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THE EARLY PHOENIX May 24, 2023

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May 24, 2023

IRAN

  1. Iran & Indonesia Agree to Use National Currencies in Bilateral Trade Transactions (Tasnim News). Pointing to the target of raising the volume of bilateral trade exchanges to $20 billion, Raisi said in a joint press conference with his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo in Jakarta on Tuesday that the senior officials of the two countries have decided to carry out the trade exchanges using the national currencies. 
  2. Iran Names New Envoy to Saudi Arabia (Tasnim News). Alireza Enayati was named as the Iranian envoy to Riyadh…According to Press TV, Enayati had previously served as Iran’s ambassador to Kuwait, assistant to the foreign minister, and director-general of Persian Gulf affairs at the Foreign Ministry.
  3. Josep Borrell Announces New European Union Sanctions on Tehran Over The Ukraine War (Iran International). The European Union’s decision to impose new sanctions on Iran concerning the Ukraine war follows previous sanctions enacted on Monday. These were implemented in response to the execution of three demonstrators in Iran, alongside a noticeable uptick in executions and repression against citizens.
  4. Spy Network Linked With Foreign Espionage Agency Busted in Iran (Tasnim News). In a statement released on Tuesday, the ministry said that the spy agency had been monitoring the Iranians with responsibility in different positions or unique expertise in various fields and those with access to critical information in the country’s sensitive institutions.
  5. Iran Using Civilian Ships As ‘Floating Terror Bases’ – Israel (Iran International). Israel accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) of turning commercial ships into platforms for launching missiles, drones, and commandos. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant added the objective was to spread Tehran’s clandestine naval clout well beyond the Persian Gulf.

TURKIYE

  1. Türkiye Nabs 11 Spying for Mossad in Istanbul Bust (Daily Sabah). On Tuesday, Türkiye’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) said it had caught 11 people, including two Turkish nationals, who were spying for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. The group was helmed by Selçuk Küçükkaya, who was tasked with gathering intelligence on a company and 23 individuals with trade ties to Iran and targeted by Israel. 
  2. Turkey Elections: Currency Fears Grow Ahead of Presidential Runoff (Al Monitor). Turkish markets remain on edge ahead of Sunday’s presidential election runoff as apprehension builds up that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reelection would spell deeper economic woes and send the Turkish lira into a new tailspin. 
  3. Defense Minister Akar: 19 Terrorists Neutralized in Northern Syria on Monday Night (Anadolu Agency). Akar emphasized their ongoing efforts, adhering to the principle of “the terrorists’ location is the target.” He reported that their soldiers had penetrated areas in northern Iraq and Syria, previously deemed inaccessible by the terrorists, and ventured into territories considered off-limits.

SYRIA

  1. French Foreign Minister Colonna Calls for Syria’s Al-Assad to Be Put On Trial (France24). The French foreign minister said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be imprisoned following “hundreds of thousands of deaths” and “chemical arms use” during the country’s civil war.
  2. Normalisation with Turkiye ‘Impossible’ Without Troop Withdrawal: Syria FM (New Arab). Syria’s foreign minister said that normalization between the Syrian regime and Turkiye will not be possible if Turkish troops are present in the country’s north.
  3. “Stay Away from Iran,” New Israeli Chief of Staff Warns Bashar al-Assad (Syria TV). Speaking at the Herzliya security conference on Tuesday, IDF chief of staff Herzi Halevy warned Bashar al-Assad that if he intends to rebuild Syria after the civil war, he must acknowledge a harsh reality. Any state aligning itself with Iran is doomed to fail, will remain in ruin, and faces a bleak future. 

ISRAEL & PALESTINE

  1. At Last, Israel’s Netanyahu Gets An Invite to Visit UAE For COP28 (Al Monitor). But, unfortunately, the Israeli leader may have to wait until November, for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, for his first public visit to the Emirates.
  2. Israel Army Demolishes West Bank Home of Palestinian Shooter’s Family (New Arab). On Tuesday, Israeli troops demolished the West Bank family home of a Palestinian who was killed after allegedly carrying out a deadly shooting in the heart of Tel Aviv in March.
  3. IDF Chief on Iran Nuke Program: ‘Negative Developments’ Could Prompt Israeli Response (Times of Israel). Military chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi warned Tuesday of potential “negative developments” regarding Iran’s nuclear program that would cause Israel to react. “Iran has made more progress in uranium enrichment than ever before. We are also closely examining other aspects of the [Iranians’] path to nuclear capability,” he said at a conference hosted by the Institute for Policy and Strategy of Reichman University in Herzliya.

IRAQ

  1. Continued Halt of Kurdistan’s Oil Exports Takes Oil Sector to A Dark Tunnel (Iraqi News).  Oil production from the Kurdistan region of Iraq continued to decline, with no significant indications of oil export resumption to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, following a continuous halt for nearly two months.
  2. Iraq to Maximize National Oil Reserves, Achieve Self-sufficiency in Gas (Iraqi News). The Iraqi Ministry of Oil announced on Sunday it is planning to increase oil and gas production and reserves, stressing the government’s interest in achieving self-sufficiency in gas production, the state news agency (INA) reported.
  3. Iraqi Prime Minister Stresses Importance of Developing Iraqi Forces in Meeting with NATO Commander (BNN). Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani emphasized the need for the continuous development of Iraqi forces during his meeting with the new NATO Mission in Iraq (NMI) Commander, Jose Antonio Aguero Martinez. The discussion focused on enhancing the capabilities of Iraqi security forces and fostering cooperation between Iraq and NATO countries.
  4. US Citizen Found Guilty of Torture in Iraq (Iraqi News). For only the second time ever, an American has been convicted of torture in a US court, for brutal treatment of an employee at a weapons factory in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Justice Department announced Monday. Ross Roggio, 54, faces possible life in prison after he was found guilty of torture and other crimes in federal court in Pennsylvania on Friday. In 2015 Roggio was developing a factory to produce M-4 automatic assault rifles in the Kurdistan region of Iraq using parts illegally exported from the United States, the department said in a statement. At the time one of his employees, an Estonian man, raised questions about the project. To prevent the man from interfering, the indictment said, Roggio arranged for Kurdish soldiers to kidnap him.

THE GULF & YEMEN

  1. Private Mission with Saudi Astronauts Docks with ISS (Al Monitor). On Monday, a SpaceX capsule carrying two Saudi astronauts docked with the International Space Station as part of a secret mission chartered by Axiom Space…Rayyanah Barnawi, a scientist who became the first Saudi woman to go into space, and Ali Al-Qarni, a trained fighter pilot, are the first two people from their country to go to the orbital outpost.
  2. Saudi Defense Minister Says Kingdom Supports International Efforts to Reach A Political Solution In Yemen (Al Arabiya). The Saudi Minister of Defense, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, affirmed the Kingdom’s continued support for the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council in all fields, in a way that serves the Yemeni people, in addition to supporting the efforts of the UN envoy to reach a comprehensive and sustainable political solution in Yemen that achieves peace and development for Yemen.
  3. Yemeni Presidency Council Head Arrives in Abu Dhabi (Sahafaa). On Tuesday, the head of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad Al-Alimi, arrived in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, to hold meetings with the Emirati leadership on economic and service reforms for the country.

EGYPT AND NORTH AFRICA

  1.  Egypt Races Against Time to Resolve Liquidity Dilemma Through Gulf Funds and IMF (Al Sharq Business). The region’s most populous nation is forging ahead with $2 billion worth of deals by the end of next June. This involves selling government assets from banks and power stations to a chain of military-owned petrol stations. The probable buyers are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE; each committed billions of dollars to assist Egypt.
  2.  Tunisian Authorities are Investigating Ghannouchi in Nine Terrorism-Related Cases (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Sami Al-Tariqi, a member of the defense committee for Rashid Ghannouchi, head of the Tunisian Ennahda Movement, confirmed that the investigation with him revolves around nine cases, most of which are related to the terrorism file pending other cases, stressing the continued closure of the central headquarters of the Ennahda movement in the Tunisian capital for more than a month, without reaching to incriminating evidence against him, as he put it.
  3. Al-Sisi Urges Financial Institutions to Reevaluate Lending Criteria and Conditions (Al Sharq Al Awsat). During the opening of the annual meetings of the African Development Bank in Sharm El-Sheikh on Tuesday, Al-Sisi addressed the escalating cost of borrowing, rising debt service burdens, and their negative impact on countries’ financial budgets … Egypt is anticipating the second installment of a $3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. However, it requires initial exchange rate flexibility and subsidy rationalization, which, if enforced, could heighten economic pressure.
  4. Oman Plans to Inject $5bn Investments in Egypt (Daily News Egypt). The Oman Investment Authority, the sovereign arm of the Sultanate of Oman, is considering investing in Egypt following a high-ranking delegation from the Sultanate to Egypt headed by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq on his first visit to Egypt since assuming power.

JORDAN

  1.  Jordan Announces Resumption of Iraqi Crude Oil Imports (Zawya). The energy ministry added in a statement that the quantity of oil imported from Iraq constitutes about 7% of Jordan’s needs for crude oil.

LEBANON

  1. Germany Informs Beirut of Arrest Warrant for Lebanese Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh (Al Nahar). According to a high-ranking judicial source who spoke to Reuters on Tuesday, Germany has verbally alerted Lebanon about an arrest warrant for Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh. The charges include corruption, forgery, and forming an illicit group for money laundering and embezzlement.

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