Nov 14 Early Phoenix: Israel-Hamas War Updates & U.S. Stance on Iran, Hamas
In the November 14, 2023 edition of The Early Phoenix, key developments in the MENA region include the U.S. Senate’s resolution against Iran’s aggression, advocating military and economic measures, and the U.S. House’s reaction to Hamas’ brutalities, bolstering support for Israel. The IDF intensifies operations in Gaza, capturing Hamas sites and issuing evacuation orders. Israeli proposals suggest European asylum for Gaza refugees. Iran faces accusations of funding Hamas via cryptocurrencies, and its military support in Syria is evident with a cargo plane landing at Palmyra. The IRGC commander asserts the U.S. seeks to avoid conflict. Russia’s airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib and the rise of Al-Jolani College mark significant developments. Lebanon-Israel tensions escalate, with IDF strikes and Lebanese appeals to the UN. Iraq counters ISIS in Kirkuk, and Shiite factions unveil a new missile. Turkey and Greece pursue diplomatic measures, while the Dubai Air Show and Sino-Algerian talks indicate major economic and military engagements. France’s Defense Minister tours the Middle East, starting in Egypt, focusing on regional security and the Gaza crisis. In case you missed yesterday’s comprehensive analysis on the situation in the MENA region, go here.
Top 5 Headlines:
- U.S. Senators Warn Iran: Face Dire Consequences for Mideast Aggression.
- U.S. House Members React to Graphic Footage of Hamas Atrocities Against Israelis.
- IRGC Commander Claims US Pleas, Not Threats.
- IDF Captures Hamas Governmental Sites in Gaza as Conflict Escalates.
- Kidnapping Crisis: Israeli-Russian Academic Held in Iraq Surfaces in Video.
- Iranian Cargo Plane Lands at Palmyra Military Airport.
United States of America
- U.S. Senators Warn Iran: Face Dire Consequences for Mideast Aggression. U.S. senators, in a bipartisan effort, have introduced a resolution urging the Biden administration to foster normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel, countering Hamas’ attacks. They emphasize Iran’s role in fueling regional conflicts through proxies like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis. The resolution supports military deterrence against Iran, advocating for economic sanctions and military action if Iran escalates the conflict. It underscores the U.S.’s commitment to Israel’s defense and the broader goal of Mideast peace and stability. The senators warn Iran against further aggression, indicating readiness to respond militarily and economically. For a complete insight into the United States’ message to Iran, view the video here, now translated into Arabic for broader understanding (ACLS YouTube).
- U.S. House Members React to Graphic Footage of Hamas Atrocities Against Israelis. U.S. House members, after viewing a video depicting Hamas’ brutal acts against Israelis, expressed profound shock and condemnation. The footage, showcasing extreme violence and atrocities, reinforced the view that Israel is fighting for its existence and the rights of Jewish people globally. The video included scenes of Hamas terrorists committing acts of torture, murder, and other horrific violence against Israeli civilians, including children. This viewing has intensified calls for robust support and aid for Israel, amidst a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. For a compelling insight into these events, view the video here, now translated into Arabic for broader understanding (ACLS YouTube).
- US State Department Comments on Israel-Hezbollah Tensions. The US State Department, responding to Al-Hurra’s inquiry, refrained from detailing internal discussions with Israel regarding its dealings with Hezbollah. Spokesman Matthew Miller emphasized the US’s primary goal of preventing conflict expansion, including averting a northern Israel conflict with Hezbollah and regional escalation. This statement comes amid increasing confrontations in southern Lebanon, with Hezbollah intensifying operations and Israel responding with airstrikes. Hezbollah announced targeting Israeli forces at multiple sites, while Israel reported targeting Hezbollah military structures in response to missile launches (Al Hurra).
Israel & Palestinian Territories
- Dutch Memo Alleges Israeli Disproportionate Force in Gaza. A confidential memo from the Dutch Embassy in Tel Aviv suggests Israel is using “disproportionate force” in Gaza, targeting civilian infrastructure to deter Iran and Hezbollah. The memo, seen by Dutch media, indicates this strategy violates international laws and could escalate regional tensions. Despite Dutch PM Mark Rutte’s call for proportionate action, he has not demanded a ceasefire. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes the complexity of the situation and the need for restraint and investigation (Politico).
- South Africa Considers Cutting Diplomatic Ties with Israel. South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, aligning with Hamas, is contemplating recalling their envoy from Tel Aviv and ending relations with Israel. This follows Pandor’s condemnation of Israel for the October 7 massacre, where she labeled the victims as “soldiers and settlers” and called for Israeli PM Netanyahu’s prosecution for war crimes. Despite South Africa’s economic reliance on the West, its ties with Hamas and Iran have strengthened, including a Hamas political office in Cape Town. President Cyril Ramphosa has condemned Hamas’s civilian killings while supporting Palestine. Israel’s ambassador faces potential expulsion amid tensions, risking South Africa’s participation in the AGOA and its economic ties with the U.S (YNet).
- IDF Neutralizes Seven Terrorists in West Bank Raid. In a significant operation in Tulkarm, West Bank, the IDF’s Kfir Brigade eliminated seven terrorists, dismantled an explosives lab, and apprehended key individuals. The operation, involving multiple Israeli defense units, faced armed resistance, leading to the neutralization of the terrorists. Among those captured was a senior member of the Tulkarm Battalion, who attempted to escape using an ambulance. The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the identities of the deceased (Jerusalem Post).
- Evacuation Directive for Gaza City Neighborhoods as IDF Intensifies Operations. The IDF has issued an urgent evacuation warning for residents in the Sabra, Tel al-Hawa, and Zeitoun areas of Gaza City, urging them to move south for safety. This directive comes in the wake of increased IDF activities, including airstrikes on approximately 200 Hamas targets and naval assaults on Hamas’s naval training and weapons storage facilities. A Hamas tunnel was discovered in a mosque, and IDF forces have taken control of several strategic locations in Gaza. Residents are advised to evacuate promptly, with designated routes and times for safe evacuation (Jerusalem Post).
- Israeli Lawmakers Urge European Nations to Host Gaza Refugees. In a rare cross-party initiative, Israeli politicians Danny Danon (Likud) and Ram Ben-Barak (Yesh Atid) have called on the international community to provide refuge to displaced Gazans. Amid the ongoing conflict, they propose that European countries accept families seeking to relocate from the war-affected Gaza Strip. This suggestion follows the displacement of over 800,000 people due to intense military operations in Gaza. The lawmakers draw parallels with past global refugee crises, urging a shared international responsibility to offer sanctuary and aid in resolving the humanitarian crisis in Gaza (Times of Israel).
- IDF Captures Hamas Governmental Sites in Gaza as Conflict Escalates. The IDF has taken control of key Hamas locations in Gaza City, including the parliament, government complex, and police headquarters, intensifying the ongoing conflict. They are also coordinating humanitarian corridors for civilian evacuations and planning to deliver medical supplies to Gaza hospitals. Continuous rocket fire and military actions persist, leading to significant displacement within Gaza (Times of Israel). If you missed yesterday’s edition with a complete analysis on the situation in Israel, go here.
- Jordanian Parliament Votes to Review Agreements with Israel. Jordan’s House of Representatives unanimously agreed to reassess its agreements with Israel, including the 1994 peace treaty and 2016 gas deal, in light of recent events in Gaza. King Abdullah II of Jordan emphasized the unacceptability of any Israeli plans to occupy parts of Gaza or establish buffer zones, viewing these as attacks on Palestinian rights. The King urged the international community to intervene to halt the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and stressed the need to address the root cause: the occupation and denial of Palestinian rights (TRT World).
- David Cameron’s 2010 Gaza Remarks Resurface Following His Return to UK Politics. David Cameron, reappointed as the UK’s Minister of Foreign Affairs after a 7-year hiatus, is back in the spotlight due to his 2010 statements on Gaza made during a visit to Turkey. Criticizing Israel’s actions in Gaza as unacceptable and likening the region to a “prison camp,” these comments have regained international attention amidst ongoing tensions in the region. Cameron’s return to politics, marked by a call with US President Joe Biden, coincides with significant cabinet changes by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (Turkiye).
- Crypto Conflict: Israel Accuses Iran of Funding Hamas in Digital Currency War. Israel alleges Iran supports Hamas using cryptocurrencies, a tactic to bypass financial oversight. This strategy, evolving since a 2019 Israeli airstrike, involves substantial transfers via Bitcoin and Tether. Israeli authorities have seized millions in crypto assets linked to Hamas, highlighting the complex financial networks between Gaza, Iran, and various factions (Al Hadath).
- Kidnapping Crisis: Israeli-Russian Academic Held in Iraq Surfaces in Video. Months after her disappearance, a video of kidnapped Israeli-Russian researcher Elizabeth Tsurkov in Iraq emerges. Tsurkov, allegedly abducted by Kataib Hezbollah, appears in a clip discussing hostages in Gaza and urging an end to the conflict. The video, unverified in timing, adds a new dimension to the ongoing tensions involving Israel, Hamas, and factions in Iraq (Al Hurra).
- IRGC Commander Claims US Pleas, Not Threats. Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Division, asserts the US is pleading with Iran to avoid conflict with Israel, not threatening. He highlights Iran’s military capabilities, including missile and drone technology, and condemns Israel’s actions in Gaza. Hajizadeh calls for Arab nations’ support against Israel, criticizing Western backing of Israeli operations and labeling the regime as a perpetrator of crimes against civilians (Tehran Times).
- Iran’s Concerns Over Zionist Nuclear Threat. Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Saeed Irani, expressed deep concern about the Zionist nuclear arsenal and its impact on the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. He highlighted the recent nuclear threats from Zionist officials against Iran and Palestine, emphasizing the need for urgent international attention to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Irani called for transparency, adherence to UN resolutions, and condemned any facilitation of Zionist nuclear activities, viewing them as violations of international law. He urged the international community to take decisive action against such threats (Fars News).
- Iran Condemns Israeli Attack on Qatari Reconstruction HQ in Gaza. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, has strongly condemned the Israeli regime’s attack on the Qatari committee for Gaza reconstruction in Palestine. Kanaani highlighted the inhumanity of the Zionist regime’s actions and called for international accountability for their continuous violations of international laws in Gaza. The ongoing brutal military operation by Israel in Gaza has resulted in a significant loss of life, particularly among women and children (IRNA).
- Russian Airstrikes in Idlib Kill 34 Fighters, Wound Over 60. Russian forces conducted airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib province, resulting in the death of 34 fighters and injuring over 60. Admiral Vadim Collet of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria stated these strikes targeted illegal armed groups accused of attacking Syrian government forces. The Syrian army alleges opposition fighters in Idlib and Aleppo provinces are launching these attacks. Opposition officials claim Moscow and Damascus are intensifying bombings in the region, home to over 3 million people, amidst global focus on Gaza. Collett also mentioned violations of Syrian airspace by US-led coalition aircraft (Asharq).
- Political Power Play: Al-Jolani College Merges Media and Politics in Syria. The Abu Muhammad Al-Jolani College of Political Science and Media, not officially linked to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, emerges as a significant player in Syria’s political landscape. Ahmed Muwaffaq Zaidan, a key figure in the college’s establishment, emphasizes its role in shaping future Syrian governance. The college, amidst controversies and secrecy, aims to be a breeding ground for loyalists and leaders under the banner of a new Sunni entity in Idlib, reflecting a strategic blend of military and educational influence (Syria TV).
- Iranian Cargo Plane Lands at Palmyra Military Airport. An Iranian Airlines cargo plane landed at Palmyra Airport in central Syria, reportedly carrying Iranian leadership figures. This event follows information about the Iranian forces’ use of the airport, previously received by Russian Wagner forces. The cargo’s unloading and transportation were delayed due to ISIS attacks in the Homs desert. The Iranian supply routes in Syria have been impacted by recent Israeli airstrikes on Damascus and Aleppo airports. The cargo was eventually moved to warehouses along the Hama-Raqqa road and in Al-Dhahabiya, Aleppo (North Press).
- IDF Retaliates Against Hezbollah with Strikes in Southern Lebanon. In response to attacks along the northern border, the Israel Defense Forces targeted a Hezbollah observation post in southern Lebanon. The action followed mortar fire at Mount Dov and the Margaliot area, and small arms fire at Misgav Am, prompting IDF artillery shelling in retaliation (Times of Israel).
- Lebanon Submits Complaints to UN Security Council Over Israeli Aggression. Lebanon submits complaints to the UN Security Council against Israeli aggression, including the targeting of journalists and the use of phosphorous bombs. While the outcome is uncertain due to Security Council dynamics, experts argue that these actions constitute aggression under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, potentially triggering various measures (Lebanon 24).
- Netanyahu Warns Hezbollah Amid Border Tensions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning about escalating tensions on the border, stating that those attacking Israel will face a strong response. Israeli army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi approved defense and attack plans for Lebanon’s front to enhance security in the region (Nahar Net).
- Israel-Hezbollah Border Skirmishes: Latest Developments. Israeli artillery and drones struck multiple southern towns, while Hezbollah targeted Israeli posts. Two Israeli soldiers were severely wounded. Over 90 people have been killed in daily cross-border exchanges since October 7, with casualties on both sides of the conflict (Nahar Net).
- Iraqi Forces Eliminate 3 ISIS Members in Kirkuk Operation. In a security operation led by the Counter-Terrorism Service in Kirkuk Governorate, 250 km north of Baghdad, Iraqi forces successfully neutralized 3 ISIS members. The operation, characterized by high professionalism, was supported by army aviation and resulted in the elimination of these terrorists, as reported by Major General Yahya Rasoul, spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces (Sharq Awsat).
- Iraqi Factions Introduce Sarem Short-Range Smart Missile. The “Iraqi factions,” comprising armed Shiite groups, have announced the introduction of a new short-range smart missile, named Sarem, into their arsenal for use in conflicts against Israel. Additionally, the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq” claimed responsibility for using a drone to target an American base in Syria’s “Green Village,” asserting a direct hit. These factions, aligned with Iran, have intensified their attacks on international coalition forces led by the USA in Syria and Iraq, particularly following the events in Gaza on October 7 (Al Nahar).
- Turkey-Greece Confidence-Building Measures Amid F-16 Purchase Efforts. Turkey and Greece have agreed to implement a series of confidence-building measures in 2024, including military exercise reductions and joint drills. This agreement coincides with Turkey’s efforts to overcome U.S. congressional objections to purchasing new F-16 jets, linking the approval of this sale to Turkey’s improved relations with Greece and other geopolitical factors (Al Monitor).
- Global Shift to Nuclear Energy: Focus on Türkiye’s Akkuyu Project. In response to the energy crisis exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war, nations worldwide are increasingly turning to nuclear energy. Sama Bilbao y Leon of the World Nuclear Association highlights a significant global resurgence in nuclear energy, with plans to expand capacity in Europe, Asia, and North America. Türkiye’s Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, expected to be operational next year, is a key example of this shift. The sector anticipates a rise in global nuclear capacity to 931 gigawatts by 2040, a substantial increase from the current level. This move towards nuclear energy is partly driven by the desire to reduce dependence on Russian energy sources (Aksam).
- Erdogan’s Berlin Visit Proceeds Despite His Stance on Israel. The German government remains committed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s upcoming visit to Berlin, despite his critical stance on Israel’s actions in Gaza. German government spokesman Steffen Heibstreit confirmed the visit is on schedule, emphasizing Germany’s firm position on Israel. Erdogan, who has labeled Hamas as a “liberation organization” and criticized Israeli actions as “fascist,” will meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier during his visit (Sharq Awsat).
The Gulf Region & Yemen
- Al-Houthi Announces New Operation in Occupied Territories. Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, leader of the Ansar Allah movement, disclosed a recent operation in the occupied territories, executed by the missile force and unmanned weapons of the Sanaa forces. Critiquing the Arab-Islamic summit in Riyadh for mere verbal demands, he emphasized the Yemeni people’s readiness to support Gaza, noting the impact of Sana’a’s stance on Israeli maritime operations in the Red Sea (Yemen News).
- US Envoy to Yemen, Timothy Lenderking, Embarks on Gulf Tour. Timothy Lenderking, the US special envoy to Yemen, is set to visit Arab Gulf states this week, as announced by the US State Department. His agenda includes meetings with partners from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, and other international stakeholders, focusing on discussions to secure a permanent ceasefire in the region (Al Sharq News).
- Dubai Air Show Sees Billions in New Aircraft Deals. The Dubai Air Show, a leading global aviation event, has kicked off with the announcement of new aircraft purchase agreements totaling tens of billions of dollars, signaling a robust recovery of the aviation sector from the Covid-19 pandemic. Key deals include Emirates Airlines’ $52 billion agreement for 95 Boeing 777-9, 777-8, and 787 planes, Flydubai’s $11 billion contract for 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, Sun Express’s order for 45 737 MAX aircraft with options for 45 more, and EgyptAir’s deal for 18 Boeing 737 MAX planes through a leasing arrangement with Air Lease Corporation (Sky News Arabia).
- Algeria and China Explore Strengthening Military and Security Ties. Algeria and China are in discussions to enhance their military and security cooperation. This development was revealed during a meeting between Lieutenant General Said Chengriha, Chief of Staff of the Algerian People’s National Army, and Lieutenant General Liu Xinli, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Chinese Central Military Commission, as part of Chengriha’s official visit to China. The meeting, which focused on various issues of mutual interest, was reported by the Algerian Ministry of National Defense (Bahrain News Agency).
- French Defense Minister Begins Middle East Tour, Starting in Egypt. French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu has embarked on a Middle East trip, beginning with Egypt, to discuss the Gaza situation and regional security matters. Initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron, this tour will also include visits to the Gulf region and conclude in Israel on Friday. This marks the first visit to Israel by a French defense minister since 2000, as announced by Lecornu on his official account (El Balad).
- Egypt Welcomes Qatari Investments and Economic Alliances. At the Egypt-Qatar economic summit, Qatari Industry Minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al Qasim emphasized strengthening bilateral ties and exploring investment opportunities in Egypt. The summit led to agreements in key sectors, aiming to enhance trade and economic partnerships. Al Qasim highlighted Qatar’s substantial investments in Egypt and the potential for further economic collaboration (Cairo 24).
In case you missed yesterday’s complete analysis of the situation in Israel and Gaza, go here.