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THE EARLY PHOENIX June 06, 2023

THE EARLY PHOENIX June 06, 2023

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Media Intercepts of the Most Notable Events from the Middle East Selected by ACLS Experts

TOP HEADLINES:

GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Oil Prices Rise After Saudi Arabia Pledged to Reduce Production (Al Khaleej Online). Oil prices rose by more than $2 a barrel in early Asian trading today, Monday, after Saudi Arabia said it would cut supplies by one million barrels per day in July.
  2. Saudi Arabia to Build $1 Billion Project in Baghdad (Iraqi News). The Saudi Ambassador to Iraq, Abdulaziz Al-Shammari, announced on Sunday that Saudi Arabia signed a contract with Iraq to build a mega project near Baghdad International Airport. The vast project is worth approximately $1 billion. The project is called Baghdad Avenue and is expected to be the largest shopping mall in Iraq.

TURKIYE

  1. Russia Sees No Prospects for Extension of Black Sea Grain Deal (Daily Sabah). Russia on Monday said it sees no prospects for extending the crucial wartime Black Sea grain export deal, which is set to expire in mid-July, Russian news agencies reported.
  2. Inflation in Turkiye Drops Below 40% in May as Erdogan Forms Economic Team (Al Monitor). Turkey’s year-on-year inflation dropped to 39.59% in May, official data released on Monday showed, broadly in line with expectations after the government made natural gas free to offset price rises.   

IRAN

  1. US, UK Navies Act As Iran Harasses Commercial Vessel (Iran International). US and UK navies acted when a merchant ship was being harassed by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz in a sign of a more aggressive policy in the Persian Gulf. The vessel sent a distress call on June 4…“The internationally flagged merchant vessel made a radio distress call at 4:56 p.m. local time while transiting the narrow strait. The civilian crew reported three fast-attack craft with armed personnel approached and followed the merchant vessel at close distance. The fast-attack craft were assessed to be from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy,” a US navy statement said. US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul and UK Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster both received the distress call, and Lancaster launched a helicopter to provide surveillance. US 5th Fleet also directed a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to monitor the scene, the Navy said.
  2. IRGC Refutes Story on Presence of Foreign Ships as It Responded to Distress Call (Tasnim News). The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy rejected media stories on the presence of extra-regional naval vessels near the Strait of Hormuz when the Iranian forces responded to a distress call from a Marshall Islands-flagged ship.
  3. Iran Cashes In On Russia Running Low On Munition (Iran International). Documents seen by the UK’s Sky News suggest that Iran is profiteering from Russia’s war in Ukraine. Overpriced ammunition shows the cash-strapped regime is able to charge over the going price as fellow sanctions-hit Russia runs low on supplies. The 16 pages of top-secret documents, dated September 14, 2022, appears to be for samples of varying sizes of artillery and tank shells and rockets worth just over $1m.

SYRIA

  1. UN official: Syria and Afghanistan are Dangerous, and Refugees Cannot be Forcibly Returned (Orient). After the controversy escalated between the European Union countries about migrants and refugees and the necessity of returning them to their countries for various reasons, a UN official concerned with human rights stated that the conditions in Syria and Afghanistan are dangerous and not ready for the return of refugees to them again. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Volker Türk, said Syria’s human rights situation is hazardous, and migrants cannot be forcibly sent to these two countries for various reasons.
  2. Under the Pretext of a “Refugee Return” Conference, Russia is Strengthening its Influence in Syria (Orient). Russian delegations began to arrive at the airports of Damascus and Latakia, in the areas controlled by the Assad militia, to participate in an “international conference” for the return of Syrian refugees, in addition to strengthening cooperation between the two countries in various fields, according to Assad regime and Russian media outlets.
  3. New American Outposts on Syrian Side of Border with Iraq (Syria TV). The US forces stationed in Iraq intend to build new outposts inside the Syrian territories adjacent to the border strip with Iraq. A leader in the “coordination framework” in Iraq, Jabbar Odeh, said on Sunday that American forces stationed at the Ain al-Assad base, west of Anbar, have been seeking for weeks to build three new outposts on the Iraqi border from the Syrian side, within areas close to the infiltration routes of terrorists.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Israeli Energy Minister Opposes Idea of Civilian Saudi Nuclear Program (Jerusalem Post). Israel’s energy minister voiced opposition on Monday to the idea of Saudi Arabia developing a civilian nuclear program as part of any US-mediated forging of relations between the countries…Pointing to precedents like Iraq and Libya, Israel has long worried that potentially hostile neighbors could use civilian nuclear energy and other projects developed under the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as cover for clandestine bomb-making.
  2. All of Israel would unite to support a strike on Iran – Gantz (Jerusalem Post). All of Israel will match if a strike against Iran is needed, National Unity leader Benny Gantz said at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Monday…“As an opposition leader, I want to emphasize this message: We will do whatever it takes to prevent an existential threat to the State of Israel. We know such action might come at a great cost, but, as always in these matters, all of Israel’s leadership and people will unite,” he stated, adding that such unity is “imperative”…Gantz added: “We cannot allow tactical actions or internal politics to hinder our security.”
  3. UN Nuclear Chief Rebuffs Israeli Criticism on Iran, Says Agency Fair But Firm (Times of Israel). The International Atomic Energy Agency will “never politicize” its work in Iran, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog says, insisting after Israel’s prime minister accused it of capitulating to Iranian pressure that his agency has been “very fair but firm.”

EGYPT AND NORTH AFRICA 

  1. Khartoum Fighting Escalates as Truce Expires (Sky News Arabic). Residents of the Sudanese capital said that fighting intensified in several areas of Khartoum on Sunday after the end of a ceasefire. At the same time, activists indicated that new violence broke out in North Darfur state, killing at least 40 people, while the rainy season may exacerbate the humanitarian crisis.
  2. Egypt is Expanding Investments in Army Companies Instead of Private Sector (New Arab). The Egyptian government has expanded new investments in companies owned by the army, in partnership with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, instead of the private sector, despite the government’s repeated pledges about the importance of this sector and its commitment to making room for strengthening its role in economic activity.
  3. Israel Hands Over Body of Egyptian Soldier Killed in Border Incident (Sky News Arabic). On Monday, Israeli TV channel 12 said that Israel returned the body of the Egyptian soldier who carried out the operation on the border, which resulted in the killing of 3 Israeli soldiers.

LEBANON

  1. Berri Schedules June 14 Presidential Election Session (Nahar Net). Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Monday called for a June 14 presidential election session, a day after the opposition officially endorsed ex-minister Jihad Azour as its presidential candidate.

IRAQ

  1. New Iraqi Civil Group Warns of “Parallel Armies” in Iraq (New Arab). A new Iraqi civil group in Baghdad warned on Monday of what it described as “the creation of parallel armies” to the Iraqi army in the country, about the support of the armed factions and groups, and the expansion of their military arsenal and personnel base. The “Rejection group,” which includes Iraqi journalists and liberal and civil activists, held a press conference…demanding the use of constitutional options to build the state and establish a new governance system.

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