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THE EARLY PHOENIX – August 26-28, 2023

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TOP HEADLINES:

TURKIYE

  1. Zelensky and Turkish Minister Discuss Black Sea Tensions (Al Monitor). Both leaders address Black Sea tensions in Kyiv, aiming to salvage grain exports after Russia’s withdrawal from a crucial deal.
  2. Defense Ministers Foster Security and Regional Ties (Trt Arabi). Turkish and Azerbaijani defense ministers convene to enhance security cooperation and address regional concerns. Discussions revolve around enhancing bilateral military collaboration and addressing regional security concerns.
  3. Top Greek Diplomat to Boost Bilateral Ties in Ankara (Hurriyet Daily News). Greece’s Foreign Minister Gerapetritis to meet Turkish counterpart, strengthening ties and preparing for comprehensive cooperation session.

ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Libyan FM Flees to Türkiye Amid ‘Historic Meeting’ Controversy with Israel; Haftar and Son Revealed as Frequent Visitors (France 24). Israel media’s “historic meeting” report between Libya’s foreign minister and an Israeli counterpart ignited Libya’s accusations of government betrayal. PM Dbeibah suspended Mangoush, launching an inquiry. Libyan foreign ministry’s “pre-arranged” statement was affirmed by Israeli media, linked to U.S. The foreign minister fled to Turkiye to avoid a three-year jail term over the meeting. Israeli press also highlighted Haftar and son as frequent visitors.
  2. Qatar Stresses Non-hostility Towards Israel (Arutz Sheva). Qatar’s PM clarifies non-hostile stance towards Israel, citing concerns over Palestinian occupation and referencing the Arab peace initiative.
  3. Blinken Uses X to Caution Israel Over Saudi Deal Expectations (Times Of Israel). (Secretary of State Blinken, via Twitter)  According to a Friday report, US officials stressed to Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer during a recent visit that Israel must make far-reaching concessions to the Palestinians to secure a normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia.

EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan Rekindle GERD Talks in Cairo (24). Tri-nation negotiations on GERD operations resume in Cairo, focusing on a binding agreement that reflects shared interests.
  2. Niger’s Military Junta Expels Ambassadors, Citing National Interests (Kapitalis). Niger’s military junta expels ambassadors from France, Germany, and Nigeria, citing actions against national interests.
  3. AL-Burhan’s Diplomatic Tour Gains Party Support, Easing War (Al Sumaria). Sudan’s General Al-Burhan’s foreign tour includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE, aiming to foster diplomatic relations amidst regional conflicts. Meanwhile, Sudan’s National Umma Party’s endorsement of the army commander’s exit reflects progress towards ending internal strife and reinstating democracy. Diplomatic tensions arose as the US Ambassador’s comments on Sudan’s fighting groups prompted criticism from the Foreign Ministry.

GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Iran-Backed Houthi Aggression Escalates in Yemen (i24, Asharq Al Awsat, Sputnik Arabic, Sahafaa Net). The Iranian-supported Houthi rebels in Yemen have intensified their offensives, causing substantial military casualties in regions like Lahj and Al-Bayda. Demonstrating their deepening influence, the Houthis strategically replaced nearly 36,000 teachers in areas they dominate. As clashes in Lahj saw over 30 casualties, a notable pushback with Marib and western coast military fronts uniting against the Houthi onslaught, underscoring the geopolitical implications of Iran’s regional ambitions.
  2. Saudi Arabia Explores Nuclear Partnerships Beyond US (BBC). Saudi Arabia considers nuclear energy collaborations with China, France, and Russia, diversifying beyond traditional alliances.

IRAN

  1. Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Persists Despite Reports (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Iran’s uranium enrichment continues, though reports suggest a potential slowdown in 60% enrichment, possibly easing tensions.
  2. World Bank Highlights Iran’s Economic Risks (Iran International). World Bank warns of escalating internal and external threats to Iran’s economy, including social tensions, manufacturing strikes, and global oil challenges.
  3. Iranian Officials Wary of Renewed Protests (Iran International). Iranian Supreme Leader’s aide, Gen. Javani, reaffirms the regime’s strength against potential protests, highlighting the role of the Basij militia.

SYRIA

  1. Israeli Strike Disrupts Iran-Controlled Aleppo International Airport (Syria TV). The attack caused material damage to the runway and took the airport out of service. Reports suggest that recent attacks targeted Iranian weaponry allegedly stored at the airport, including combat drones transferred between military airports under the guise of food and aid shipments.
  2. US Congress Delegation Visits Syria for Peace Support (Syria TV). US congressional delegation’s historic visit to northwestern Syria reflects international efforts to foster peace and stability amid the complex conflict.
  3. Russian Involvement and International Engagement in Syria’s Complex Landscape (24, Halep Today, Syria TV). Russian Deputy Defense Minister calls for Wagner fighters’ expulsion, while Syrian civil society meets Ukraine’s Zelensky to address chemical weapon atrocities. Belarus’s Lukashenko pledges support for Syrian regime’s reconstruction, highlighting international actors’ influence.
  4. Explosion at Turkish Military Base in Northern Syria Raises Concerns (Al Sharq Al Awsat). An intense explosion at a Turkish military base in northern Syria triggers concerns, damaging facilities without reported casualties.

IRAQ

  1. Iraq’s Displacement Return Program Aims for Stability (Hath Al-Youm). Iraq’s program focuses on displaced populations’ return, aiming for stability through social rehabilitation, security checks, and better living conditions.

LEBANON

  1. Presidential Vacancy Delays Energy Extraction Amid Crisis (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Lebanon’s unresolved presidential vacancy hinders energy extraction, as French envoy prepares to address the issue.
  2. Beirut Rejects UNIFIL’s Independent Operations (Syria. TV). Lebanon opposes UNIFIL’s autonomy, emphasizing coordination with the Lebanese army.
  3. Lebanon’s Central Bank Rejects Lending, Urges Reforms (The New Arab). Acting Governor Mansouri asserts Lebanon’s central bank won’t lend money to the crisis-hit government, urging urgent financial reforms.

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