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THE EARLY PHOENIX – June 15, 2023

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TOP HEADLINES:

TURKIYE

  1. Erdogan Says Sweden Must Do Its Part on Terrorism for NATO Bid (Anadolu Agency). Erdogan told reporters, ahead of a meeting of a joint mechanism of Türkiye, Sweden, and Finland set for Wednesday in the Turkish capital Ankara, “The expectations of Sweden do not mean that we will comply with these expectations. For us to comply with these expectations, Sweden must first do its part.” Erdogan also called on Stockholm to use Swedish police to prevent PKK terrorists from operating there. 
  2. PKK Ends its Unilateral Ceasefire with Turkiye (Elaph). The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging an armed conflict against the Turkish army since 1984, has announced the end of a unilateral ceasefire declared in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake on February 6…On Tuesday, the “Kurdistan Community Organization” supervising the entire Kurdish rebel movement, including the PKK, denounced the occurrence of a “new wave of attacks” by the Turkish forces and decided to “end the decision to stop military operations,” according to what was stated in a statement published by the agency. “Furat” pro-Kurdish news.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Opposition Knesset Member Wins Judicial Selection Committee Seat in Crucial Vote (The Jerusalem Post). Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharrar was chosen to represent the opposition in the Judicial Selection Committee after the Knesset voted 58-56 in her favor in a dramatic day of voting in the Knesset…The judicial reform negotiations at the President’s Residence are on the brink of collapse after the fateful vote for the second Knesset representatives on the Judicial Selection Committee was postponed for a month following a dramatic morning on Wednesday in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leaders of coalition parties tried to find a way out of a complex political crisis.
  2. Netanyahu Chose War Against Democracy, Israeli Protest Leaders Say After Knesset Vote (The Jerusalem Post). The anti-judicial reform protest movements said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose a “war against democracy” after his coalition delayed a vote on the Judicial Selection Committee, but not before allowing opposition MK Karin Elharrar to win a seat in the coveted committee…” Netanyahu decided to destroy the country – only the public can save Israel from a dark dictatorship,” said the protest movements. “Today it became clear that Netanyahu is trying to seize the committee and appoint judges of his liking…we will fight this on every front and come out victorious.”
  3. Israel Records $12.5 Billion in Defense Exports, 25% to Arab Neighbors (The Jerusalem Post). Though the report did not name countries, it is known that the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have purchased defense products, and Morocco and Sudan are also part of the Abraham Accords…Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said, “The remarkable data unveiled by the Israeli defense establishment, reaching new heights in defense exports, showcases the State of Israel’s strength and excellent technological capabilities. Through the creativity and innovation of the Israeli defense establishment and the Ministry of Defense, we outpace our adversaries and sustain our qualitative edge.”

EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Egypt, South Korea Sign $460 Million Deal to Supply 320 Metro Carriages to Egypt (Egypt Independent). The deal will be through the concessional financing window provided by the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of the Export-Import Bank of Korea. In a statement, the International Cooperation Ministry said the deal falls within the framework of the strategic cooperation and partnership between the two countries, and after the Korean government has designated Egypt as an Official Development Assistance (ODA) priority partner for 2021-2025.
  2. Algerian President Begins Three-Day Visit to Russia (Al Shrooq). President Tebboune arrived in the Russian capital, Moscow, on Tuesday evening, within the framework of a three-day state visit at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. During this visit, the Algerian president will participate in the work of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, according to a statement by the presidency.
  3. Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces Assassinate the Governor of Darfur after a Television Appearance (Cairo 24). Khamis Abkar, the governor of West Darfur in Sudan, was killed after being arrested by the Rapid Support Forces in El Geneina, the center of West Darfur state…The Sudanese army accused the Rapid Support Forces of being behind the killing of the governor of West Darfur, Khamis Abkar, while Nimr Muhammad Abdel Rahman, the governor of North Darfur, confirmed to Cairo 24 that Khamis Abkar was killed at the hands of the Rapid Support Forces.

GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Do Saudi Arabia and Russia Use Oil as a Weapon Against the White House? (Al Khaleej Online). When US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was preparing for his scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia in early June to restore his country’s tense relationship with Riyadh, the news came to him of Riyadh and OPEC+ announcing an additional cut in oil production until the end of 2024, which is the largest since the significant decline during the peak of the Corona pandemic, about two years ago…However, the announcement of the recent reduction sparked a less severe American reaction than similar previous decisions…Western powers had criticized the decisions of the “OPEC +” coalition to reduce oil production, and they believed that there is a Saudi partnership with Russia, especially after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, in February 2022, but Riyadh and other countries in the coalition say: “The organization is not politicized, and only seeks to stabilize energy markets.
  2. Yemeni-American Meetings in Riyadh…UN Envoy Warns of the Fragility of the Truce (Al Sharq Al Awsat). While the UN and international circles hope to launch a comprehensive path to peace in Yemen despite the intransigence of the Houthi putschists, the US envoy, Tim Linderking, met in Riyadh on Wednesday with the Yemeni leadership, in conjunction with the UN envoy Hans Grundberg’s warnings from The Hague regarding the fragility of the Yemeni truce and the growing economic war…the Presidential Leadership Council met with the US envoy, Lenderking, to discuss developments in the Yemeni situation and efforts to revive the peace process in light of the intransigence of the Houthi militia backed by the Iranian regime.
  3. Saudi Crown Prince Heads to France (Elaph). The Saudi Royal Court announced that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman departed to France on an official visit, during which he will meet President Emmanuel Macron…the Crown Prince will lead the Kingdom’s delegation participating in the summit “For a New Global Financial Pact” to be held in Paris on June 22-23.
  4. Saudi Shura Council Calls for Protecting Society from the Effects of Artificial Intelligence (Al Khaleej Online). The Saudi Shura Council called on the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to protect society from an increase in the unemployment rate due to artificial intelligence…This came during a session held by the Council, during which it discussed the annual report of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development for the fiscal year 2022-2023, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

IRAN 

  1. Iran and Egypt’s Foreign Ministers Will Meet, Followed by a Presidential Meeting (Sahafahh). A meeting between the foreign ministers of Egypt and Iran will be followed by a session at the level of the two countries’ presidents. Maliki said, in statements reported by the Asr Iran website, that the foreign ministers of Iran and Egypt will meet soon, and in the next stage, there will be a meeting at a significant level. 
  2. Iranian President Attacks Trump from Venezuela (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Before leaving Venezuela, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attacked a speech recently made by former US President Donald Trump, claiming that he had revealed his “true face and imperial intentions,” calling for a “new world order.”…Raisi arrived in Nicaragua, the second leg of his tour in Latin America, where he was received on Tuesday evening by Foreign Minister Denis Moncada, before meeting his counterpart Daniel Ortega.

SYRIA

  1. Russia Seeks to Accelerate Normalization Between Türkiye and the Syrian Regime (New Arab). After efforts to hold the quadripartite meeting between the deputy foreign ministers of Turkiye, Russia, Iran, and the Syrian regime faltered, as a result of the conditions set by Damascus, sources from both sides spoke of progress in the ongoing consultations to hold this meeting, which is expected to be hosted by the Russian capital, Moscow…Al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the Assad regime, quoted what it described as a Western diplomatic source, saying that consultations regarding the convening of the meeting of the deputy foreign ministers of Turkiye, Russia, Iran, and the Syrian regime are continuing, noting that there is a convergence on several points that have prevented the meeting from taking place so far.
  2. Four SDF Members Killed by Turkish Drone Near Qamishli (Syria TV). An informed source told the Syria TV website, “A Turkish drone targeted with three Avanti missiles, a car carrying four SDF members and leaders near the village of Shorek, east of the city of Qamishli” on Wednesday…The source said there had been much secrecy about the victim’s identity. Still, there are inevitably essential leaders among them, and he explained that it is usual for any leader to be with a driver only. Still, eyewitnesses confirmed that four bodies were recovered from the targeted car.
  3. Autonomous Administration Calls on Russia, the International Coalition, and Assad to Clarify Their Position Regarding Turkish Attacks (Ronahi TV). The Autonomous Administration called on Russia, the International Coalition, and the Damascus government to clarify its position regarding the Turkish escalation and aggression against the regions of northern and eastern Syria and to put pressure on the Turkish side to limit these attacks…Through a statement, the Autonomous Administration said that these attacks are a clear expression of the Turkish mood that yearns for destruction, aggression, and escalation towards the regions of northern and eastern Syria and an unbridled Turkish desire to continue the genocide and work to open several fronts, especially with Erdogan’s arrogance and the start of his new term after the elections.

IRAQ

  1. Iraqi Prime Minister Says Iraqi Government Will Build Headquarters for Popular Mobilization Forces Outside the Cities (Al Hadath). On the occasion of the anniversary of the founding of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Iraq , Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani confirmed that the government is establishing special camps and headquarters for the PMF outside the cities. “The popular mobilization cannot be neglected,” Sudani said in a speech delivered on Wednesday on the occasion of the establishment of the PMF…He also pointed out that “the government is working on a law that guarantees a decent retirement for the people of the PMF.”
  2. Iraqi Security Forces Seize 44,000 Captagon Drug Pills (Iraqi News). Iraqi security forces on Tuesday said they had arrested a trafficker and seized 44,000 captagon tablets meant for sale in the country, where consumption of the amphetamine-like drug has surged…The regional captagon trade has exploded in recent years, and the security service emphasized the pills seized had been meant for sale inside Iraq.

LEBANON

  1. After a Heated Session, Lebanese Parliament Fails to Elect a President (France 24). Lebanese parliamentarians were again unable, for the twelfth time, to elect a president after neither Suleiman Franjieh, the candidate supported by Hezbollah, nor former Finance Minister Jihad Azour obtained a sufficient number of votes to win in a heated parliamentary session on Wednesday…Azour received the support of 59 votes out of 128 deputies in Parliament in a preliminary vote, less than the two-thirds required to win in the first round. In contrast, Franjieh got 51 votes in the first round.

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