ACLS

THE EARLY PHOENIX – Sept 14, 2023

Table of Contents

TOP HEADLINES:

  • Israeli Airstrike on Syrian Port in Tartus
  • UN Allocates $10 Million for Flood-Hit Libya
  • Kuwait Lacks Effective Drone Defense System
  • Iran’s Draconian Hijab Law Threatens 10-Year Prison Terms
  • Iranian Revolutionary Guard Delivers Arms and Drugs to Homs Countryside
  • A Palestinian Agreement to Establish A Ceasefire in Ain Al-Hilweh Camp 

ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Israeli Airstrike on Syrian Port in Tartus (Jerusalem Post). Israeli Air Force reportedly launched an airstrike on Tartus port in western Syria, as per Syrian media. Syrian air defenses were activated, intercepting most of the missiles. Specific target locations were undisclosed. Syrian casualties: two soldiers killed, six wounded, per Reuters citing Syrian state media.
  2. Iran Warns Israel Amid Mossad Threat (Al Monitor).  Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Nasser Kanani, responded to Mossad’s warning, stating that Iran won’t hesitate to retaliate against Israel’s actions. The tension between the two nations escalates as Mossad’s director, David Barnea, accuses Iran of a global “terror” campaign against Israelis and Jewish targets, cautioning that any harm to Israeli citizens could lead to strikes against Tehran’s leadership.
  3. Azerbaijan Conducts Missile Test Amid Rising Nagorno-Karabakh Tensions (Haaretz). Azerbaijan’s armed forces recently conducted extensive air defense exercises, featuring the Israeli-made Barak-8 ER air defense system, which successfully intercepted a simulated ballistic missile. Israel’s longstanding strategic alliance with Azerbaijan includes the sale of substantial weaponry, while Azerbaijan reportedly provides Israel with oil and access to Iran. This development coincides with heightened tensions in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

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EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. UN Envoy to Sudan Resigns Amid Khartoum Pressure (Al Arabiya). The UN UN envoy to Sudan, Volker Peretz, resigns months after being labeled undesirable by Khartoum authorities. Peretz cites the ongoing conflict between the Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces, warning of a potential escalation into war.
  2. UN Allocates $10 Million for Flood-Hit Libya (Libyaa Khbar,Yemen). The United Nations will provide $10 million in urgent aid to help flood-affected Libyans in the wake of Storm Daniel. Thousands lost their lives, and widespread destruction occurred. UN’s Martin Griffiths expresses solidarity. Additionally, over 5,300 fatalities are reported in Derna, and over 20,000 are displaced due to catastrophic floods. Reconstruction is estimated to cost billions of dollars.

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GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Yemen’s Al-Islah Party Leader Warns of Fragile Peace with Houthis (Middle East Monitor). Muhammad Al-Yadoumi, Yemen’s Al-Islah Party leader, warns against fragile peace with the Houthis, urges ending political stagnation in government-controlled areas. Emphasizes Yemen’s ties to Gulf neighbors, underscores the need for strong relations with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council for stability. Reaffirms Al-Islah’s commitment to Yemen’s republic and national principles.
  2. Kuwait Lacks Effective Drone Defense System (Al-Khaleej Online). Kuwait’s Defense Minister, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, revealed that the country’s air defense system lacks efficient protection against “1-2” category drones, known as “Soft Kill.” He explained that attempts to test three different systems in Kuwait failed, with no participation from other companies.
  3. Gulf States Caution Against External Interference in Sudan (The Nation Press).The Gulf Cooperation Council countries have urged Sudanese parties to prioritize dialogue, unite, and avoid external interference that could worsen the crisis and threaten regional peace and security.
  4. Houthis Increase Sectarian Programs in Yemeni Schools (Al-Awsat). Houthi militias in Yemen are promoting sectarianism in schools and fundraising for their activities, using students to support their rule under the pretext of celebrating the Prophet’s Birthday.

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IRAN

  1. Global Call for Iran to Address Nuclear Program Questions (VOA). Over 60 countries have called on Iran to provide immediate answers regarding its nuclear program, including the whereabouts of materials from undisclosed facilities. The joint statement was delivered during an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna. The nations also seek clarification on Iran’s uranium stockpile and have criticized Tehran for denying entry visas to specific IAEA inspectors.
  2. Iran Regains Third Place in OPEC Oil Production (Bne Intellinews). Iran is now the third-largest crude oil producer in OPEC, producing 3 million barrels per day in August. This increase was the highest among OPEC members, with a rise of 143,000 barrels per day compared to July. Saudi Arabia’s voluntary production cut and Russia’s extended cut contributed to Iran’s rise. The relaxation of US sanctions also facilitated Iran’s production boost. Nigeria and Iraq also increased their oil production.
  3. Iranian Dissident Calls on the West not to Appease The Regime (Iran International). Iranian dissident Hamed Esmaeilion calls on the West not to appease the regime and support the anti-regime movement. He accuses the regime of hostage-taking and aligning with China and Russia to pressure the West. Esmaeilion, who lost his wife and daughter in the 2020 flight downing by the IRGC, pledges solidarity with Iranians and their pursuit of freedom and justice.
  4. Iran’s Draconian Hijab Law Threatens 10-Year Prison Terms (The Guardian). Iran is considering harsher laws that could imprison women for up to a decade for not wearing the hijab. UN experts label this stricter dress code as “gender apartheid.” The proposal follows the death of Mahsa Amini, detained for incorrect hijab usage, leading to widespread protests. Iranian human rights lawyer Hossein Raeesi criticizes the draft law for equating hijab violations with serious crimes like murder and drug trafficking.
  5. US House Passes New Sanctions Bill Targeting Iran(Time Turk). The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill, “Mahsa Amini for Human Rights and Security Accountability,” aimed at imposing stricter sanctions on senior Iranian officials. The bill received 410 votes in favor and 3 against. It requires Senate approval and President Joe Biden’s signature to become law. Representative Michael McCaul stated it aims to hold Iran accountable for human rights violations.

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TURKIYE

  1. Turkey Announces New Corridor, Iran Boosts Border Presence (Al Jazeera).  Turkey plans to create a corridor linking it with Azerbaijan via Armenia, while Iran strengthens its military presence on the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region’s border. Turkish Minister Abdulkadir Oraloglu announced the Zangzur Corridor project, highlighting Azerbaijani and Armenian involvement during a Transport and Logistics Forum.
  2. Sudan’s Al-Burhan Meets Erdogan in Turkey (Sky News Arabia). Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, President of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, embarks on an official visit to Ankara, Turkey, continuing his regional engagements. He will discuss bilateral relations, cooperation, and shared interests with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the visit.
  3. UN and Turkish Cypriots Progress on Pyla Road Dispute (Al Monitor). UN talks with Turkish Cypriots regarding the disputed Pyla Road project have shown promise, although unresolved issues persist. Negotiations aim to connect the Turkish Cypriot village of Arsos to the multi-ethnic village of Pella, within the UN-controlled buffer zone, with concerns surrounding road control and checkpoints in the buffer zone.

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SYRIA

  1. International Coalition Sends Convoy to Northeastern Syria (Syria HR). A convoy of 35 vehicles from the International Coalition entered Syria’s Al-Hasakah Governorate from the Kurdistan region of Iraq. It carried fuel tanks, closed boxes, weapons, military equipment, and logistical supplies, heading to coalition bases in the Hasakah countryside. This marks the fourth convoy in September.
  2. Hezbollah and Iranian Militia Conduct Desert Military Drills (Syria HR). Lebanese Hezbollah, along with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard militia, held joint military exercises in the Al-Bukamal desert in Deir ez-Zor, Syria. The maneuvers involved live ammunition and heavy weaponry to enhance readiness of forces in the region, amid increased military activities by these groups in Syrian territory.
  3. Syrian Army Targets Turkish Military Point in Idlib (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The Syrian Army escalated its attacks in Idlib, targeting a Turkish military point within the de-escalation zone. Concurrently, clashes persisted in the Manbij area between Turkish-backed Syrian National Army factions and the Manbij Military Council affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
  4. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Delivers Arms and Drugs to Homs Countryside (Zaman alwsl). The Iranian Revolutionary Guard reportedly transported a truck filled with weapons and narcotics to a camp near Mahin town in Homs’ eastern countryside.
  5. The United Nations obtains a “mandate” to Resume aid Through “Bab al-Hawa.” (Enab Baladi). The United Nations agreed with the Humanitarian Action Coordination Office (HAC) in Idlib on a formula in which the latter granted a “mandate” to UN organizations to resume the entry of humanitarian aid through the “Bab al-Hawa” border crossing in northwestern Syria.
  6. Syria Blames Turkey and US for Refugee Return Delays (Enab Baladi). Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Miqdad holds Turkey and the United States responsible for hindering the return of Syrian refugees. He cites continued Turkish and American occupation in parts of Syria as the main obstacle. Discussions with the Lebanese counterpart aim to address the issue.

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IRAQ

  1. Kurdish Delegation Heads to Baghdad Amid Disputes (Al Awsat). A high-level Kurdish delegation led by Prime Minister Masrour Barzani is set to hold discussions with Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani concerning political and financial disputes. The visit follows recent tensions, particularly over Kirkuk, budget, and funds allocated to the Kurdistan Regional Government.
  2. US Warns Iraq Over Militias Near Syria Border (NPA Syria). US Assistant Secretary of Defense, Celeste Wallander, urged Iraq to remove its Popular Mobilization Forces from a 150 km zone near the Iraq-Syria border and warned against any harassment or attacks by Iran-affiliated militias on American forces or allies in the region.

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LEBANON

  1. UK and Lebanon Conduct Extensive Joint Military Exercise (The New Arab). The UK and Lebanon launch Exercise Pegasus-Cedar, their largest-ever joint military drill. British and Lebanese forces will train in various tactical skills, including weapons handling, reconnaissance, close-quarters combat, and air support operations, over a 10-day period.
  2. UNIFIL Reports Progress in Easing Lebanese-Israeli Tensions (Al Awsat). The United Nations Interim Peacekeeping Force in South Lebanon (UNIFIL) has announced advancements in reducing border tensions between Lebanon and Israel. The development follows a tripartite meeting with representatives from both armies, facilitated by UNIFIL. Specific details of the discussions remain confidential.
  3. A Palestinian Agreement to Establish A Ceasefire in Ain Al-Hilweh Camp (Al Jazeera). Fatah and Hamas leaders reached a ceasefire deal for Ain al-Hilweh camp in southern Lebanon. The agreement follows clashes between Fatah members and the “Muslim Youth” group, resulting in casualties and displacements.

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For Inquiries please contact: rkisar@americancenter.org

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