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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Sept 15, 2023

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TOP HEADLINES:

  • Israel and US Eager for Diplomatic Relations with Saudi Arabia
  • US Withholds $85 Million Egypt Aid Over Political Arrests, Considers Taiwan and Lebanon
  • The UAE Thwarts 13 Tons of Captagon Smuggling
  • Iran Warns Israel: Threats Will Shorten Your Life
  • Israel Conducts 28 Strikes on Syria in 2023, Targeting Iranian Influence

ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Israel and Greece Conduct Successful Joint Air Force Exercise (The Jerusalem Post). Israeli and Greek fighter pilots carried out a joint drill involving long-range flights, successfully hitting all targets despite challenging weather conditions.
  2. Israel and US Eager for Diplomatic Relations with Saudi Arabia (The National News). Israel’s ambassador to the US, Michael Herzog, sees a current opportunity to establish diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, and both the US and Israeli governments are interested, with signs of Saudi receptivity.
  3. Israel Finds 16 Tons of Missile Material from Turkiye to Gaza (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Israeli Customs found 16 tons of missile-making materials in a shipment from Turkiye to Gaza, initially labeled as gypsum bags. Hamas denies the claim, calling it fabricated.
  4. Israeli Elbit Systems Unveils Automatic Mortar System in London (Jerusalem Post). Elbit Systems showcased its Crossbow Next Generation Turreted Mortar System at a London conference. This automatic mortar system, developed under an IDF contract, can fire ten rounds per minute and is compatible with NATO ammunition requirements. It can be integrated into various platforms, including wheeled vehicles and stationary setups.

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EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Morocco Earthquake: 2,946 Dead, Relief Efforts Continue (Al Jazeera). The central Morocco earthquake has claimed 2,946 lives, with 5,674 injured. Relief efforts, led by the Moroccan army with support from international teams, continue for the sixth day, but challenging terrain and damaged roads complicate the mission.
  2. US Withholds $85 Million Egypt Aid Over Political Arrests, Considers Taiwan and Lebanon (Arabic Post). The United States has decided to withhold $85 million in military aid to Egypt due to insufficient political prisoner releases. There are plans to redirect this aid from Egypt to Taiwan and Lebanon. A decision on an additional $235 million is pending. The US State Department and the Egyptian Embassy have yet to respond to requests for comment.
  3. UN Appeals for $71.4 Million in Aid for Libyan Flood Survivors (24 News). The United Nations has appealed for $71.4 million in aid to assist approximately 250,000 flood-affected people in Libya over the next three months. The UN warns that the death toll may increase without additional assistance, emphasizing the urgent need for support.
  4. Tunisia Blocks European Parliament Delegation Entry (France 24). Tunisia has refused entry to a European Parliament delegation tasked with evaluating the political situation and the impact of an EU-Tunisia agreement on reducing migrant flows.

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GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. The UAE Thwarts 13 Tons of Captagon Smuggling (24 Ae). UAE’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, revealed the successful interception of over 13 tons of Captagon tablets, valued at over 3 billion dirhams. A gang of six members was apprehended while attempting to smuggle the narcotics hidden indoors and decorative panels.
  2. US Imposes Sanctions on 150 Entities in Russia, Turkiye, UAE, and Georgia (Al-Hurra). The United States has announced sanctions on over 150 individuals and entities in Russia, Turkiye, the UAE, and Georgia, citing their involvement in activities related to the conflict in Ukraine. The sanctions target companies aiding Moscow in acquiring American and European electronic products.
  3. Bahraini Crown Prince Meets US National Security Advisor (Al Khaleej Online). Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, held discussions with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at the White House. They discussed the development of Bahraini-American relations, technology cooperation, and carbon capture initiatives aligned with common goals between the two countries.
  4. Houthi Officials Seek Ceasefire in Saudi Arabia with Omani Mediation (Al Hurra). Houthi envoys and Omani mediators have traveled to Saudi Arabia to negotiate a permanent ceasefire in Yemen. The discussions aim to end the ongoing conflict in the region.
  5. Yemeni Government Urges Houthis Toward Peace Talks(Al Mawqea Post). Yemen’s government calls for peace negotiations with the Houthi group amid growing diplomatic efforts to end the coup and alleviate human suffering.

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IRAN

  1. IRGC Seizes Two Fuel Tankers in Persian Gulf (The Jerusalem Post). Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) captured two Panama-flagged fuel tankers in the northern Persian Gulf, detaining 37 crew members from different nations. The IRGC asserted that the tankers were engaged in fuel smuggling.
  2. Iran Warns UAE Over Island Claims, Citing Regional Security Concerns (Al Jazeera). Iran’s Ali Akbar Velayati, an advisor to the Supreme Leader, cautions against UAE’s claims on three islands, warning of potential regional security instability. Iran vows not to allow these claims to materialize.
  3. Qatar to Receive Iranian Funds Next Week (Mideast News). Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister confirmed the upcoming transfer of Iranian funds to Qatari banks during a phone call, discussing mutual concerns with Iran’s Foreign Minister.
  4. Iran Ready for Prisoner Exchange Agreement with the US (Al Nahar). Iran is prepared to implement a Qatar-brokered agreement with the US involving exchanging prisoners and releasing Iranian assets held in South Korea.
  5. US, UK, Germany, and France Call on Iran to Address Nuclear Material Concerns (The National News). The US, UK, Germany, and France have urged Iran to promptly address outstanding nuclear material issues and fully comply with resolutions and agreements made in 2022 and March.
  6. Iran Warns Israel: Threats Will Shorten Your Life (Times Of Israel). Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Chief warns Israel that its threats will have consequences, citing Israel’s decline and accusations of empty rhetoric.

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TURKIYE

  1. US to Sanction 5 Turkish Companies for Aiding Russia in Evading Sanctions (24). The US plans to impose sanctions on five Turkish companies and one individual for assisting Russia in evading sanctions and supporting Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. These sanctions are part of a larger package targeting over 150 entities related to Russia to hinder Kremlin access to technology and funding for the Ukraine conflict.
  2. Turkiye Discusses the Development Road Project with Iraq, UAE, and Qatar (El Nashra). Turkiye’s Foreign Ministry is in talks with Iraq, the UAE, and Qatar about the strategic Turkish-Iraqi Development Road Project. The project aims to create a trade route connecting Basra, northern Iraq, and Turkiye, linking Asia and Europe. These discussions come amid changing geopolitical dynamics and global competition.
  3. Russia, Turkiye, and Qatar Cooperate to Supply Grains to Africa (TRT World). Russia is collaborating with Turkiye and Qatar to deliver one million tons of grain to needy African nations as an independent project separate from the expired Black Sea grain agreement.

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SYRIA

  1. UN Report: Syrian Refugee Return Unlikely Due to Conflict and Economic Crisis (Zaman Al Wasl). UN Syria Report Urges Urgent Action Due to Escalating Conflict and Economic Collapse Despite Diplomatic Efforts and Human Rights Violations.
  2. US Official Displeased with Russia’s Provocative Actions in Syria (Syria TV).  During an interview with Al Jazeera, Dana Stroul, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, expressed discontent over Russia’s provocative operations in Syria. She criticized Russian fighter interference with American drone missions against ISIS, deeming them unprofessional and unsafe.
  3.  Israeli Defense Minister Celebrates Rosh Hashanah, Touts Recent Syria Attacks (Syria TV). Israeli Defense Minister Avi Galant celebrated Rosh Hashanah and proudly acknowledged recent attacks on Syria in an interview with Syria TV. Galant emphasized the importance of actions over words, highlighting the significance of the current military operations.
  4. Israel Conducts 28 Strikes on Syria in 2023, Targeting Iranian Influence (Syria HR). Israel launched 28 attacks on Syrian territory in 2023, resulting in casualties and damage, as part of its ongoing campaign to counter Iranian presence and influence in Syria. The Syrian regime has mostly responded through media condemnations rather than military actions.
  5. Russian Pressure Leads Syrian Regime to Weaken Militia in Hassakeh (Syria Observer). Under Russian pressure, the Syrian regime isolates the National Defense militia commander and takes control of their headquarters in Hassakeh, aiming to prevent SDF exploitation of tensions, per Syria TV.
  6. Protesters Shut Down Baath Party Facilities in Suwayda (Enab Baladi). Protesters in Suwayda have taken action by closing down Baath Party centers in various villages and towns. This move comes after demonstrators were fired upon by a security group stationed at the party building in Suwayda city on Wednesday.
  7. Iran Building Militia Army in Syria, Alarming Israel (Halab Today TV). Iran is establishing a militia army in Syria, raising concerns in Israel about a potential “Hezbollah” presence in the Golan Heights and surrounding areas. Iran is also using Syrian research centers for advanced weapon development, as the Israeli “Alma” Research Center reported on September 3rd.

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IRAQ

  1. US Warns Iraqi Banks to Address Dollar Misuse (Dare Lhilal). The US warns Iraq’s Central Bank to address dollar misuse or face new sanctions. Last July, 14 Iraqi banks were restricted from dollar transactions due to concerns of fraud, money laundering, and Iran’s sanctions evasion.
  2. Iranian Opposition Parties in Kurdistan Region Yet to be Disarmed, Says Kurdish Leader (Mawazin). Iranian opposition parties in the Kurdistan Region remain armed, according to Kurdish leader Ghiyath Al-Sourji. Efforts are ongoing to relocate them away from Iran’s borders, but disarmament has yet to occur.

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LEBANON

  1. US Ambassador Warns Lebanon of Political Stagnation Dangers (Al Sharq Al Awsat).US Ambassador Dorothy Shea warns that Lebanon’s ongoing political stalemate could lead to increased complications and dangers, stressing the need for swift action to elect a new president and address the country’s crises.
  2. Renewed Clashes in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh Camp (Al Mawq3). Fighting has resumed in the Ain al-Hilweh camp in southern Lebanon, with 15 dead and 150 injured since last Thursday. Violent confrontations involve the Fatah movement and armed groups using heavy weapons and rockets.

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For Inquiries, please contact: rkisar@americancenter.org

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