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A first look at today’s most notable stories from the Middle East, selected by ACLS experts

May 11, 2023


    1. Swedish Parliament Votes To Designate Iran’s IRGC as a  Terrorist Organization (Iran International). The Swedish Parliament voted in favor of designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization on May 10. The decision came after the execution of Swedish-Iranian Habib Chaab.
    1. Syria-Turkiye Row Has No Military Solution: Iranian FM (Tasnim News). Foreign Minister of Iran Hossein Amirabdollahian warned that resorting to military action won’t resolve the disputes between Syria and Turkiye and will only complicate the conflict further after incurring humanitarian and financial losses. Addressing a quadrilateral meeting with his Syrian, Turkish, and Russian counterparts in Moscow on Wednesday, Amirabdollahian said any political solution for Syria’s issues must consider the country’s full sovereignty over its territory.
    1. Iran, Iraq Serious in Demanding Justice against Assassins of Gen. Soleimani: Raisi (Tasnim News). Raisi said during a meeting with Faeq Zaidan, the visiting head of the Supreme Judicial Council in Iraq, that “Pursuance of the case until the achievement of result will show that Iran and Iraq stop at nothing in their bid to enable administration of justice” towards those behind the assassinations.
    1. Seven More Hanged As Iran Continues Execution Spree Despite Outcry (Iran International). In the early hours of Wednesday morning, families of prisoners sentenced to death gathered outside Iran’s largest prison, hoping for mercy from the regime, but by sunrise, their loved ones were hanged… The charges for the executed prisoners were announced as drug trafficking and rape and have been part of a spree of killings by the Islamic Republic in recent weeks… Prominent Sunni Imam in Iran, Mawlavi Abdolhamid, expressed concern over the rising number of executions in his country, stating in a tweet: “The recent arbitrary executions are deeply appalling and intolerable.”


    1. Senior Official: Iran Directing Elements to Inflame Situation in Gaza (i24). Senior official says Israel expects escalation with Gaza to last two to three days. A senior official told i24NEWS that the current expectation in Israel is for two or three days of an escalation in the conflict with Gaza-based terror groups, but adds, “There is no indication of where this will develop.” Flights to Israel were briefly prevented from landing at Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday because rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Tel Aviv. Aircraft were instructed to take a several-minute detour before landing safely at the airport.
    1. Massive Rocket Barrages Target Tel Aviv and South, Dampening Ceasefire Hopes (Times of Israel). Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group are nearing a deal to end over a day of fighting in the Gaza Strip, Egyptian media reported on Wednesday, as large rocket salvos on a wide swath of the country resumed after a brief pause.


    1. Al-Assad Receives an Official Invitation to Attend Arab Summit in Saudi Arabia (Enab Baladi). The head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, received an official invitation to attend the Arab summit in Saudi Arabia on May 19…Today, Wednesday, May 10, the “Presidency of the Republic” account affiliated with the Syrian regime said that al-Assad had received the invitation through the Saudi ambassador to Jordan, Nayef al-Sudairi.
    1. The Agreement Included Preparing a “Road Map for Normalization”… The Final Statement of Quartet Foreign Ministers in Moscow (Shaam). The foreign ministers (Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Iran) stated, in the final statement of their meeting in Moscow on Wednesday, May 10, their countries’ commitment to the sovereignty of Syria and the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations… Furthermore, the statement read: “The participants agreed to assign deputy foreign ministers to prepare a road map for developing relations between Turkiye and Syria, in coordination with the ministries of defense and intelligence of the four countries.”
    1.  Saudi Arabia offered Bashar al-Assad 4 Billion Dollars to Give up Captagon Trade (Syria TV). The regional source said that Saudi Arabia, a large market for Captagon, made this offer based on its estimates of the value of the Captagon trade, which came during the visit of Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan to Damascus…The source added that the money would be presented as agricultural aid. In contrast, the Syrian source confirmed that Riyadh had proposed paying an amount as humanitarian aid but did not specify it.
    1.  Record Decline…Syrian Pound Recorded a New Historic Low Against The Dollar  (Syria TV). The exchange rates of the Syrian pound against foreign currencies witnessed a further record decline, as the price of the Syrian pound exceeded 9000 against the US dollar, to its lowest level ever.


    1.  Saudi Arabia Confiscates 8 Million Amphetamine Tablets (Al Khaleej Online). During the security operation in Riyadh’s capital, five people were arrested for involvement in a drug shipment. The individuals included two residents, a Syrian expatriate with an expired visit visa, and two Pakistani residents. The accused were detained and referred to the Public Prosecution. Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it had thwarted multiple attempts to smuggle over 100 kilograms of the drug Shabu and thousands of narcotic Captagon pills. The recipients of the drugs in the Kingdom were also arrested.


    1.  Violent Clashes and Street War Between the Two Sides of the Conflict in the Sudanese Capital (Alarabiya) Both the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces failed to abide by the repeated armistice agreements, as street warfare continues between the military and the Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum. At the same time, the Rapid Support Forces confirmed that the presidential palace was hit hard during the army raids… In addition, civilians in many neighborhoods of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, were forced to form guard patrols to secure their homes and properties in light of the rampant burglary and looting phenomenon due to the security deterioration.


    1.  Kilicdaroglu’s Map of Turkiye and China: US and EU Factions Fight (Yenisafak). The opponent of Erdogan said, “We will reorient Türkiye; we will correct its course. How did we go from linking Turkiye to China to prioritizing relations with the West?”


    1.  Qais Said: Tunisia Will Remain Safe No Matter How Criminals Try Destabilizing it (​​Gate Ahram). We will work to maintain security and stability within society. But unfortunately, such criminal operations have been known to many countries, and significant countries still suffer.


    1.  Iraq’s “Oil” Unveils a New Refinery Project and a Petrochemical Plant (Al Arabiya). “One of the ministry’s plans is the Al-Faw refinery project with a production capacity of 300,000 barrels. It is an investment project; it will also be with the petrochemical plant.

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