Brazilian policy towards Middle East and the Arab world harm US strategy in the region according to US embassy diplomatic cables between 2004 and 2009, recently exposed by Wikleaks.
Cables also reveal non complementary comments on former president Lula da Silva and criticize the Brazilian sponsored initiative of an Arab South American leaders’ summit, the third of which was to be held mid February in Peru but was suspended because of events in Egypt.
“Harmful policies and equivocal statements from Brazil on the region hamper US policy in the Middle East” wrote in 2008 then ambassador in Brasilia Clifford Sobel, reports Folha de Sao Paulo quoting one of the leaked cable.
The US embassy also condemned the idea of President Lula da Silva of organizing the summit between leaders from South America and Arab countries.
“Brazil does not understand Middle East affairs, it’s only joining the ‘anti-Israel’ choir” full of clichés and banalities, wrote Ambassador Sobel in one of his diplomatic messages to the State Department. In the best of cases Brazilian policy towards Middle East is “out of place and statements only hamper key issues of the current negotiations”.
An Egyptian diplomat is quoted in one of the cables describing Brazil’s approach to the Middle East as “transparent” and intent in mustering support for its goal of becoming a member of the UN Security Council.
Sobel described the performance of former Foreign Affairs minister Celso Amorim as “light”, “out of place” and full of anodyne generalities with no depth or substance.
One of Brazil’s most influential rabbis Henry Sobel respected for his strong stand against the country’s 20 year long military dictatorship in one of the cables in which he exchanged ideas with US diplomats on the close relations between South American and Arab leaders affirms that “Lula is anti-Semite”
Cables point out that Itamaraty (Foreign Affairs ministry) “underestimated sensitivities” affected by its policies and insisted that Amorim’s visits to the Middle East and statements could undermine the peace process.
Another document describes how current Brazilian Foreign Secretary Antonio Patriota, then head of Amorim’s cabinet was asked by US ambassador Sobel that Brazil discuss with the US initiatives towards the Middle East.
“Brazil does not need US permission to conduct its foreign policy” was the strong reply.