THE EARLY PHOENIX
A first look at today’s most notable stories from the Middle East, selected by ACLS experts
12 DECEMBER 2022
GULF AND YEMEN
1. Saudi Foreign Minister: If Iran Obtains a Nuclear Weapon, the Countries of the Region will Seek to Ensure Their Own Security (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said that Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon will lead to the efforts of the countries of the region to ensure their [own] security, and that the failure of the nuclear agreement with Iran will enter the region into a very dangerous stage.
2. UAE and Israel Ratify Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Al Arabiya). The agreement “will cancel or reduce fees on 96% of products, which will provide a strong boost to the Emirati industrial and service sectors.”
3. Yemeni Security Seizes Large Hashish Shipment from Iran (Al Arabiya).
The drugs that were found are believed to have come from a smuggling ship that sank at sea.
5. One Million Sign Petition To Expel Iranian Envoys From G7 Countries (Iran International). Nearly one million people have so far signed a petition to expel Iran’s ambassadors from the G7 countries in protest to the heavy crackdown on demonstrators.
6. Lawdan Barzargan: Iran On Verge Of ‘Renaissance’ And Its Women Need Support (Iran International). November was a good month for democracy-seeking Iranians who have been on the streets since September, chanting “Woman, Life, Liberty,” and “Death to Dictator.”
7. Coalition Conducts Raid Against ISIS Suspects East of Deir Ezzor (Nedaa Post). Last night the International Coalition forces carried out a helicopter-borne operation targeting a number of people in the countryside of Deir Ezzor, on charges of belonging to ISIS.
8. Suwayda Protesters Call for a General Strike in Syria (video) (Syria TV). Protests returned to As-Suwayda Governorate on Sunday a week after similar popular protests in which hundreds of people demonstrated against poor living conditions.
9. Erdogan to Putin: Clearing the Syrian Border of Terrorists to a Depth of 30 km is a Priority (Anadolu Agency). Erdogan told his Russian counterpart of the necessity and priority of purging the Syrian border with Turkey from [PKK] terrorists, to a depth of at least 30 km, in the first phase, according to the Sochi agreement concluded in 2019.
10. Turkey Announces the Killing of a PKK Leader in Northern Syria (Syria TV). The Turkish Defense ministry said in a statement that Turkish forces managed to kill the Fahmi Muhammad, an official of the “Afrin Liberation Forces” affiliated with the PKK organization.
11. Saudi Crown Prince Meets Lebanese PM Mikati ‘at Macron’s request’ (Nahar Net). Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati has met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh following “a request from French President Emmanuel Macron,” LBCI TV reported overnight.
11. Iraqi Government Recovers More of the Money Stolen in Iraq’s “Theft of the Century” (Al Jazeera). The office of Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani announced the Iraqi government had recovered an additional $92 million of the billions stolen by Iraqi government officials in what Iraqis call the “theft of the century.”
12. Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Confirms Killing Of Thousands By Iran-Backed Militia (Iran International). Iraq’s parliament speaker has recently confirmed that hundreds to thousands of people who went missing from 2014 to 2016 were kidnapped and killed by Iran-backed militias.