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THE EARLY PHOENIX – May 30, 2023

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TURKIYE

  1. All-Embracing Erdoğan Emerges Winner of Türkiye’s Most Critical Vote (Daily Sabah). The only winner is Türkiye; President Erdoğan said in his election victory speech as the veteran leader’s new tenure ushers in a new era in Türkiye after a presidential race watched by the world.
  2. Willing to Promote Healthy Relations with Türkiye, Chinese Leader Congratulates Turkish President Over Reelection (Anadolu Agency). Extending greetings to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his historic reelection on Sunday, China’s President Xi Jinping Monday said he is willing to “promote sustained, healthy, and stable development” of China-Türkiye bilateral relations.
  3. Turkish Opposition Quiet Amid Crushed Dream of Erdoğan Defeat (Daily Sabah). “I am here! I am here,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu angrily declared as he slammed the desk in a video he released on social media after he narrowly lost the first round of presidential elections on May 14 to incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He was still there on Sunday evening after losing the runoff to Erdoğan but appeared less confident at a news conference as the vote count neared the end.
  4. Turkiye: Facing Western Pressure to Enforce Sanctions on Russia (Al Mayadeen). Turkish presidential spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin, verified that Western nations have been applying pressure on Turkiye for approximately a year and a half, urging the implementation of sanctions on Russia. However, he clarified that Turkey has not yielded to these pressures and has abstained from enforcing unilateral sanctions on Russia since the inception of the military operation in Ukraine.
  5. How Erdogan’s Reelection Will Shift Turkiye’s Foreign Policy Goals (Al Monitor). Erdogan’s desire to build a legacy as an above-party national leader requires him to sustain and nurture the notion of a strong Turkey in foreign policy.

LEBANON

  1. US Prepares New Regional Intel Hub Within Forthcoming Beirut Embassy (Intellgence Online). Caroline Glick, Senior Contributing Editor at JNS and Newsweek columnist, highlighted on her Twitter account the Intelligence Online article, “The Biden administration is building a massive intelligence collection center in Hezbollah-controlled Beirut. What could go wrong?”
  2. Christian Parties Choose Candidate in Bid to Break Deadlock (The New Arab). Amid a catastrophic financial crisis and political instability at all levels of governance, Lebanon’s major Christian parties have picked Jihad Azour as a candidate who they think could break Lebanon’s crippling presidential impasse…Azour, 57, is a former finance minister who heads the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)…He is widely considered to be a technocrat who could help usher in the economic stability Lebanon needs as the country faces the worst financial crises in its history…However, almost as quickly as Azour’s name was mentioned, Hezbollah, Amal, and their allied political coalition, the Loyal to the Resistance bloc, who prefer Sleiman Frangieh of the Marada Movement as president, were out to denounce the idea.

IRAN

  1. Afghanistan-Iran Border Calm after Clash (Tasnim Agency). The situation at the shared border between Iran and Afghanistan is normal, and the border crossing is open following a recent “brief” skirmish, Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said. In comments on Monday, Vahidi said the current fight between the Iranian border guards and the Taliban forces was a brief clash resolved after negotiations with the Taliban.
  2. Iran-Pakistan Cooperation Complicated by Sanctions, Porous Border (Al Monitor). The newly inaugurated power line and border marketplace mark progress, but sanctions hinder the completion of the long-delayed pipeline.
  3.  Inauguration of a Sea Shipping Line from Iran to Russia (Al Maydeen). The director of the Maritime Navigation Company in the Caspian Sea, Kambiz Jahanbani, announces the launch of a regular weekly sea freight line from the Iranian port of Anzali to Russia in light of the increase in the rate of freight and transportation from this port.
  4.  Iran Congratulates Erdogan on Presidential Victory (Tasnim Agency). In the congratulatory message on Sunday night, Raisi expressed confidence that in the coming period, the friendly relations between Iran and Turkey, which are based on strong historical, cultural, and religious bonds, good neighborliness, mutual respect, and shared interests of the two nations, will further strengthen. Moreover, the close cooperation between the two countries will provide more suitable conditions for maintaining the region’s peace, stability, and development.

ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES 

  1. UN Accuses Israel of Recruiting Palestinian Child Soldiers (Jerusalem Post). Israel said the UN claims were false and pushed back against the draft report, which Israel said was downplaying Palestinian terrorism. A draft of the UN’s Children and Armed Conflict report for 2023 accused Israel of recruiting minors as human shields and combatants.
  2. Israel Inks Three Transportation Deals Boosting Links with Morocco (Times of Israel). The agreements will allow Israeli driver’s licenses to be used on the roads in Morocco, encourage direct shipping between the two countries, and facilitate exchanges related to road safety and transportation innovation.
  3. Attorney General Decides Mediation in Netanyahu Criminal Trial (Times of Israel). Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara says she opposes a mediation process for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal trial. Baharav-Miara announces her opinion to Netanyahu’s legal defense team.
  4.  What Do Turkiye’s Election Results Mean for Israel? – analysis (The Jerusalem Post). Turkey and Israel are not similar, but there are commonalities between the historical trajectories of the countries. Among these trajectories is that early Zionist leaders such as David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi studied in Istanbul in the early 20th century. They saw firsthand the modern Turkish nationalist movement, which has commonalities with Zionism.

IRAQ

  1. Electrical Interconnection With Jordan started in July (Iraqi News). Ammon News reported that the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity announced on Saturday that the first phase of the electrical interconnection with Jordan would begin in early July.
  2. World Bank Confirms Iraq Needs $21 Billion Investment in Transport Sector  (Iraqi News) The representative of the World Bank, during his speech at the Development Road Conference held in Baghdad, confirmed that Iraq needs investments worth $21 billion in the transport sector, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
  3. Ministry of Interior: Higher Directives Regarding Dealing in Dollars Instead of Iraqi Dinars (Al Mustaqila). The Ministry of Interior confirmed that the government issued directives regarding dealing in dollars instead of dinars while setting a date for launching a campaign to hold violators accountable.
  4. Iraq & UAE Discuss Development Road’s Investment Opportunities  (Iraqi News). The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, discussed on Saturday investment opportunities related to the Development Road with the UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Suhail Al-Mazrouei, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s press office.
  5.  Saudi Arabia’s Leading Charity Organization to Open Office in Erbil (Bas News). A delegation from the relief center is currently in the Kurdistan Region, engaging in discussions with local authorities, including Health Minister Saman Barzinji, to identify areas of collaboration between the two nations. Accompanied by a group of doctors, the delegation also visited various hospitals to identify potential avenues for advancing cooperation in the medical sector.

NORTH AFRICA & EGYPT 

  1. Head of Iraqi Wisdom Movement Meets with Egyptian President  (Iraqi News). The Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, received on Sunday the leader of the Iraqi Wisdom Movement, Ammar Al-Hakim, and they discussed The latest developments in the region, according to a statement issued by the Egyptian Presidency.

SUDAN

  1. (United Nations) Sudan Needs “urgent attention” in Terms of Hunger  (Swiss Info).  The United Nations confirmed Monday that the people of Haiti, the Sahel region, and Sudan need urgent attention from the international community because the threat of food insecurity in these countries is the most problematic in the world.
  2. The Death Toll has risen to 866, and 30 Hospitals in Khartoum Are Out of Service (Al Arabiya).  The Sudanese Medical Association announced that the number of civilian deaths due to the fighting between the army and the Rapid Support Forces has risen to 866, while 3,721 injuries have been recorded.

THE GULF & YEMEN

  1. Saudi Arabia to Double the Number of Flights to Iraq (Iraqi News). The Saudi Minister of Transport, Saleh Al-Jasser, announced on Saturday, during his participation in the Development Road Conference held in Baghdad, that Saudi Arabia will double the number of flights to Iraq by the end of 2023, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
  2. Empty-handed Ronaldo Ends Dismal Debut Season in Saudi (Daily Sabah). Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr succumbed to the allure of acquiring five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo in January…However, despite the remarkable goal-scoring exploits of the prolific Portuguese maestro, their season concluded with no silverware to show for their efforts.

SYRIA

  1. Commander-in-Chief of Russian Special Tasks Forces, Colonel Oleg Viktorvich Pitchvesti, was Killed in HTS Attack in Rural Latakia (Enab Baladi). Russian media outlets and social media accounts said that a Russian Air Special Forces commander in Syria was killed in a bombing carried out by the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham that targeted a military site in the countryside of Latakia. Tahrir al-Sham did not officially claim responsibility for the killing of the Russian officer until this news was published. Still, during the same time frame, it published information about targeting and bombing operations against military sites in the countryside of the Latakia Governorate. The most recent of these operations was posted by the  Military Media account close to the Tahrir al-Sham on May 26, one day after the killing of the Russian officer. It said it targeted the headquarters of the regime’s operations command in the town of al-Jub al-Ahmar, north of Latakia.
  2. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Congratulates Erdogan’s Presidential Win (Syria TV). “We trust that this triumph will enhance security for the Turkish populace, bolster the Syrian people’s cause and revolution, and fortify Turkey’s role in standing up for the oppressed worldwide,” stated the Political Affairs Department associated with the Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in a dual Arabic and Turkish communique.
  3. Islamic State a Resurgent Threat to Syria (Bas News). On Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) warned that the Islamic State (IS) is still posing a grave danger to the region, with almost daily attacks and casualties happening in the country. For example, ISIS conducted 19 raids across Syria during May 2023 and killed more than 30 civilians and combatants. 
  4. After the Israeli strikes, Hizballah Moves Missiles from Damascus’ Suburbs (Zaman Al Wasl). Zaman al-Wasl learned that the Lebanese Hizballah militia moved its missiles at dawn today from its areas of concentration in the countryside of Damascus to other locations tens of kilometers away following the Israeli raids last night. A military source said that the militia members transported three trucks loaded with missiles and communication and spy devices from two military headquarters near the town of Najha in the countryside of Damascus. 
  5. Ibrahim Kalin: Emphasizing Three Issues with Syria; No Summit with Al-Assad Planned (Syria TV). Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin detailed three issues in the reconciliation process with the Syrian regime. First, counterterrorism measures and necessary actions to eliminate the PKK’s presence in the region. Secondly, it ensures the voluntary and safe return of refugees to Syria. Lastly, it emphasizes the importance of the Constitutional Committee’s continued functioning and progression.
  6.  As a Member of the Arab League, the Assad Regime Attends the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum in Chengdu, China  (Al Watan). Assad media platform highlighted today its participation with a high-level delegation from the General Secretariat of the Arab League, scheduled to be held over two days. 

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