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Alfredo Sirkis

Geopolitical Earthplaning

In 1994, the terrible attack against AMIA, a Jewish association, occurred in Buenos Aires, causing 85 deaths, almost certainly at the hands of Hezbollah with the support of the Iranian embassy, apparently in retaliation for Israeli drone executions of some of its leaders in Lebanon. During my mandate as a federal deputy (2011-2015), member of the Commission for Foreign Affairs and National Defence, I participated in three closed meetings to analyze the risks of terrorism in the run up to the 2016 Olympic Games. It was possible to draw a rough picture of dangerous organisations of Shiite or Sunni origin. They were threats of a different nature. Hezbollah possessed and has a powerful network, not only in the famous "triple border", of basically logistical and political mission. The presence of al Qaeda (the Islamic state came later) was also detected, which obviously concerned us much more. It became clear that we were vulnerable to attacks against others. Fortunately nothing happened.


Hezbollah is a Lebanese mass party, majority and hegemonic in the Shiite community, linked to Iran, which has a powerful military force - Israel experienced it in 2006 - and eventually resorts to terrorism. To reduce it to that, however, is a mistake of analysis. It uses this instrument in a "rational" way in the same way as its godfathers in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a state terrorism in the way practiced by several countries: USA, Russia, even France, in the 1980s, when a Greenpeace boat exploded. Unlike jihadism, its terrorism is selective, instrumental, and obeys conjunctures.


Brazil, all these years, has never picked up the barb of terrorism originating in the Middle East, fundamentally because it is seen as a diplomatically balanced country. Topically, we have become involved in failed but revealing mediations of Itamaraty's broad interlocution with the various actors. Some governments of Israel complained of bias but the Brazilian position was in line with the UN resolutions and always defended its existence and right to security. The relative exception was precisely during the military regime, under the Geisel government, when Brazil voted in the UN that motion equating Zionism with racism. At that time we were selling armoured Uruits to Saddam Hussein.


With the Scholarship government a powerful Pentecostal segment, influenced by its North American counterparts, obtained the promise of moving our embassy to Jerusalem and a blind alignment with the Trump and Netanyahu administrations. The move of the embassy would be a cannon shot in the foot in the economic relationship with the Muslim world. It would put us exposed to Islamic terrorism. Now, Itamaraty's support for the act of international gangsterism, the death of General Qassem Suleimani, was as stupid as the one said. We sympathize with an attack against a country with which we have important diplomatic and commercial relations (2 bi surplus). We have compromised our status as a neutral country and exposed ourselves to terrorist acts against American targets in our territory.


Trump opened Pandora's Box. His initial defeat will be geopolitical with the withdrawal of his troops from Iraq (who will happily be replaced by the Russians). He will inevitably suffer military reprisals during the process. The longer she stays, the worse. He has already warned that he will retaliate by bombing Iran, including "cultural" targets. The retaliation will possibly be in the Ormuz Strait, with mines and missiles against tankers. The escalation will be the bombing of Iranian cities. That's where the all-out voucher with terrorist attacks on several continents begins. Only this time there will be no political reason to include us outside this one. Let's risk turning into a battlefield...


Trump committed an extraordinary stupidity: Iraq and Iran were seized with protests and, in a magic trick, awakened the nationalist fervour of two humiliated peoples. They may not like their regimes, repressive and corrupt, but they hate even more the foreign aggressor, the "crusader". Trump will lose this asymmetrical war - the ability of the Shiites to suffer casualties is unlimited, that of the US far from it - in Iraq and elsewhere. The more they attack, the greater their ultimate loss. Only he risks dragging along some unsuspecting partners.

Itamaraty, dominated by the geopolitical terraplanism of recruit Zero and his faithful medieval squire, makes us strong candidates for the economic and strategic burrs of the future.

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