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THE EARLY PHOENIX – July 5, 2023

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TOP HEADLINES:

ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Iran Seeks to Expand Violence in West Bank and Beyond (Iran International). Israeli General Yehuda Fuchs, responsible for troops in the West Bank, has accused Iran of attempting to incite violence and terrorism in the region. Fuchs stated that Islamic Jihad and Hamas operate in the West Bank with financial support from Iran. Israel has taken action against terrorists regardless of location and recently launched drone strikes and deployed troops in Jenin. Israeli officials clarify that the operation targets proxy militias, not Palestinian civilians. The operation, aimed at dismantling weapon stockpiles, is expected to end soon, with Palestinian militants fleeing or hiding. At least ten militants have been killed and 30 injured in the operation.
  2. Eight Hurt in Palestinian Car-Ramming, and Stabbing in Tel Aviv (Jerusalem Post). A Palestinian attacker rammed a pickup truck into pedestrians in Tel Aviv and proceeded to carry out a stabbing spree, injuring eight people. The attack was claimed by Hamas, who stated that it was in retaliation for an ongoing military raid in the West Bank town of Jenin. The Palestinian attacker, a 20-year-old from the West Bank, was shot dead by an armed civilian. Israel’s security agency reported that the attacker entered Israel without a permit and had no previous security offenses. The incident prompted calls from Israel’s far-right police minister for citizens to carry weapons to prevent such attacks.
  3. Military Begins Withdrawing Forces from Jenin after 44 Hours (Times of Israel). Israeli military forces have begun withdrawing from the West Bank city of Jenin after a 44-hour-long operation. Some forces have already left the area, but sporadic clashes with Palestinian media have been reported as troops leave the city. During the operation, the Israel Defense Forces questioned over 300 suspects and arrested 30. The IDF located and destroyed weapon storage sites, explosives labs, war rooms, and other “terror infrastructure.” They seized firearms and carried out drone strikes. Palestinian health officials reported 11 deaths and over 100 injuries, with some noncombatants among the wounded. The IDF stated that the operation is part of ongoing efforts to facilitate future operations in Jenin.
  4. Israel to Build a Subsea Electric Cable with a Possible Europe Link (Reuters). Israel has announced plans to construct an underwater electric cable along its Mediterranean coast, enabling it to connect to European electricity grids. The proposed cable, spanning 150 km (93 miles), will transport electricity from solar energy farms in Israel’s Negev desert to cities in the central and northern regions. Additionally, Israel is working on establishing a connection to networks in Cyprus and Greece. The project is part of a larger initiative by Israel to establish grid connections with neighboring countries, including Egypt, Jordan, and Gulf countries.

TURKIYE

  1. Greece is Ready to Talk with Türkiye to Resolve the Sea Borders Dispute (Daily Sabah). Greece’s newly appointed Foreign Minister, Giorgos Gerapetritis, has announced that Athens is ready to talk with Turkiye to resolve the longstanding dispute over maritime borders. Greece aims to reach an agreement on delineating exclusive economic rights, including natural gas exploration, taking advantage of the current positive climate. The dispute revolves around contested areas with potential gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean. Another critical issue is the extent of the continental shelf and Greek sovereign territory near Turkiye’s coastline. Gerapetritis stated that Greece is willing to pursue rapprochement if Turkiye shares the same intention. Both countries have expressed hope for improved relations following recent positive developments.
  2. Türkiye and Egypt Raise Diplomatic Ties to the Level of Embassies (Anadolu Agency). Turkiye and Egypt have elevated their diplomatic relations to the level of embassies. The two countries have nominated ambassadors to each other’s capitals, indicating a step towards normalization and developing bilateral relations. Previously, diplomatic relations had been at the level of charges d’affaires since 2013.

EGPYT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Tribal Leaders Sided with the Rapid Support Forces, and the Army Opened its Camps to Recruit Citizens (Al Rakoba News). In a development that portends an escalation of the conflict in Sudan, several tribal leaders in the Darfur region, in the west of the country, announced their support for “Quick Support,” calling on their members of the army to align themselves with the forces led by Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” in When the head of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, called on the youth, and everyone who can bear arms, to join the army. 
  2. Egypt to Invest $1.8 Bln in 35 New Natural Gas Wells By 2025 (Ahram Online). Egypt plans to dig 35 new exploratory natural gas wells in the Mediterranean and the Nile Delta by 2025 with $1.8 billion in investments, said Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla. According to the plan, 21 wells will be completed during the fiscal year 2023/2024 and 14 in 2024/2025. El-Molla’s comments came during an interview with Emirates News Agency (WAM) on Tuesday, on the sidelines of his participation in the 8th OPEC International Seminar.
  3. Weak Exports Exacerbate the Egyptian Trade Balance Deficit in April (Sky News). Data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics showed an increase in the value of the trade balance deficit in Egypt during April by 23.8 percent. The increase in the trade deficit in Egypt came after the decrease in exports last April by 44.9 percent, to reach $3.03 billion, compared to $5.5 billion in the same month of 2022.

THE GULF & YEMEN

  1. Erdogan Will Visit Abu Dhabi Soon to Sign Comprehensive Agreements (Al Khaleej Online). A senior Turkish government official revealed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the UAE after two weeks, including signing comprehensive bilateral agreements. This came in a press statement by the Turkish Minister of Treasury and Finance, Mehmet Simsek, after the meeting of the Turkish government headed by Erdogan on Monday evening.
  2. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Russia…A Tripartite Bloc that Guarantees the Oil Market and Prices (Echorouk Online). The fluctuations of the international oil market showed that there is a trio that has been working for years, each according to its capabilities, to stabilize prices, and it is related to Algeria, Russia, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia within the framework of what has become known as the “OPEC +” alliance.

IRAN 

  1. Iran Joins Shanghai Cooperation Pact, Hoping to Reduce Isolation (Iran International). Iran has joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), marking its first regional pact membership since the 1979 revolution. The SCO, consisting of Russia, China, and Central Asian nations, aims to promote cooperation against extremism. Iran sees its SCO membership as an achievement for its Eastern-oriented foreign and economic policy. However, the influence of both Russia and Iran has been challenged by diplomatic and economic isolation. While the SCO aims to expand its membership, doubts still need to be made about the impact of Iran’s inclusion.

SYRIA

  1. A Jordanian Agreement With the Syrian Regime to Form a Joint Committee to Combat Drug Trafficking (Syria TV ). Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi announced the formation of a joint committee with the Syrian regime to combat drug trafficking, noting that its first meeting will be held in the Jordanian capital, Amman. At the end of his visit to Syria, and after he met with Bashar al-Assad, Safadi held a press conference with Faisal al-Miqdad, in which he said that he discussed with al-Assad “the danger posed by drug smuggling across the Syrian border to Jordan, and the need for cooperation in confronting it.”
  2. Saudi Arabia Agrees to Restart Flights With Syria (Ronahi TV ). The director of the Civil Aviation Corporation of the Damascus government announced, Basem Mansour, on Saudi Arabia’s agreement to restart flights with Syria. Mansour indicated that the Arab Civil Aviation Organization of the Arab League had informed the Syrian side of the return of all its activities and events. He also confirmed that the corporation began preparing its offices in the capital, Riyadh, to start flights between the two countries within a few days after the two companies, “Syrian Airlines and Cham Wings,” completed the necessary preparations to start operating flights.

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