United States are conducting military training involving 34 countries at the Mohamed Naguib Military Base. The training covers aerial combat, explosive device handling, live ammunition exercises, special forces training, and chemical warfare discussions. Over 8,000 fighters from 19 countries participate, with 15 countries observing, alongside civilian police and legal experts from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  3. Egypt Criticizes Ethiopia’s Unilateral Fourth Filling of Renaissance Dam, Citing Violation of Agreements (Al Hurra). Egypt condemns Ethiopia’s unilateral fourth filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, deeming it a violation of the 2015 principles agreement. Egypt emphasizes the necessity of a binding legal pact, safeguarding downstream water security rights under international law. Egypt relies heavily on the Nile for its water needs and is concerned about the dam’s impact.
  4. Gulf Markets Surge on Oil Prices, Egypt’s Bourse Hits Record High(SNA Business). Most Gulf stock markets rose with soaring oil prices driven by US diesel futures and supply concerns following Saudi Arabia and Russia’s production cut extension. Qatar’s index gained 1.1%, led by Industries Qatar’s 3.5% rise. Egypt’s stock index reached a record high, up 1% due to a 4.7% surge in Eastern Tobacco Company shares. Egypt’s Central Bank reported increased foreign reserves in August.
  5. Escalating Sudan Conflict Claims Dozens of Lives, Sparks Humanitarian Crisis (Al Sharq al Awsat). In Khartoum’s Mayo neighborhood, an airstrike, reportedly by the Sudanese army, initially claimed 30 lives, later rising to 43 according to local Resistance Committees (Al Jazeera). The conflict also reached El Fasher, North Darfur, with 30 Rapid Support Forces members reported dead by the Sudanese army (TRT Arab). The crisis, resulting in about 7,500 deaths, mainly civilians, and displacing over 5 million people, has accusations from both sides.

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TURKIYE

  1. Turkic States, Erdogan, and Iran: A Trifecta of Stances on Karabakh and Regional Tensions (TRT Arab, i24). Secretary-General Aliyev and Erdogan call for Azerbaijan-Armenia dialogue over Karabakh, while Erdogan questions Black Sea grain exports without Russia. Iran escalates its South Caucasus involvement, aiding Armenia and unveiling hypersonic missiles, raising stakes for regional actors including Russia.

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GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Israel’s Historic Visit to Saudi Arabia: UNESCO Meeting and Normalization Talks (Al Hurra). An Israeli delegation’s unprecedented visit to Saudi Arabia is for a UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting, showcasing Israel’s heritage sites despite UNESCO withdrawal. Progress in normalization talks with Saudi Arabia, encouraged by the U.S., faces challenges from regional dynamics and the Palestinian issue. High-level discussions have taken place, with work remaining.
  2. Saudi Arabia Seizes Over 780 Individuals, Mostly Yemeni Nationals (Al-Mashhad Al-Yemeni). Saudi authorities have detained 785 individuals attempting to cross the kingdom’s borders in one week, with 62% being Yemenis, 27% Ethiopians, and 11% from other nationalities. Additionally, 18 individuals were caught trying to exit the kingdom illegally. A total of 16,250 violators were captured during security campaigns, including 9,343 for residency violations, 4,555 for border security violations, and 2,352 for labor law breaches.

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IRAN

  1. Iran and Russia Collaborate on Research Spacecraft (Tasnim News). Prominent universities in Iran and Russia have teamed up for a two-year project to build a research spacecraft. The University of Tehran and Moscow State University are already working on the initiative, with support from Iran’s vice president and a dedicated secretariat. The collaboration reflects the strengthening ties between the two nations across various sectors, including space exploration, as highlighted by Iran’s previous satellite launch with Russian assistance.
  2. Iran Heightens Security Ahead of Anniversary Protests  (Iran International). Iran bolsters security measures for Mahsa Amini’s death anniversary, deploying checkpoints, more personnel, and dress code warnings. Despite intimidation, activists urge mass demonstrations. Last year’s crackdown caused 500+ civilian deaths, but calls for protests persist. Exiled figures like Reza Pahlavi and Queen Farah Pahlavi call for unity against regime repression. “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement gains momentum, addressing poverty and discrimination before the anniversary.
  3. Iranian Embassy in Paris Reports Attack, Says Situation Under Control (Anadolu Agency). The Iranian Embassy in Paris confirmed that the situation is “under control” following reports of an attack on the diplomatic compound. The attack, attributed to anti-revolutionary elements, caused damage to the embassy’s backdoor but did not disrupt consulate activities. While no group claimed responsibility, some Iranian media outlets suggested the involvement of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MKO), an anti-Iran opposition group. 
  4. Dangerous Fugitive Prisoner Accused of Terrorism Escapes British Prison in Daring Cook Disguise (Al Hadath). Daniel Abed Khalifa, a fugitive prisoner accused of spying for Iran and terrorism-related charges, managed to escape from a British prison using a clever disguise. The 21-year-old former soldier in the British Army disguised himself as a cook and clung to the bottom of a food delivery truck, escaping from Jonesworth prison in South London. After the truck left the prison walls, Khalifa separated from it and disappeared into the city. Security forces are on high alert, searching for the fugitive.

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LEBANON

  1. Ain al-Hilweh Camp Violence Kills 14 Amid Presidential Uncertainty (Al Sharq Al Awsat, Al Nahar). Ain al-Hilweh camp witnesses intensified clashes, leaving 14 dead. Ceasefire efforts falter, and sporadic gunfire continues. Lebanese army personnel are injured. Meanwhile, Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement engage in talks, aiming to back Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency and delay decisions until General Joseph Aoun’s retirement. French envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian returns to facilitate the election process in Lebanon.

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