- NATO Chief Says He Supports Türkiye’s EU Membership Bid
- Outgoing U.S. Ambassador Warns Israel Against ‘Going Off the Rails’ With Judicial Overhaul
- Core Inflation in Egypt jumped to 41%, Highest in History
- IRGC Seizes Foreign Tanker “Smuggling Fuel” in Persian Gulf
- After Israel Demands Removal of Hizballah Border Tents, Lebanon Demands Demarcation of Land Border
- Turkish Police Arrest 22 ISIS Terrorists in Ankara (Anadolu Agency). Turkish police have arrested 22 foreign nationals associated with the ISIS terrorist organization in an anti-terror operation in Ankara. The operation targeted suspects believed to have been in contact with ISIS members in conflict zones and involved in activities for the organization in recent years. The arrests were made across Ankara, and the police sought additional suspects. Turkey has declared ISIS a terrorist organization and has faced multiple attacks by the group, leading to the launch of domestic and international anti-terror operations.
- Erdogan and Biden to Hold One-on-One Meeting at NATO Vilnius Summit (TRT World). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Joe Biden have agreed to hold a one-on-one meeting at an upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. During a phone call, they discussed various topics, including Sweden’s bid to join NATO and the sale of F-16 jets to Turkey. Erdogan expressed concerns about security and terrorism-related issues regarding Sweden’s membership bid but acknowledged the correct steps taken by Stockholm. They also discussed Turkey’s EU accession process and Ukraine’s position vis-a-vis NATO, with Erdogan emphasizing Turkey’s desire for strong support from leading EU countries at the Vilnius summit.
- Erdoğan-Putin Talks Seen as Only Hope for Grain Deal Extension (Daily Sabah). Negotiations between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin are seen as the only hope to extend the Black Sea grain deal, which is set to expire next week. The deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey, aimed to allow Ukrainian grain to be safely exported from Black Sea ports amid the Russian invasion. However, Russia has threatened to quit the deal due to unmet demands, and there is little optimism for an extension. Erdoğan plans to discuss the issue with Putin during their meeting in Turkey.
- NATO Chief Says He Supports Türkiye’s EU Membership Bid (Anadolu Agency). NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed his support for Turkey’s ambition to become a member of the European Union during a press conference in Vilnius, where the NATO summit is taking place. This follows Turkish President Erdogan’s statement that he would urge the NATO summit to pave the way for Turkey’s EU membership. Stoltenberg also mentioned that a deal on Sweden’s NATO bid could still be reached during the summit. Turkey has approved Finland’s NATO membership but is waiting for Sweden to fulfill its commitments before approving.
- Erdogan links Sweden’s NATO Membership to Turkey’s EU Accession (Reuters). Turkish President Erdogan has called for the European Union (EU) to open the way for Turkey’s accession to the bloc before Turkey approves Sweden’s bid to join NATO. Erdogan linked Ankara’s approval of Sweden’s NATO bid to Turkey finally joining the EU. However, the European Commission stated that NATO and EU enlargement are separate processes, and the spokesperson emphasized that the accession process for each candidate country is based on its merits…Erdogan also mentioned that ending the war between Ukraine and Russia would ease Kyiv’s NATO membership process.
ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
- Palestinians Reject Israel’s Demands to Save PA (Jerusalem Post). The Palestinian Authority has rejected Israel’s demands to help prevent its collapse, including stopping payments to the families of Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis. PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh stated they would continue their legal and diplomatic efforts against Israel and maintain the payments to terrorists’ families. The PA also denounced Israel’s policy of seizing funds as “piracy” and “theft.”
- Israel and US Hold Another Joint Air Drill Focused on Iran (Times of Israel). The Israeli and American air forces have launched a joint drill called Juniper Oak, aimed at enhancing the readiness of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for a potential strike in Iran. The drill includes Israeli airstrikes against strategic targets, likely referring to Iran’s nuclear facilities, and simulations to achieve aerial superiority and cyber defense against various threats. The exercise involves IAF fighter jets refueling from an American Boeing KC-46, which will be crucial for conducting potential major strikes in Iran due to their extended flight range.
- Outgoing U.S. Ambassador Warns Israel Against ‘Going Off the Rails’ With Judicial Overhaul (Haaretz). Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, has warned against Israel’s planned judicial overhaul, stating that things are “going off the rails.” Nides urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to slow down the process and seek consensus, expressing concerns about the overhaul’s deep unpopularity among U.S. lawmakers and the American Jewish community…Nides emphasized that U.S. involvement stems from a desire to articulate when things deviate from the norm.
- Ramallah Sends Ministers to Jenin and Cracks Down on Islamic Jihad After IDF Operation (Times of Israel). A delegation of three ministers from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) visited the city of Jenin to reassert the PA’s presence and control following an IDF operation against armed groups. The operation exposed the armament and organization of terror groups in the city, particularly the Jenin Battalion, a local wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Some Palestinians see the PA as collaborating with Israel rather than fighting for their rights. The PA has also launched a crackdown on the Islamic Jihad in the Jenin area, detaining individuals involved in terror-related activities.
- Palestinian Authority Vows to Continue Paying Terrorists (Arutz Sheva). Senior officials from the Palestinian Authority met today, with Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh again rejecting Israel’s demands in return for measures preventing its immediate collapse. According to Israel Hayom, Israel is insisting that the PA put an end to moves against Israel in the international arena and paying terrorists and their families.Shtayyeh, however, called the move “extortion,” also saying that: “Israel’s condition that we stop our actions in the international arena and in return our funds will be returned to us – will not happen. Regarding cessation of funds for the martyrs and prisoners – that will not happen either.”
Egypt & North Africa
- Core Inflation in Egypt jumped to 41%, Highest in History (Sna Business). Data from the Central Bank of Egypt showed on Monday that core inflation (excluding energy and food) rose to 41 percent annually in June from 40.3 percent in May. The consumer price index in Egyptian cities rose last June to a record high of 35.7 percent in June from 32.7 percent in May, surpassing the previous record level set in July 2017 when it reached 32.952 percent.
- Sudanese Government Refuses to Participate in African Peace Talks if Chaired by Kenya (An Nahar). On Monday, the Sudanese government refused to participate in African peace talks to resolve the conflict unless the Quartet is chaired by a party other than Kenya, which it accuses of a “lack of neutrality.” Since April 15, Sudan has witnessed battles between the army, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, led by Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo, known as “Hemedti.”
THE GULF REGION & YEMEN
- UN to Begin Transfer of Crude from Derelict Tanker off Yemen Next Week (Arab News). The transfer of crude oil from a decaying tanker off Yemen will begin early next week; the United Nations said Monday of an operation aimed at preventing a damaging Red Sea spill. The 47-year-old FSO Safer, long used as a floating storage platform and now abandoned off the Houthi-held Yemeni port of Hodeida, has not been serviced since the Arabian Peninsula country plunged into civil war more than eight years ago.
- UN Says Climate Change Exacerbates Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen (Al Sharq Al Awsat). International warnings about the detrimental impact of extreme climate events on humanitarian conditions in Yemen persist as the population copes with extensive flood damage and the spread of diseases…The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has identified the provinces of Dhamar, Ibb, Aden, Lahj, and Taiz as areas likely to experience floods due to the possibility of heavy rainfall…The number of individuals affected by heavy rains and floods that occurred in Yemen from March to June 24 has risen to over 300,000 people, according to the latest data.
- Yemen’s Sanaa Int’l Airport: A Houthi Gateway for Extorting Travelers (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Travelers passing through Yemen’s Sanaa International Airport, controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi militias, spend more than half a day there to complete procedures due to the militias’ practices. The airport has been turned into a Houthi hub for tracking and humiliating politicians and activists of both genders, according to six passengers who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat…The travel ordeal begins with obtaining a seat from Yemenia Airlines’ offices in militia-controlled areas. Houthis have restricted the booking procedures through a special room managed by a cell of its internal intelligence apparatus, the Preventive Security, established by the Hezbollah militias.
- Launch of Sixth Russian-Gulf Strategic Dialogue in Moscow (Elaph). On Monday, the activities of the Sixth Strategic Dialogue between the GCC and Russia kicked off in Moscow. At the outset of the meeting, in which the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council participated, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed that Russia and the GCC countries have all the capabilities to develop cooperation on a strategic and methodical basis. Lavrov declared, “Russian President Vladimir Putin is keen on communication and cooperation with the Gulf states.”
- Kuwait’s Draft 2023-2024 Budget Includes $22.8B Deficit (An Nahar). A Kuwaiti newspaper quoted a member of parliament today, Monday, that Kuwait’s draft budget for the fiscal year 2023-2024 estimates a deficit of 6.8 billion dinars ($22.2 billion) on lower oil prices and production. Al-Dustour newspaper stated, in a report published by the National Assembly (Parliament) account on Twitter, quoting Representative Osama Al-Zaid saying that the draft budget for the year that began on the first of April, in which oil revenues amounted to 17 billion dinars, a decrease of 19.5 percent from the budget. previous.
- IRGC Seizes Foreign Tanker Smuggling Fuel in Persian Gulf (Tasnim News Agency). The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy has seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, smuggling over one million liters of fuel. The IRGC Navy’s second naval zone commander stated that the foreign vessel was receiving military support from the US forces. Still, the IRGC Navy’s actions prevented the Americans from interfering with the seizure. The US forces took unprofessional and dangerous measures to stop the legal seizure of the fuel. Still, the IRGC forces acted professionally and brought the oil tanker to the Bushehr port for legal procedures. This incident follows a previous act of piracy by American forces targeting an Iranian fuel shipment in October 2021.
- Iran Accuses U.S. Navy of Defending Fuel Smuggling in Gulf Incident (Reuters). An Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander accused the U.S. Navy of defending fuel smuggling in the Gulf after Iran intercepted a ship smuggling Iranian oil and gas. The commander claimed the U.S. Navy attempted to prevent the vessel’s seizure through unprofessional and risky actions. The U.S. Navy had previously stated that it had monitored the interception but decided not to respond further. This incident is one of several recent cases involving Iranian forces and Gulf shipping.
- Iran Says Downed Ukrainian Airliner Case Filed With ICJ Is ‘Political’ (Iran International). Iran has dismissed a lawsuit filed with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by the UK, Canada, Ukraine, and Sweden over the downing of a Ukrainian airliner in 2020 as politically motivated. The countries accuse Iran of violating obligations under the Montreal Convention and failing to conduct a fair investigation. Iran’s foreign ministry maintains that it took necessary actions to investigate the incident, but the other countries claim that Iran has not cooperated in allowing an independent investigation. The case reflects growing frustration and fatigue among the countries seeking justice for the victims’ families.
- Syrian Opposition Seizes 60 kg of “Afghan Paste” Drugs in Northeast Syria (Syria TV). On Monday, the Ministry of Defense of the Syrian Interim Government announced the seizure of 60 kilograms of “Afghan paste” narcotics in Tal Abyad, north of Raqqa, located within northeastern Syria’s “Peace Spring” operations area. The ministry said…that the military police forces in Tal Abyad thwarted an attempt to smuggle the 60 kg of drugs (Afghan paste) coming from the areas controlled by the “SDF” to Turkish territory.
- Iraq Loses 5000 MW of Power as Iran Decreases Gas Supply (Rudaw). Iraq’s electricity ministry on Tuesday announced that the country had lost nearly five thousand megawatts of power due to Iran limiting the amount of gas exports to its neighboring country. Iran has repeatedly decreased the amount of natural gas it supplies to Iraq over the past few years, sometimes choosing to cut the exports entirely, citing Baghdad’s nonpayment of its debts to Tehran for gas imports.
- Iraq Signs $27B Investment Contracts with France’s Total (Elaph). On Monday, Iraq signed with the French oil company Total investment contracts worth $27 billion in oil, gas, and electric power production. Today, the agreements were signed in Baghdad under Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs and Iraqi Oil Minister Hayan Abdul-Ghani, Chairman and CEO of Total Energy, Patrick Pouyan.
- After Israel Demands Removal of Hizballah Border Tents, Lebanon Demands Demarcation of Land Border (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Lebanon responded to Israeli demands to remove two Hezbollah tents that it had set up in the border area of the Shebaa Farms by demanding a full demarcation of the land borders with Israel and the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the northern part of the village of Ghajar, the Shebaa farms, and the Kafar Shouba hills, which Lebanon considers occupied. The diplomatic and security movement intensified towards Beirut to ease the tension resulting from new Israeli measures in the northern part of the occupied town of Ghajar in southeastern Lebanon and two tents erected by Hezbollah in the disputed Sheba Farms area.
- UN Relays Israeli Request to Remove Hezbollah Tent, As Beirut Counters with Demands (Times of Israel). Two tents manned by armed Hezbollah members were discovered in early June on Israeli territory north of the internationally recognized border (the so-called Blue Line) in the contested Mount Dov region, also known as the Shebaa Farms…In the meantime, one tent was removed after Israel reportedly sent a message to Hezbollah threatening an armed confrontation if it did not remove the outpost soon.