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THE EARLY PHOENIX – July 14, 2023

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TOP HEADLINES:

TURKIYE

  1. Türkiye More Hopeful Than Ever on US F-16 Sales (Daily Sabah). President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed hope for favorable results in the US F-16 fighter jet sale to Turkiye following discussions with President Joe Biden. Erdoğan expects a clear stance from all NATO allies on terrorism and against distorted relations with the PYD and YPG. He also expects Sweden to take concrete steps against terrorism in return for Ankara ratifying Stockholm’s NATO accession. The Turkish Parliament has the final say on the Swedish NATO bid.
  2. Türkiye Rejects UNSC’s Violation of Turkish Cypriots’ Sovereign Equality (TRT World). Türkiye has criticized the UN Security Council’s statement on Cyprus, claiming it violates Turkish Cypriots’ sovereign equality. The Turkish Foreign Ministry criticized the UN Security Council’s stance on the island, stating that it is distant from reality and disregards the Turkish Cypriots’ sovereignty. 

ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. High Court to Debate Petition Seeking Netanyahu’s Removal Over Conflict of Interest (Times of Israel). The High Court of Justice has decided to hear a petition demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s removal due to alleged conflict of interest violations. The agreement, signed with former attorney general Avichai Mandelblit, requires Netanyahu to avoid involvement in judicial legislation that could affect his cases. The court has not set a date for the hearing. The Knesset had passed a law to shield Netanyahu from being removed from office for breaking the agreement’s boundaries.

Egypt & North Africa

  1. “Neighbourhood Summit” Launches a Mechanism to Prevent the Disintegration of Sudan (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The “Sudan’s Neighboring Countries Summit,” which was held in Cairo at the invitation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, agreed to “form a ministerial mechanism on the Sudanese crisis at the level of the foreign ministers of neighboring countries, whose first meeting will be in Chad.” Its mission is to develop an executive action plan to stop the fighting and reach a comprehensive solution to the crisis, through direct communication with the various Sudanese parties in complementarity with the existing mechanisms, including IGAD and the African Union.
  2. Tunisia, Egypt Negotiate Launch of Direct Marine Line (Egypt Independent). Tunisia and Egypt are holding advanced discussions on transport sector cooperation. Tunisian Minister of Transport Rabie Majidi revealed and referred to negotiations to launch a direct marine line between the two countries. Majidi explained that the two countries discussed establishing logistical areas for transporting and processing goods, which is expected to culminate in the signing of agreements. Discussions are also being held related to the civil aviation sector, specifically about coordination between air carriers to restore air traffic between the two countries to its previous pace, Majidi added.
  3. Egypt and Ethiopia Pledge to Complete Renaissance Dam Agreement Within Four Months (Al Arabiya). The two sides agreed to start urgent negotiations to finalize the agreement between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to fill the Renaissance Dam and the rules for its operation and to make all necessary efforts to finish it within 4 months.

THE GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Violent Protests Erupt in Yemen as Rial Hits Record Low (Arab News). Protests erupted in many Yemeni cities controlled by the internationally recognized government on Wednesday, as the Yemeni rial fell to a new low. The rial sank to 1,500 per dollar in Aden and other cities, plummeting from the May figure of 1,300 and ending months of stability. Angry demonstrators blocked key roads and set tires on fire in Aden and Al-Mukalla, while businesses, exchange firms and shops closed their doors in protest at the currency’s depreciation. Local trade unions and social media users have called for widespread protests and civil disobedience in government-controlled areas until the Yemeni government intervenes.
  2. Government Soldiers Injured in Clashes with Al-Qaeda Militants in S. Yemen (Xinhua) Five soldiers from the Yemeni government forces were critically injured in clashes with militants of the Yemeni branch of al-Qaeda. “Scores of al-Qaeda militants tried to launch a large-scale attack on the government-controlled sites in the Al Mahfid district of Abyan Province, sparking intense armed confrontations,” the local military official said on condition of anonymity. After hours of fighting, the government troops thwarted the attack of the al-Qaeda militants, who were forced to retreat to their mountainous hideouts, said the official, adding government soldiers inflicted heavy casualties on the militants.
  3. Kuwait and Britain are Discussing Strengthening Cooperation in the Field of Investment (Kl Youm). Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Abdullah discussed with British Investment Minister Dominic Johnson the strengthening of relations between the two countries in various vital financial and investment sectors. And according to what was reported by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on Wednesday, the two ministers’ meeting came within the framework of the official visit Johnson and his accompanying delegation are making to Kuwait.
  4. Minister: France Strengthens Trade Relations With the UAE and Qatar (Riyad Herald). Trade relations between France and Gulf Arab states, notably Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are expanding yearly, the French Minister of Trade told AFP on Thursday, hailing the deepening partnership as “good news.” During a visit to the UAE, Olivier Pechet said French-Emirati trade relations total more than 7 billion euros annually, up from 6 billion euros before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. Central Bank of Yemen Calls on UAE to Support the Rial Quickly (Sahafa). The Central Bank of Yemen called on the UAE to quickly support the rial, blaming the Houthi group for the deterioration of the economy and the country’s currency.This came during an “extraordinary” meeting held by the bank’s board of directors on Wednesday, during which it discussed economic developments and foreign exchange markets against the Yemeni riyal, according to a statement on its website.

IRAN

  1. Khamenei Advisor Accuses NATO of Plots in the Caucasus (Tehran Times). Ali Akbar Velayati, senior adviser to Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, emphasizes the need for vigilance among all parties, including Iran and Russia, regarding NATO’s plots and the future of the Caucasus. In an article for the Tasnim news agency, Velayati has offered an analysis of the latest situation in the region and the international system, touching on issues ranging from recent moves by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Turkey, and the Republic of Azerbaijan in the region to the north of Iran and south of Russia.
  2. Backlash Against Russia Over GCC Statement Highlights Lingering Iranian Mistrust (Amwaj Media). Iran has criticized Russia over a joint statement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that disputes Iranian sovereignty over three Gulf islands. The controversy highlights the complexities and instability of the growing Iranian-Russian partnership. Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the statement, which contested Iran’s claim over Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb. The Iranian press and social media have expressed strong reactions, with some calling for limiting engagement with Russia and preventing Russian interference in the Persian Gulf.
  3. Iran and Iraq Emphasize Broadening Cooperation in ICT Field (Tasnim News Agency). Iran and Iraq’s ICT ministers discussed expanding bilateral relations in ICT, focusing on facilitating pilgrim communications and presenting high-quality services during the Arbaeen season. Iranian private companies showcased their digital economy achievements. During the meeting, the two sides weighed plans for expanding bilateral relations in the relevant field.
  4. Africa is a Proper Market for Iranian Products (Tehran Times). Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is visiting Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe to boost Iran’s presence in Africa’s $60 billion economy. The visit will increase Iranian traders’ and businessmen’s activity in Africa. Iran has maintained its principled policy towards Africa despite sanctions and economic crises. The trade between Iran and Africa has experienced 100% growth in recent years. Iran exported 2.452 million tons of products valued at $1.183 billion to 49 African countries and imported 92,898 tons worth $95.316 million from 23 African countries.
  5. UK Scientist Revealed Advanced Jet Research in Tehran Lecture (Jewish Chronicle). A top aviation scientist from a British university linked to the Ministry of Defence shared “the latest ideas and research” on Western jet engines at an Iranian college sanctioned for its role in the regime’s nuclear weapons programme, JC revealed. Dr Soheil Jafari, who is based at the Centre for Propulsion and Thermal Power Engineering at Cranfield University, gave the lecture via videolink in December 2020 at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, despite its links with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The disclosures come as the government announced that it would impose new sanctions on the regime — including broader powers targeting its efforts to proliferate arms and weapons technology — rather than heed widespread calls to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist group.
  6. Iran Rejects Claims in NATO Summit Communique (IFP News). Iran’s Embassy in Brussels has rejected claims made against Tehran in the final communique of the summit of NATO heads of state and government in Lithuania. In a final communique on Tuesday, the heads of state and government of NATO countries expressed concern about Iran’s “escalation of its nuclear programme,” and what they called “malicious activities within Allied territory,” support for Russia, and “destabilizing actions, including seizures of maritime vessels,” in the Persian Gulf region.
  7. Iran’s Raisi Says West Putting Independent Countries under Pressure (IFP News). Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says Western countries use a raft of measures to put independent states under pressure. Western countries, he said, attack family values, promote “the obnoxious phenomenon” of homosexuality, support radicalism and terrorism, and exploit human rights as an instrument. Raisi, who was speaking at a joint meeting of high-ranking Iranian and Ugandan officials in the African state on Wednesday, said such independent countries as Iran and Uganda had to increase cultural cooperation to fight off enemy pressure. 

SYRIA

  1. The UAE Announces the end of Operation “The Gallant Knight” in Syria and Turkiye (Enab Baladi). The Joint Operations Command of the UAE Ministry of Defense announced the end of Operation “The Gallant Knight 2”, more than five months after it was launched to provide relief to the earthquake victims in Syria and Turkiye. Today, Thursday, July 13, the UAE Ministry of Defense stated that its operation, classified as “one of the most successful operations of the National Institution,” took place in coordination with the “authorities” from the two affected countries.

IRAQ

  1. Iraqi Central Bank Says Rise in the Dollar Due to the Large Volume of Trade with Iran, Turkiye and Syria. (Al Mustaqila). The Central Bank of Iraq revealed that the rejection of Iraqi trade transfers from the US Federal Reserve via the electronic platform has declined to 8 percent, while the reason for the rise in the dollar in parallel markets is attributed to the large volume of trade with Iran, Turkiye and Syria which are under multiple US restrictions. The general manager of investments at the bank, Mazen Sabah Ahmed, said, “The refusal of Iraqi transfers by the US Federal Reserve through the electronic platform decreased from 80 percent to 8 percent.”
  2. Kurdistan Regional Government Says Preparations for Exporting Oil to Türkiye have been Completed in Coordination with “SOMO” (Al Iraq News). The acting Minister of Natural Resources in the Kurdistan Regional Government, Kamal Muhammad Salih, said in a statement that “a high-ranking Turkish delegation will visit Iraq to discuss the oil file.” Iraq recently won an arbitration case that it filed before the Arbitral Tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris against Ankara regarding the export of crude oil from the Kurdistan region through the Turkish port of Ceyhan without referring to the Iraqi Oil Marketing Company.

LEBANON

  1. Gemayel Tells Qatari Ambassador: We Reject any President Imposed by Hezbollah (Al Nahar). The head of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, Representative #Sami Gemayel, met the Qatari ambassador to Lebanon, Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Sahlawi, on a farewell visit, during which they discussed the latest developments, especially the presidential election file before the Committee of Five convenes in Doha next week. The meeting was attended by MPs Nadim Gemayel and Elias Hanakash, former minister Alan Hakim, head of the foreign relations apparatus in the Kataeb, Michel Abu Abdullah, and coordinator of foreign relations, Marwan Abdullah. 
  2. Nasrallah: ‘If Israel Clears out tents, It Won’t Go Unnoticed’ (Arutz Sheva). Hezbollah’s leader warns Israel against removing Hezbollah tents across the Blue Line near Mt. Dov. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah commented for the first time, in a speech he gave to mark the 17th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, to the confrontation with Israel around the tents that the organization set up on Mount Dov. “If Israel takes action against the tents that have been set up across the blue line – it will not go unnoticed. This is Lebanese land and must be in Lebanon’s hands at any cost and it is Hezbollah’s responsibility to do so. We will also return our land in Ghajar in cooperation with the Lebanese government,” Nasrallah stated.

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