Saudi Arabia and Iran Exchanged Ambassadors

After 7 year-long-pause in the diplomatic channels, Iran and Saudi Arabia have exchanged ambassadors. The ambassadors of both sides reached Riyadh and Tehran following the restoration of ties, after the rapprochement between the two capitals facilitated by China. In March 2023, China brokered a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Beijing, amidst the discussion of waning US influence in the region and the emergence of a multipolar global order.


Erdoğan and Putin Met in Sochi

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a visit to Sochi and met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The focal point of the meeting was the revival of the grain deal that Russia unilaterally withdrew from last July. The UN has prepared a new proposal for the reactivation of the vital grain deal. During the press conference he held with President Erdoğan, Putin asserted that the grain deal would be activated only if Russia’s demands were met positively by the West. Putin added that for the revitalization of the deal, Western sanctions on Russia must be lifted. Moscow has long criticized the Western countries, claiming that the grains that were sent through facilitation of the deal with the UN, were not sent to the needy African countries. According to Moscow, large parts of the grains were sent to rich European countries.

From his side, President Erdoğan said that ‘Ankara is ready to do what is necessary to send grain to some poor African countries.’ In addition to these, Erdoğan mentioned Türkiye and Russia are taking firm steps to increase the trade volume to 100 billion USD. Lastly, he stated that he discussed with President Putin the necessary steps for the Sinop Nuclear Plant.


SDF Struggles to Contain Tribal Tension in Deir Ez-Zour

The YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) struggles to contain the tension in the Arab-populated Deir Ez-Zour in Syria. Following weeks of growing tension between the SDF and Abu Khawla, the leader of the Deir Ez-Zour Military Council, the SDF arrested the military council leader. After this development, clashes were unleashed between the SDF, and the Arab tribes of Deir Ez-Zour that claimed to be oppressed by the organization. The fierce clashes led to dozens of casualties, including many civilians. Additionally, the SDF was expelled from some areas by the tribal forces. As a result of the mentioned developments, US officials had a meeting with Syrian opposition representatives in Istanbul. Moreover, a meeting between US officials and representatives of Arab tribes also took place. Nevertheless, Arab tribes’ demands have not been positively met until now. Thus, a ceasefire was not announced.

Ongoing Protests in Suwayda

The Druze-populated Syrian region of Suwayda continues facing protests against the Syrian regime. The protests that are organized due to the deteriorating living standards in the country have entered their third week. Although, the people of Suwayda largely refrained from taking a side in the Syrian conflict, the hikes in the fuel prices and the consistently worsening living conditions forced protesters to take to the streets and chant ‘The people want the downfall of the regime’, the famous slogan of the Arab Spring.


Eli Cohen Arrives in Bahrain to Open a New Embassy in Bahrain

Israel officially opened its embassy in Bahrain on Monday, three years after the normalization of relations. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen attended the opening ceremony of the diplomatic mission during a visit to Bahrain that included a delegation of businessmen and government officials.

“The (Bahraini) foreign minister and I agreed on the need to work together to increase the number of direct flights, tourism, and the volume of trade and investments,” Cohen said during the ceremony.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said the opening of the embassy “demonstrates our shared commitment to security and prosperity for all the peoples of our region.” The normalization agreement between Bahrain and Israel was among the “Abraham Accords” that were also signed by the UAE, Morocco, and Sudan.

Building a Barrier on the Border with Jordan

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, this Sunday, that a fence will be built on the border with Jordan to prevent infiltration of illegal immigrants., similar to the fence that was built on the border with Egypt. According to Netanyahu, a fence that was built on the border with Egypt managed to stop infiltration across the southern border and prevented more than a million infiltrators from Africa who were going to ‘destroy Israel.’ During a meeting with a ministerial committee concerned with immigration affairs in Israel, Netanyahu announced his intention to deport African immigrants from Israel, following violent clashes between police and immigrants from Eritrea.

Violent clashes took place on Saturday afternoon, south of Tel Aviv, between pro- and anti-government Eritrean immigrants, injuring more than 150 people, about 15 of whom were in serious condition. About 30 policemen were also injured in the confrontations. The number of Eritrean immigrants in Israel is estimated at around 18,000, most of whom came irregularly from the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula years ago, and a large number of them settled in poor neighborhoods in Tel Aviv.


Tehran & Baghdad Launch A Joint Railway Link

Iran and Iraq announced last Saturday that work on a railroad linking the two countries has officially begun, almost ten years after a development agreement was signed in 2014. The project was abruptly halted due to the ISIS offensive in Iraq. This railway’s ultimate goal is to connect Iran to Syria’s Mediterranean coast, establishing a crucial transport route through nations in the so-called “axis of resistance” backed by Tehran. It is set to connect Shalamcheh on Iran’s border to Basra in southeastern Iraq, catering to both passengers and cargo, notably facilitating the movement of Iranian pilgrims to holy sites in Iraq.

Geopolitically, this railroad holds substantial significance for Iran and Iraq. Tehran, in particular, sees it as a means to solidify its regional influence. Under President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration, Iran is actively pursuing multiple rail projects to expand its national network and enhance regional connectivity. Meanwhile, amid harsh sanctions, Iran could reap benefits such as improved transportation and increased trade, positioning itself at the heart of vital transportation routes.


Tunisian Authorities Arrest Senior Opposition Officials

Tunisia’s main opposition party Ennahda announced on Tuesday that two of its senior officials have been arrested. Mondher Ounissi, the vice president and interim head of Ennahda, was detained first, shortly followed by the house arrest of Abdel Karim Harouni, the head of the party’s Shura Council. Ounissi’s arrest is tied to a leaked audio allegedly showing him accusing party officials of seeking to control the party and receiving illegal funds; Ounissi maintains that the recordings were fabricated. Per a decision by the Minister of Interior, Harouni had been under house arrest since last Saturday. In a statement published on its official page, Ennahda has called for Ounissi’s release, pledging their solidarity with him following a defamation campaign aimed at harming the party and its leaders.

This event marks the latest in a series of arrests this year, all targeting opposition political figures, media figures, and activists who have accused Tunisia’s President Kais Saied of corruption and other political misgivings. This year the police arrested Rached Ghannouchi, the Ennahda party leader and a vocal critic of President Saied. The government also prohibited gatherings at Ennahda offices and shut down all party facilities, in a move Ennahda claims an attempt to strengthen a dictatorial regime.