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THE EARLY PHOENIX – Sept 25, 2023

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TOP HEADLINES:

  • Al-Qaida Targets Yemen
  • Qatari PM Talks Assad and Afghanistan on CNN
  • Renaissance Dam Talks Stall, Egypt Demands Agreement
  • Iran Thwarts 30 Tehran Bombings, Arrests 28
  • Erdogan-Aliyev Meeting: Nagorno-Karabakh on Agenda

Currencies:

$1 SYRIA IRAN IRAQ EGYPT TURKIYE ISRAEL
13,700 49,350 130,7 30 27,4 3,8

THE GULF & YEMEN

  1. Al-Qaida’s Rise in Yemen (Xinhua News). Al-Qaida is suspected of targeting a military ambulance in Yemen, killing four soldiers This comes as the Houthi militia announces plans to control strategic areas, including the Bab al-Mandab Strait (Yemeni Post). Concurrently, Egypt reaffirms its commitment to a humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen during a meeting in New York (Anbaa Alyoum). Meanwhile, the World Bank grants $150 million to bolster Yemen’s human capital (Almashhad Alyemeni). 
  2. Qatari Prime Minister Reiterates Stance on Assad and Discusses Afghan Relations in CNN Interview (CNN Arabic). Qatari PM Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani reaffirms Qatar’s stance against Syria’s Assad in a CNN interview. He also discusses Qatar’s expectations for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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EGYPT & North Africa

  1. France to Withdraw Military and Ambassador from Niger Following Coup (AP). France withdraws its military and ambassador from Niger following a coup. The move is seen as a shift in France’s African policy.
  2. Stalled Talks on Renaissance Dam Deepen Tensions Among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia (Al Hadath).Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia fail to make progress in talks on the Renaissance Dam. Egypt demands a legally binding agreement.
  3. Algeria Capitalizes on Global Energy Crisis, Expands Gas Exports to Europe (Al Nahar). Algeria expands gas exports to Europe amid the global energy crisis and Western sanctions on Russia.
  4. Morocco Rolls Out Massive Aid Program for 2.8M Earthquake Victims (AlJazeera). Morocco announces an 8 billion dirham aid program for 2.8 million earthquake victims.
  5. Libya’s Flash Floods: Official Death Toll Surpasses 3,800 with Thousands Still Missing (The New Arab). The catastrophic flash floods in the Libyan port city of Derna have resulted in an official death toll of 3,845, according to Mohamed Eljarh, spokesman for the relief committee in eastern Libya. The figure is based solely on recorded burials and is expected to rise further. Unrecorded burials and a register of the missing, who may number over 10,000, are still being compiled. The disaster has also displaced more than 43,000 people from Derna and nearby areas, as reported by the International Organization for Migration.
  6. European Commission Allocates €127 Million to Tunisia for Combating Illegal Immigration (Reuters). The European Commission has announced the disbursement of €127 million ($135 million) in aid to Tunisia to combat illegal immigration from Africa to Europe. Of this amount, €60 million will be provided as budget support, while an additional €67 million will be aimed at enhancing Tunisia’s capabilities in fighting human trafficking and bolstering border controls. 
  7. Zelensky and Sudan’s Al-Burhan Discuss Russia-Funded Armed Groups in Surprise Ireland Meeting (CNN Arabic). Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Sudanese military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan held an unexpected meeting at Shannon Airport in Ireland. The two leaders discussed mutual security concerns, particularly focusing on illegal armed groups funded by Russia. Zelensky expressed gratitude for Sudan’s support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and invited al-Burhan to participate in the “Grains from Ukraine” initiative. The meeting also explored avenues for enhancing cooperation between Ukraine and African nations.

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IRAN

  1. Iran Foils 30 Planned Bombings in Tehran, Arrests 28 (Sharq Awsat). Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence thwarted 30 terrorist bombings in Tehran and arrested a 28-member network linked to ISIS. The arrests come amid increased security measures following recent protests.
  2. Iran’s Football Federation Reveals $33M in Frozen Assets Due to U.S. Sanctions (Xinhua News). Mehdi Taj, president of Iran’s Football Federation, announced that $33 million in assets are frozen in FIFA and the AFC due to U.S. sanctions. The issue was discussed in a recent meeting between Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and FIFA President Gianni Infantino and will be a primary topic in an upcoming meeting in Paris on Oct. 24.
  3. Iran Deploys 10 Brigades Along Borders to Deter “Enemies,” Says Army General (Iran International). Gen. Kyumars Haydari, commander of Iran’s army ground forces, announced the deployment of 10 brigades along the country’s borders to deter “enemies.” While not specifying the number of troops, a brigade typically consists of 3,000-4,000 soldiers. The move aims to boost readiness and monitor borders amid regional tensions, including clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan and threats from the Taliban in the northeast.
  4. Iran Intensifies Surveillance and Repression Through Foreign Tech in Wake of Protests (Al Hurra). Leaked documents from Iranian telecom company Ariantel revealed a system called SIAM that allows tracking and controlling protesters’ phones. Iran has also been importing surveillance technology from China, including facial recognition cameras, to tighten control over its citizens. The cooperation between Iran and China extends to a 25-year multi-faceted agreement.

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IRAQ

  1. Iraq Initiates Nationwide Weapons Registration to Rein in Civilian Arms (Sky News Arabia). Iraq’s Ministry of Interior initiates a nationwide weapons registration to centralize civilian firearms. The complex task involves legal, media, and administrative measures, with some suggesting financial incentives for compliance.
  2. Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt Foreign Ministers Discuss Tripartite Cooperation at UN Assembly (Iraq News Network). Foreign ministers of Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt met on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly in New York to discuss enhancing tripartite cooperation. The meeting covered a range of sectors including energy, trade, health, and security. The ministers also discussed regional issues such as the Palestinian conflict and the Syrian crisis. They agreed to continue coordination ahead of the next tripartite summit in Cairo.
  3. Central Bank of Iraq to Phase Out External Transfers in Favor of Dinar-Based Transactions (Independent Press Agency). Ali Mohsen Al-Alaq, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, announced plans to discontinue external transfers in favor of internal transactions in dinars, starting next year. The move comes after an agreement with the US Federal Reserve and aims to focus the Central Bank’s role on supervision and control. The new policy is expected to enhance monetary stability and lower inflation rates.
  4. Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court Dissolves Kurdistan’s Provincial Councils, Citing Unconstitutionality (Rudaw). Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court has ruled to dissolve the Kurdistan Region’s provincial councils, declaring an amendment extending their term as “unconstitutional.” The court cited violations of democratic principles and basic rights. The decision leaves the councils in a “legal gap,” according to Ali Rashid, head of Erbil’s provincial council. This comes amid increasing criticism of the Kurdistan Regional Government for failing to hold timely elections.

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Lebanon

  1. Lebanese Parties Call for Structured Approach to Syrian Displacement Crisis (Sharq Awsat). Lebanese politicians escalate calls to manage the Syrian displacement crisis. Proposals include state-supervised camps and stricter law enforcement. Some label the Syrian presence as “occupation” and call for ending financial aid. The caretaker government initiates measures, including a delegation to Syria.

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SYRIA

  1. Iran Conducts Joint Military Training with Syrian Regime Forces Under Quds Force Supervision (Enab Baladi). Iran conducts joint military training with Syrian forces under Quds Force supervision. The undisclosed location exercises focus on Syria’s “military and security chaos” and follow previous joint operations with Russia.

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TURKIYE

  1. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan’s Diplomatic Marathon at UN General Assembly: Key Takeaways (TRT Arabic). Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan engages in multiple discussions at the 78th UN General Assembly. Topics include Ukraine, grain shipments, counter-terrorism in Azerbaijan, Turkiye-EU relations, and the Cyprus issue. Bilateral talks held with the U.S., Bahrain, and Lithuania.
  2. Erdogan and Aliyev to Discuss Nagorno-Karabakh and Zangezur Corridor in Nakhichevan Meeting (Al Arabiya). Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan engages in multiple discussions at the 78th UN General Assembly. Topics include Ukraine, grain shipments, counter-terrorism in Azerbaijan, Turkiye-EU relations, and the Cyprus issue. Bilateral talks held with the U.S., Bahrain, and Lithuania.
  3. Greece to Push for Expansion of EU-Turkiye Migration Deal in Upcoming Thessaloniki Meeting (Hurriyet). Greece seeks to renew and expand the 2016 EU-Turkiye migration deal, with talks scheduled in Thessaloniki on December 7. The initiative follows a positive meeting between the Greek PM and Turkish President in New York.
  4. Turkiye-Africa Trade Skyrockets to $40 Billion in 2022, Marking Significant Growth from 2003 (TRT Arabic). Turkiye-Africa trade reaches $40.7 billion in 2022, a significant increase from $5.4 billion in 2003. The growth follows Turkiye’s “Africa Plan” initiated in 2005, aiming for further commercial expansion on the continent.
  5. Turkiye’s Machinery Exports Surge by 11.1% to $18.6 Billion in First Eight Months of 2023 (Sky News Arabia). Turkiye’s machinery exports grow by 11.1%, reaching $18.6 billion in the first eight months of 2023. The increase defies global trade challenges and outperforms developed countries, attributed to domestic investments in machinery.

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ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1.  Israeli Forces Dismantle Terrorist Command Center and Explosives Arsenal in Nur Shams (Jerusalem Post). Israeli forces raid Nur Shams, dismantling a terrorist command center and explosives. Two individuals, including a Hamas member, are killed and an IDF soldier is injured. Eight suspects linked to a Hamas cell are arrested, preventing an imminent attack.
  2. Israeli Army Arrests Hamas-Recruited Cells at Birzeit University in West Bank (Sharq Awsat). Israeli army arrests eight Hamas-recruited individuals at Birzeit University for planning attacks. An additional suspect is arrested nearby. Hamas responds, stating the arrests won’t deter student resistance and calls for immediate release.
  3. Saudi Delegation to Meet Palestinian President Amid Israel-Saudi Normalization Talks (Al Quds). Saudi delegation to meet Palestinian President Abbas amid Israel-Saudi normalization talks. The visit follows statements from the Saudi Crown Prince and Israeli PM on ongoing efforts. U.S. officials indicate full normalization is distant, requiring multiple conditions.

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For Inquiries please contact: rkisar@americancenter.org

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