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THE EARLY PHOENIX - May 31, 2023

THE EARLY PHOENIX – May 31, 2023

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TOP HEADLINES:

TURKIYE

  1. Biden Links Turkey’s F-16 Sale with Sweden’s NATO Bid in Call to Erdogan (Al Monitor). US President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Turkiye’s incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday about Sweden’s bid to join the NATO alliance and Turkey’s request to overhaul its US-made fleet of F-16 fighter jets.
  2. FM Çavuşoğlu and Blinken Discuss Türkiye-US Defense Cooperation and Sweden’s NATO Bid (Daily Sabah). The two ministers also discussed preparations for the upcoming Strategic Mechanism meeting, cooperation in the defense industry, as well as the Istanbul grain deal. Several sticking points, largely Ankara’s concerns over the harboring and tolerance of PKK/YPG and Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) terrorists in Sweden, have held up [Sweden’s] membership process. Türkiye demands their extradition and effective cooperation against these groups to greenlight Stockholm’s bid.
  3. Turkish Airlines Becomes World’s 8th Most Powerful Airline (Daily Sabah). According to a survey, Türkiye’s national flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, has become the world’s eighth-strongest airline brand with 78.1 points. Shooting like a meteorite, Turkish Airlines jumped 23 places from a year ago right into the top 10, the Brand Finance survey showed…Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) was the strongest airline brand this year with 85 points.

LEBANON

  1. Lebanese Army Frees Kidnapped Saudi National Near the Syrian Border (New Arab). Lebanon’s army intelligence freed a Saudi national who was abducted on Sunday in Beirut and also arrested some of those involved, the army announced on Tuesday… An online army statement said that Saudi citizen Mashari al-Mutairi had been freed in an operation along the Lebanese border with Syria.

IRAN

  1. South Korean Newspaper Says Seoul and Washington Are Discussing the Release of $7 Billion of Iran’s Frozen Funds (Iran International). South Korean government sources told the Korean Economic Daily on Monday, May 29, that Seoul and Washington are looking for ways to release $7 billion of Iranian funds frozen in South Korean banks…The possible US approval is based on the fulfillment of conditions by Iran, such as the release of an American citizen detained in Iranian prisons on charges of espionage, and also restricting Iran’s uranium enrichment, which has now risen to 60 percent.
  2. Iranian Media Claims IAEA Resolved Nuclear Issues with Iran (Reuters). The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has resolved nuclear issues with Iran relating to one of three sites being investigated over the presence of uranium particles, Iranian media reported on Tuesday. The agency’s alleged case regarding the findings of uranium particles with 83.7 purity has also been closed, a source told the semi-official Mehr news agency. The IAEA is due to issue quarterly reports on Iran this week, ahead of a regular meeting of its 35-nation Board of Governors next week.
  3. Hack Of President’s Office Shows Nuclear Expansion Continues (Iran International). A hacktivist group has broken into servers of the Iranian president’s office and leaked troves of sensitive data, proving corruption, conflicts, and an ongoing nuclear expansion…In one of the documents, the security chief of Fordow nuclear plant — an Iranian underground uranium enrichment facility located 20 miles (32 km) northeast of the Iranian city of Qom – had asked for about 150 hectares of public land to be given to the nuclear facility to increase its security buffer zone as work continues on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Israeli shot Dead at the Entrance to West Bank Settlement (New Arab). The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for the killing of an Israeli on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank…Medics and military officials said an Israeli civilian was shot dead Tuesday at the entrance to an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
  2. In Baku, Azerbaijan’s President Thanks Herzog for Israeli Arms Supply (Times Of Israel). President Isaac Herzog stressed on Tuesday the threat that Iran poses to regional stability in his meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, in Baku. In his public remarks after the meeting, Herzog said the two spoke in depth about the entire global and regional security structure that is endangered and threatened by Iran.
  3. Israel Quickly Congratulates Turkey’s Erdogan, Expects a Boost in Ties (Al Monitor). The phone calls of President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reelected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reflect Israel’s hope for preserving and expanding rehabilitated bilateral ties.

IRAQ

  1. Prime Minister Sudani is Suing a Researcher Who Criticized the Iraqi Government’s Subservience to Iran (Al Iraq News). The Al-Nakheel Center for Press Rights and Freedoms revealed on Tuesday that the office of Prime Minister Mohamed Shia’a Al-Sudani had filed a second lawsuit against political researcher Mohamed Nana’a.
  2. Baghdad & Washington Discuss Moving Refugees from Al-Hol Camp to Iraq (Iraqi News). The Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fuad Hussein, reviewed on Tuesday with the US Ambassador to Iraq, Alina Romanowski, bilateral relations and moving families from the northeast Syria Al-Hol camp to Iraq, according to a statement issued by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

EGYPT AND NORTH AFRICA

  1. Egypt’s Sisi and Turkey’s Erdogan Agree to Reinstate Ambassadors (New Arab). Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on “the immediate start of upgrading diplomatic relations, exchanging ambassadors,” Egypt’s presidency said in a statement on Monday.
  2. Al-Azhar Rejects Zionist Ambition to Change Status Quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque: Grand Imam to Palestinian PM (Ahram Online). El-Tayyeb made the remarks while meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh during his official three-day visit to Egypt, Al-Azhar said in a statement. The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is fully Islamic, El-Tayyeb said, affirming that any temporal and spatial division of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound will not be accepted.
  3. Violent Clashes Break Out in Khartoum Hours After Truce Was Supposedly Extended (Al Arabiya). Despite the extension of the short truce on Monday evening, clashes have renewed on Tuesday between the military and the Rapid Support Forces in Sudan…The clashes came only hours since the truce was extended. On Monday evening, Saudi Arabia and the United States announced that representatives of the army and the Rapid Support Forces had agreed in Jeddah to extend the ceasefire for a period of 5 days.

THE GULF & YEMEN

  1. US and Gulf Countries Launch Military Maneuvers in Saudi Arabia (Al Khaleej Online) The “Resolve Eagle 23” military maneuvers began on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia between the United States of America and Gulf countries, “to contribute to the process of achieving regional stability”…The exercises integrate various military assets and missions, including a live fire maneuver that includes ground air defense assets and live flight aircraft against drones.
  2. UAE Presses U.S. to Secure Persian Gulf After Iran Seizes Tankers (Wall Street Journal). The United Arab Emirates has pressed the U.S. to make more muscular moves to deter Iran after the Islamic Republic’s military seized two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in recent weeks, U.S. and Gulf officials said. 
  3. Houthis Threaten to Resume Terrorist Attacks on Saudi Arabia (Mareb Press). A Houthi leader threatened to resume terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia in response to what he described as procrastination in completing negotiations and commitment to peace. Yasser Al-Houri, secretary of the Houthi coup council, said in statements carried by Al-Masirah channel, the group’s mouthpiece, that the group is preparing what he called surprises to deter Saudi Arabia if it continues to delay in completing negotiations with it.

SYRIA

  1. Treasury Sanctions Syrian Regime Financial Facilitators Under the Caesar Act (U.S. Treasury Department). Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two Syrian money service businesses that have secretly helped the Syrian regime under Bashar al-Assad and its Hizballah and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) allies maintain access to the international financial system in violation of international sanctions.
  2. Russian Intelligence Accuses America of Planning Terrorist Attacks in Syria (Enab Baladi). The head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, accused the United States of being “with the help of armed gangs, preparing terrorist attacks in crowded places in Syria,” according to the intelligence service’s press office. Today, Tuesday, May 30, the Russian agency “ Sputnik ” quoted the press office as saying, “As a usual tool to implement its subversive plans, the American intelligence services intend once again to use Islamic extremists, who are called the moderate opposition.” Russia often anticipates attacks in Syria before Assad regime forces target populated areas.
  3. What Does Erdogan’s Re-election Mean for Syrian Refugees and Normalisation with Assad? (New Arab). Rapproachment between Ankara and the Syrian regime seems inevitable with the fate of millions of Syrian refugees who live in Turkey hanging in the balance. Since the outbreak of Syria’s devastating civil war, at least 3.5 million Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey. However, in recent years, and during the recent presidential election, their presence, hostility, and bigotry have become a primary political tool.  
  4. A Day After the Turkish Statements…Russia and Assad Regime Forces Bombard Northwest Syria (Halab al Yom). On Tuesday, several areas in northwest Syria witnessed aerial and ground bombardment by Russian warplanes and the forces of the Assad regime…The military escalation by Russia and the Assad regime comes after the Turkish presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, ruled out holding a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Bashar al-Assad.

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