THE EARLY PHOENIX
A first look at today’s most notable stories from the Middle East, selected by ACLS experts
28 DECEMBER 2022Subscribe
1. Detained Victims In Iran Share Harrowing Stories Of Sexual Assault (Iran International). Armita Abbasi was reportedly raped brutally after being arrested on October 10, 2022. There are some reports of much worse violence. Armita Abbasi, a young woman of 20, was reportedly raped brutally after being arrested on October 10. She was taken to a hospital in Karaj on October 18 by security forces with multiple injuries including internal bleeding, a shaved head, and evidence of repeated rape. Reportedly, they tried to pressure the doctors to attribute the rape trauma evidence to a time prior to her arrest. Her trial, according to her mother, has been scheduled for January 26.
2. Iranian Student Drowns Himself In Rhone To Draw Attention To Regime Crimes (Iran International). Before drowning himself in the Rhone River in Lyon, Moradi, 38, posted a video on social media in which with the river in the background he said his suicide was not prompted by personal issues. He had taken the decision to take his own life in protest because life meant nothing to him when the clerical regime continued to suppress his people.The video in which he also said farewell to the people of Lyon where he used to live with his wife has shocked many. The video message says: “Now in my country there is a very big movement against government violence. We have an Islamic regime that tries to drill things into people’s heads. The police attack people very violently during the demonstrations. Sadly, we have lost many young daughters, sons, teenagers and even kids. We have to do something. It’s like a challenge to show that the Iranians are so tired of this situation. We want to change our country to a democratic country with equal rights for women and men. When you watch this video, I will be dead. But I am happy because I chose this path without any stress. I’m not sad. I decided to do this to show everyone that we Iranians need help.”
3. Iran is the Reason for the Fuel Shortage in Syria (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The economic crisis in Damascus is exacerbating, and the Iranian “procrastination” in fuel deliveries continues…During preparations for the visit of Iranian President Raisi to Damascus, the Syrian side was surprised by a series of requests and draft agreements…relating to the Iranians being treated in hospitals, scientific institutions, property… and so on, as the Syrians are treated. And if Iranians commit a crime, they are to be tried before the Iranian judiciary, not the Syrian judiciary…“Tehran wants to obtain major sovereign concessions at the height of Damascus’ need for them now and Russia’s preoccupation with the Ukraine war, to pay the costs it paid during the war, which amounted to about $ 20 billion during the past decade, and to establish its influence for a long time in the face of the escalation of Israeli military pressure in Syria.”
GULF & YEMEN
4. Saudi Arabia Allows Christmas Celebrations, Announcing A New Era of Tolerance (Al Nahar). This year, Saudi Arabia celebrated Christmas in a different way, with authorities easing restrictions in recent years on the sale of holiday decorations. While congratulating non-Muslim holidays is still a controversial issue for the hard-line clerics in the Kingdom, the statement of the head of the Association of Muslim Scholars in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Issa, emphasized that there is no legal text prohibiting congratulating Christians on Christmas.
5. Inspired by the Taliban regime.Houthi restrictions stifle the freedom of Yemeni women (Al Arabiya). Several women living in Houthi controlled territories stated that the militia have banned women from moving from one city to another or traveling abroad and are imposing strict social rules similar to those of Taliban. Several swimming pools and gyms for women were closed. Belqis Al-Lahbi, a gender advisor at the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, believes that these measures serve both religious and political goals, and come to satisfy the more extremist wing of the Houthis.
6. Iraqi Security Forces Arrest Man Accused of Committing 100 Murders in Diyala (Al Sumaria TV). (Ahmed Hassan Jawad) the nickname (Ahmed Roumieh) is considered one of the most dangerous wanted persons by the judiciary, and an arrest and investigation warrant has been issued against him in accordance with the provisions of Article (4 / terrorism), due to his criminal acts that threatened security and community peace.
EGYPT & LIBYA
7. Al-Azhar Grand Imam Calls on Taliban to Reconsider University Ban for Afghan Women (Ahram Online). Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayyeb has called for the Taliban to reconsider their decision to ban Afghan women from accessing university education, saying the decision contradicts Sharia (Islamic law). In his message, El-Tayyeb said that banning Afghan women from accessing university education contradicts Sharia and conflicts with its call for both men and women to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. El-Tayyeb added that the ban overlooked more than 2,000 hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) in this regard and also overlooked the historic examples of pioneering women in education, sciences and politics.
8. Qadafi’s Son Saif al-Islam Demands to Be Included in Libya’s Presidential Elections (Al Hadath). In a statement published on Tuesday evening, the son of the late Libyan leader accused the country’s main political parties of aborting the elections and ignoring the will of millions of Libyans by quarreling over the conditions under which candidates can run for presidential office. Qadafi’s statement warned that candidates who are excluded may refuse to recognize the election’s outcome as legitimate.
9. Hezbollah Hands Over A Civilian as the Suspected Killer of UN Peacekeeper (Naharnet).”The main shooter has been arrested by security forces after Hezbollah handed him over hours ago,” a Lebanese security official said, declining to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Media reports said the arrested man is not a member of Hizballah but rather a 31-year-old supporter.
10. Terrorist PKK supporters disturb peace in London (Anadolu Agency). Supporters of the PKK terrorist group on Saturday clashed with police in London. Gathering in front of the French Embassy in London, a group of the terror group’s supporters chanted slogans against Türkiye and France after Friday’s shooting of Kurds in Paris.
11. Erdogan announces new Turkish steps in northern Syria (Syria TV). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that his country is about to take new steps to “fill the gaps in the security belt”, 30 kilometers deep in northern Syria , reiterating Turkey’s determination to “continue its strategy of eliminating terrorism.” In a speech after chairing a meeting of the government in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Erdogan announced his country’s intention to move to “a good stage in the fight against terrorism, represented in destroying the infrastructure and resources on which the PKK relies.
12. ISIS Attacks SDF-Affiliated “Asayish” Headquarters in Raqqa (Syria TV). An armed cell belonging to the ” Islamic State ” organization attacked the headquarters of the “Asayish” in the Diriyah neighborhood, northwest of the city of Raqqa, and targeted the security forces with automatic weapons…The ISIS cell attacked the center, which houses prisoners from the organization, with the aim of liberating them, but clashes broke out that led to the death of an ISIS member who was wearing an explosive belt, and the capture of another member who was also wearing a belt…The new attack comes in light of the US forces intensifying their strikes against the “Islamic State” organization in the region, after resuming their joint operations with the “SDF” on December 8.