ACLS

THE EARLY PHOENIX – Sept 19, 2023

Table of Contents

TOP HEADLINES:

  • Ex-Defense Officials Warn: Netanyahu Weakens Israeli Military
  • EU Allocates €5.2M for Libya Flood Relief
  • US Sanctions Iranian Ex-President Ahmadinejad and Intelligence Ministry
  • Iranian Militia Recruits, Conceals Weapons in Assad-Held Civilian Areas
  • Baghdad Approves $1.6 Billion Loan to Kurdistan for Salaries

ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Former Defense Officials Alert US Senators: Netanyahu Undermining Israeli Military Strength (The Jerusalem Post). Former Israeli defense officials have warned members of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reform plan “harms Israel’s national strength by dismantling the IDF.” The warning came in a letter sent on Monday, as reported by N12. The same letter was also delivered to Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Yuli Edelstein.
  2. Gaza Closure Extended by Occupation Authorities: Global Calls to Hold Israel Accountable (Al Jazeera). Israeli authorities have extended the closure of the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the northern Gaza Strip by 24 hours, affecting the entry of Palestinian workers. The decision was made after a security assessment following demonstrations at various contact points in eastern Gaza, where six Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces. The crossing had been slated to reopen on Monday following the conclusion of Jewish holidays.
  3. Saudi-Sponsored EU Initiative Targets Israeli-Palestinian Peace Resolution (Times of Israel). Saudi Arabia, the EU, and the Arab League will unveil the “Peace Day Effort” at the UN General Assembly. The initiative aims to incentivize Israel and the Palestinian Authority to reach a peace agreement, offering a “Peace Supporting Package” upon signing an accord.

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EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Sudan’s Al Burhan Courts UN Recognition During General Assembly Visit as Internal Conflict Persists (The National News). Sudanese military leader Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is set to attend the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York this week. The trip is viewed as an effort to solidify his standing as Sudan’s legitimate leader, especially as his army faces ongoing conflict with the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces since April. According to informed Sudanese sources, Al-Burhan will travel to New York on Wednesday following his initial visit to Saudi Arabia, a key financial and political supporter of Sudan.
  2. Biden Expresses Solidarity with Morocco’s King Following Earthquake (Al Nahar). The White House has announced that U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Moroccan King Mohammed VI on Monday, offering condolences for the victims of this month’s devastating earthquake. The statement further noted that the leaders discussed Washington’s willingness to assist Morocco in its recovery efforts.
  3. EU Grants €5.2M for Libya Flood Relief Efforts (Youm 7). The European Union has announced an allocation of €5.2 million in emergency humanitarian funding to assist Libya in coping with the aftermath of recent floods that resulted in thousands of casualties. According to a press release by the European Commission, the funding will be channeled through the EU’s humanitarian partners active in Libya, focusing on areas such as shelter, health, food, water, sanitation, hygiene, and protection.
  4. Egyptian President Visits UAE for Bilateral Talks (Al Ghad). Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi traveled to the United Arab Emirates today, Monday, for a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. The leaders are expected to discuss strengthening bilateral relations and coordinating on various regional and international issues and crises of mutual interest.

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IRAN

  1. U.S. and Iran Execute Prisoner and Asset Exchange Deal (North Press). Iran announced the release of its $6 billion in frozen assets, transferred to Qatari banks, as part of a prisoner exchange agreement with the U.S. The funds, released by U.S. ally South Korea, are a main condition for the swap involving five prisoners from each side.
  2. U.S. Sanctions Iranian Former President Ahmadinejad and Ministry of Intelligence (The Jerusalem Post). The U.S. imposed new sanctions on former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, following the agreement to exchange detainees.
  3. UN Nuclear Chief Calls for Iran to Reconsider Denial of Inspector Access (Al Monitor). IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi urged Iran to reconsider its decision to deny access to top UN inspectors. The move was described by Iran as retaliation for “political abuses” by the U.S., France, Germany, and Britain. Grossi warned of severe consequences if Iran fails to cooperate with the IAEA.

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TURKIYE

  1. Erdogan: The European Union’s Position on Turkey’s Accession Will be a Decisive Factor in The Future of Our Relations (Daily Sabah). President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the European Union’s position on Turkey’s accession will be a decisive factor in the future of our relations.He added in a meeting with research centers in New York City that Turkey is an international player in the defense industries despite the restrictions, and our defense exports in the first half of 2023 amounted to 2 billion and 400 million dollars.
  2. EU Allocates 400 Million Euros in Aid to Turkey for Earthquake Relief (Anadolu Agency). The European Union Council has approved 400 million euros in aid to Turkey, specifically to deal with the aftermath of the double earthquake that struck the south of the country last February.
  3. Alibaba Invests $2 Billion in Turkey (Al Monitor). Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced a $2 billion investment in Turkey, signaling strong economic ties between the two countries. Alibaba has already invested $1.4 billion through its Turkish unit, Trendyol.

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SYRIA

  1. Arab Ministerial Meetings Stall Due to Assad Regime’s Silence (Jesr Press). Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that the Assad regime’s non-response to Arab countries on drug trafficking and a Syrian crisis solution led the Arab Ministerial Committee to freeze meetings. The regime failed to meet security and political requirements, hindering efforts to re-normalize Arab-Syrian relations.
  2. Iraqi Foreign Ministry Discusses Al-Hawl Camp, Syrian Crisis with UN (North Press Syria). Iraqi Foreign Minister Hussein met with UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, to discuss the Syrian crisis and find a lasting solution in line with international resolutions. Hussein emphasized the urgent need to resolve issues surrounding Al-Hawl camp, citing its “imminent danger” to Iraq and regional security.
  3. Iran Exploits Religious Tourism for Arms Shipments to Syria (Zamanalwsl).Today, Sunday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard militia sent its military group from the city of Sayyida Zeinab, south of Damascus, towards the Idlib countryside front.Zaman Al-Wasl’s correspondent, quoting a military source, said that the militia sent a group of 40 members, the majority of whom were specially trained Iranians.
  4. Iranian Militia Recruits Hundreds, Conceals Weapons in Civilian Areas of Assad-Controlled Regions (Halab Today). A report, citing Israeli intelligence, said that an Iranian militia had stored advanced weapons “surreptitiously” in residential neighborhoods and football stadiums in areas under Assad’s authority.According to a report by the Israeli “WallaNews” website, yesterday, Saturday, the “Imam Hussein Division,” linked to the “Quds Force” of the “Iranian Revolutionary Guard” militia, hid advanced weapons in residential neighborhoods and football stadiums in areas under Assad’s authority.
  5. International Coalition Probes Free Syrian Army Over Stolen U.S. Weapon and Allegations Against Faction Leader in Al-Tanf (Syriahr).Confusion marks the Free Syrian Army’s ranks in Al-Tanf, a coalition-controlled area at the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border. Civilians and faction members express grievances against the leadership. Amidst this, faction leader Farid al-Qasim mandates an oath-taking for new recruits graduating on September 20, according to the Syrian Observatory.
  6. Suweida Protests Spark International Outrage, Increase Pressure on Assad Over Shootings (Halab Today).The German envoy, like others, urged the Syrian regime to refrain from using violence, according to al-Souria Net.Tensions in Sweida governorate have reached a boiling point following a disturbing incident in which demonstrators were fired upon by members of Assad’s forces in front of the Baath Party headquarters.

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IRAQ

  1. Baghdad Approves $1.6 Billion Loan to Kurdistan for Employee Salaries (Haya News). Iraqi Council of Ministers approves a 2.1 trillion dinar ($1.6 billion) loan to the Kurdistan Regional Government for the current fiscal year. The loan aims to ensure financial liquidity for the regional government to pay employee salaries. The decision reflects positive federal-regional relations and a commitment to constitutional obligations.
  2. Iraqi PM Says Missing Russian Citizens Damage Security Authorities’ Reputation (Arabic RT). Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani acknowledged that the disappearance of Russian-Israeli citizen Elizaveta Tsurkova in Baghdad tarnishes the reputation of Iraqi security. No group has claimed responsibility, and the incident questions Iraq’s stability and the capability of its security services, Al-Sudani told the New York Times.
  3. Army Aviation Strikes Multiple ISIS Sites in Kirkuk, Iraq (Baghdad Today). Army aircraft targeted ISIS hideouts in Daquq, Kirkuk Governorate, near the borders with Salah al-Din and Diyala Governorates, according to a security source. The strikes also hit ISIS positions near the village of Al-Shabija on the Al-Rukana River.

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LEBANON

  1. Lebanon’s Mikati Urges Global Support for Syrian Refugee Crisis (Al Manar). Caretaker Prime Minister of Lebanon, Najib Mikati, calls on the international community to support Lebanon in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis during his meetings at the United Nations General Assembly. He also notes that the government has completed the reform projects required by the International Monetary Fund.

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For Inquiries please contact: rkisar@americancenter.org

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