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THE EARLY PHOENIX – June 20, 2023

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TOP HEADLINES:

ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Netanyahu’s Coalition Moves to Restart Overhaul, Sets Plan to Limit High Court’s Judicial Review (Times of Israel). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline coalition decided on Monday to reignite its controversial plan to shake up Israel’s judiciary, setting a goal to curtail judicial review of the “reasonableness” of government decisions before the Knesset recess next month…The coalition leaders’ decision likely sounds a death knell for the stalled talks hosted by President Isaac Herzog to work towards a consensus solution.
  2. Fiercest Fighting in Years Erupts in the West Bank City of Jenin, At Least 5 Palestinians Killed (Associated Press). On Monday, the Israeli military raided the West Bank city of Jenin, striking the refugee camp with helicopter gunships. This has triggered the most ferocious fighting in the occupied territory in years, killing five Palestinians, including a 15-year-old boy, and wounding over 91 others, health officials said, including 12 in critical condition. Seven Israeli soldiers were also injured.
  3. Netanyahu Says IDF Training for Possible Fight With Arab Israelis in Wartime (The Times of Israel). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly informed lawmakers that the IDF is training to deploy masses of soldiers to counter a possible fifth column of Arab Israelis fighting inside the country in the event of a multi-front war with enemy states.
  4. Israel Agreed to Give Up Sovereignty in Part of Jerusalem Old City in 2000 — Document (The Times of Israel). Israel agreed in principle to give up its sovereignty in parts of Jerusalem’s Old City, including part of the Temple Mount, during peace negotiations with the Palestinians 23 years ago, according to a newly declassified document. The Israel State Archives on Sunday published Jerusalem’s official response to then-US president Bill Clinton’s Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal in 2000, the Ynet news site reported.

EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Shaky Sudan Truce Holds for Second Day as Donors Set to Meet in Geneva (The New Arab). An international donors’ conference is set to begin in Geneva on Monday for Sudan, where a ceasefire was held. Still, the UN says the humanitarian situation worsens after two months of war…The conference comes midway through a three-day respite which appeared to have brought calm to the capital Khartoum after the failure of earlier truces to ensure secure aid corridors.
  2. Sudanese Army Denies Targeting Red Cross Convoy (Al Hadath). After the Red Cross announced on Monday that gunfire had occurred near a convoy in Sudan that was transporting wounded people at the request of both sides of the conflict, the Sudanese army denied responsibility for the matter…In a statement, he denied any connection to the incident, explaining that the area where the shooting took place was under the control of the Rapid Support Forces.

IRAN

  1. Leaked Documents Show Iran Expected Consequences For Sending Arms To Russia (Iran International). Documents leaked by a hacktivist group show that Iran expected Ukraine to sever diplomatic ties over Tehran’s supply of weapons to Russia. Confidential letters published by the group Uprising till Overthrow revealed that the regime officials are aware their support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine may lead to criminal cases against Tehran for its involvement in the war…Referring to the annulment of at least five agreements between Iran and Ukraine over the issue, the documents pointed out that Kyiv has also sanctioned a large number of Iranian officials and also rejected calls for negotiations by the Islamic Republic.
  2. IRGC Intelligence Chief Claims 20 Countries Involved In Iran Protests (Iran International). Mohammad Kazemi, who took over from Hossein Taeb in July 2022, made the remarks in an interview format with Khamenei.ir, the website of the Supreme Leader…The brigadier general accused 18 countries that supported “the riots” across the country sparked after the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. He named the US, the UK, UAE, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Albania, Australia, Iceland, Italy, Kosovo, Norway, Bahrain, New Zealand and Israel.
  3. Ayatollah Khamenei Says Iran Can Provide Uzbekistan Access to the Sea (Tasnim News Agency). In a Sunday meeting with Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and his accompanying delegation in Tehran, Ayatollah Khamenei stated that the common grounds between Iran and Uzbekistan should be used to expand relations in different sectors. “The Islamic Republic of Iran can easily connect Uzbekistan to open waters through Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Furthermore, the areas of cooperation (between the two countries) are beyond trade and transportation, and more cooperation can be done with various initiatives in science and technology and other sectors,” the Leader stated. 
  4. An Iranian Cargo Plane Lands 6 Times at “Hmeimim” Airbase:  What is Iran Sending to Russia? (Syria TV). An Israeli Institute suggested that in light of the recent news, there is a possibility that the Russians are transporting such equipment/weapons to Ukraine and the Iranians delivered them, or that the military base is used as a “main passage for Iranian weapons to Syria and Hezbollah.”

TURKIYE

  1. Ankara, Baghdad Discuss Resumption of Iraq’s Northern Oil Exports (Daily Sabah). A delegation of Turkish energy officials Monday met with Iraqi oil officials in Baghdad to discuss a resumption of Iraq’s northern oil exports, according to sources…“We are discussing all technical aspects regarding the restarting of oil exports. A decision to resume flows will not happen today, and more meetings are expected,” an oil official familiar with the meeting told Reuters anonymously.
  2. Türkiye, Russia, Iran, Syria to Discuss Syria’s Future in Astana (Daily Sabah). The new round of Astana talks to discuss Syria’s future with the participation of Türkiye, Iran, Russia and Syria will take place in Kazakhstan on June 20-21, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday…The second technical meeting of the Quadripartite Process between the Turkish, Iranian, Russian and Syrian foreign ministries will also take place on the sidelines of the meeting.

SYRIA 

  1. Britain Sanctions Syrian Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff (Deutsche Welle). On Monday, the United Kingdom announced new sanctions against the Syrian Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff of the Syrian Armed Forces, as part of a new package targeting conflict-related sexual violence…The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the sanctions include freezing the assets of General Ali Mahmoud Abbas and General Abdel Karim Mahmoud Ibrahim and preventing them from traveling…The FCDO added that Abbas had “a role in leading the Syrian army and armed forces that have systematically used rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence against civilians.”

GULF REGION & YEMEN

  1. Qatar and UAE Resume Embassy Operations (Al Nahar). Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that Qatar and the UAE agreed to restore diplomatic representation by resuming the work of the two countries’ embassies, starting today, June 19.
  2. Saudi-French Investment Forum Promises New Partnerships (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The investment forums hosted periodically in the French capital have rarely known the turnout witnessed by the “Saudi-French Investment Forum,” which was held in Paris and saw an exceptional presence from both the Saudi and French sides…The forum provided an opportunity for the signing of no less than 24 agreements, memorandums and understandings between French and Saudi companies, dealing with the sectors of energy, tourism, water, transportation, food, construction and hotels.

IRAQ

  1. Foreign Workers Send $8 Billion in Remittances out of Iraq Annually (Iraq News Network). The increase in the number of unorganized foreign workers constitutes another challenge to the Iraqi economy, which leads to a rise in unemployment among national workers and the exit of large monthly sums of money in hard currency from the country, in addition to the exploitation of financial transfers of foreign workers to create new means of smuggling dollars, by money laundering networks. According to unofficial estimates, funds leaving Iraq as remittances for foreign workers are estimated at more than $8 billion annually. 

LEBANON

  1. World Bank Says Lebanon Received $6.4 Billion in Remittances From Expatriates in 2022 (Al Nahar). A World Bank report estimated the volume of expatriate remittances to Lebanon at $6.4 billion in 2022, ranking it third regionally, preceded only by Egypt ($28.3 billion) and Morocco ($11.2 billion). Lebanon ranked third in the world regarding the contribution of expatriate remittances to the GDP, which amounted to 35.7% in 2022…The report indicated that the average cost of inward remittances to Lebanon from high-income countries within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is still very high, with Lebanon emerging in two of the five most expensive money transfer corridors.

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