ACLS

THE EARLY PHOENIX – June 07, 2023

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

TOP HEADLINES:

IRAN

  1. Iran Set to Reopen Embassy in Saudi Arabia after 7 Years of Closure (Al Monitor). Iran will reopen its diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said, months after the two countries signed a China-brokered agreement to restore ties after a seven-year rupture.
  2. Iran Unveils Claimed Hypersonic Missile, Says it Can Evade All Air Defenses (Times of Israel). Iran claimed on Tuesday that it had created a hypersonic missile capable of traveling at 15 times the speed of sound, adding a new weapon to its arsenal as tensions remain high with the United States and Israel over Tehran’s nuclear program.
  3. Iran, Turkey Weigh Plans for Closer Regional Cooperation (Ground). The Iranian foreign minister and his new Turkish counterpart discussed ways to promote interaction between the two neighbors, including their regional cooperation.
  4. Iran-Afghan Water Tensions Surge Amid Drought, Complicating Taliban Ties (Al Monitor). Tensions have escalated between Tehran and the Taliban regime in Kabul over the distribution of their shared waters. As Iran faces increasing water scarcity issues, Afghanistan is trying to dam water sources as much as possible to generate electricity and irrigate agricultural land. 

GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. PGA Tour Agrees to Merge with Saudi-backed Rival LIV Golf (Cnbc). The PGA Tour has agreed to merge with Saudi-backed rival LIV Golf in a deal that would see the competitors quash pending litigation and move forward as a larger golf enterprise.
  2. Kuwait: Opening Ballot Boxes to Select Members of the National Assembly (New Arab). At precisely eight o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, the polls opened in Kuwait for citizens to choose 50 members of the National Assembly (Parliament) from among 207 candidates, including 13 women, distributed among the five constituencies, in a total number that is the weakest since the July elections. July 2013 witnessed, for the first time, signs of the opposition breaking the boycott of the elections, amid fears of voter reluctance and a decline in the turnout in the polls.
  3. Amid Talk of Normalization Deal with Israel, Blinken Departs for Saudi Arabia (Times of Israel). US Secretary of State says Washington ‘has a real national security interest’ in a Riyadh-Jerusalem agreement, but White House officials have downplayed reports of an imminent deal.
  4. Karim Benzema signed with the Saudi Federation for 3 Years (Sky News). Benzema signed his transfer contracts for the federation for three years, starting next season, without specifying the deal’s value.
  5. Qatar is Preparing for a Strategic Dialogue with France and an American Gulf Meeting (Alkhaleej Online). Qatar announced that it would participate in a meeting in Saudi Arabia that brings together the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the United States. It also revealed the date for the second strategic dialogue session with France.

TURKIYE

  1. US-based Exec considered Potential Pick to Run Turkish Central Bank (Daily Sabah). Türkiye’s newly appointed Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has met Hafize Gaye Erkan, a senior finance executive in the U.S., who is considered a potential candidate to become the new central bank governor, media reports claimed Monday.
  2. Renewal of Black Sea Grain Deal Could Hinge on Ammonia Pipeline (Daily Sabah). The potential renewal next month of an agreement permitting secure wartime shipment of grains and fertilizers from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports may depend on the reopening of a pipeline that transports Russian ammonia to one of those Ukrainian ports. The United Nations and Türkiye brokered the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 120 days last July to help tackle a global food crisis worsened by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s leading grain exporters. It has been extended three times since, most recently until July 17.

SYRIA

  1. The founding Conference of the Syrian Civilian Platform… a Search for a Political Role (New Arab). Representatives of about 150 Syrian civil society organizations entered a hall inside the Arab World Institute in the French capital, Paris, on Tuesday to hold the founding conference of the “Civil” initiative after they held a closed meeting yesterday at the same institute.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Israel-Egypt security cooperation rattled but steady after the border attack (Al Monitor). Israeli security experts believe that the strategic partnership with Egypt will not be harmed by a deadly incident on Saturday morning when an Egyptian police officer crossed the border fence and killed three Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers on Israeli territory. 
  2. Drone Taxis Take First Test Spin in Israel in Bid to Ease Traffic Congestion (Times of Israel). Israel has started test flights of autonomous aircraft that can carry passengers and heavy cargo as the country prepares its national airspace for air taxi transportation and multiple drone delivery services.
  3. Israeli Arab Killed in Third Shooting in 24 Hours (Jerusalem Post). An Israeli Arab man named Khaled Halabi was killed in a shooting in the village of Khawaled in northern Israel on Monday, according to Israel Police.

EGYPT AND NORTH AFRICA 

  1. Netanyahu and Sisi Speak in the Wake of Deadly Border Attack, Reaffirm Security Bond (Times of Israel). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone Tuesday with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in the aftermath of the slaying of three Israel Defense forces soldiers by an Egyptian policeman who crossed the border.
  2. Egypt Faces the Dilemma of Paying off External Debt After a Borrowing Spree (New Arab). Egypt is facing an increasingly difficult task, day by day, to collect the liquidity required to pay its foreign debt bill after external borrowing increased fourfold in the past eight years, to contribute to financing the construction of new capital, the construction of infrastructure, the purchase of weapons, and the support of an overvalued currency.
  3. Indirect Talks Resume Between Sudanese Army and Rapid Support Forces (Alarabiya). Today, Tuesday, sources for Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath channels confirmed the return of indirect talks between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces under the auspices of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.

LEBANON

  1. Meet Lebanon’s Jihad Azour, Christian Opposition Candidate for President (Al Monitor). Lebanon’s central Christian and opposition parties have officially endorsed the former minister and International Monetary Fund (IMF) official Jihad Azour as a presidential candidate this week, signaling a rare unified moment around a technocratic figure in an attempt to break the ongoing deadlock in the process.
  2. Lebanese Delegation Heading to Damascus Soon to Discuss Syrian Refugees (Syria TV). The Lebanese Minister of the Displaced, Issam Sharaf al-Din, said on Monday that preparations are underway for an official Lebanese delegation to visit Damascus to discuss important issues, on top of which is the file of the Syrian refugees.
  3. Michel Aoun goes to Syria to meet Assad (Enab Baladi). Lebanese and Syrian media said that the former Lebanese president went to Syria this morning, accompanied by the former Minister of State for Lebanese Presidential Affairs, Pierre Raffoul, to meet with the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad.
  4. France to Seek Removal of Lebanese Ambassador’s Immunity After Rape Accusation (Nahar Net). French authorities will on Monday ask Lebanon to lift the immunity of Beirut’s ambassador to Paris after an investigation was opened into the alleged rape and intentional violence by the envoy, a source said.

IRAQ

  1. Iraq Appoints New Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (Iraqi News). On Monday, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the diplomatic credentials of the new Iraqi Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Safia Taleb Al-Suhail.

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