INTERVIEW WITH A BRAZILIAN AMBASSADOR WHO WORKED IN THE MIDDLE EAST



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Sergio Tutikian, a former Brazilian diplomat, is graduated in law from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil. He was a diplomat for 40 years and nowadays he is retired. Tutikian worked representing Brazil in Iraq, Iran and other countries, as well as being the head of the Middle Eastern Department in Itamaraty (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil). Throughout the interview, he talks about his years as a Brazilian representative, the nuances of the relations between countries, the threats suffered and, furthermore, he also debates current problems in the region of the Middle East.

Firstly, it is necessary to consider that living in the Middle East is a huge challenge for people who were born and educated in western states. Thus, during the ambassador stay in Iran and Iraqi, he had to deal with a huge culture shock. However, this allowed him to notice how the wide cultural differences, the religion antagonisms and the several ways of political and economic organization may intervene directly in his way of life and in the local conflicts. According to Sergio, living in the Middle East changed his opinion regarding many countries, especially Lebanon and Israel. In his vision, Lebanon has demonstrated to be a more developed democracy, while Israel reveals to be an increasingly less democratic state, where right wing parties and ultra-orthodox rule.

According to the ambassador’s perception, the complications of the region, with many concomitant conflicts, affected not only his personal life, but also his professional one. In his personal life, this happened due to a series of worries caused by the huge regional instability, such as the lack of water, food kinds and oil. Nevertheless, depending on the conjuncture in which the state is located, it can also affect the relation of interests between the countries (sending and receiving states) and then, his professional life too. After all, it is necessary to take into account that the country that produces in an unstable place can suffer big losses and disorders, especially regarding the exporters of services who usually are obligated to suspend their constructions in hard times. There were many of these cases with Brazilian enterprises, especially in Libya and Iraqi, where there was a considerable number of business rendering services and the damages were exorbitant.

Moreover, nowadays there are a lot to be discussed regarding to the concept of terrorism and, unfortunately, each day brings us breaking news about this matter, especially because of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraqi and Syria (ISIS). However, the most important question related to it is what the future will bring us after those huge terrorist attacks, the airstrikes done by the American coalition and the scenario of terror that is being spread all over the world. Some researchers believe that with the terrorist attacks and the union of the Great Powers to combat ISIS, a new global order could be created. However, Sérgio is completely against this kind of thought and he justifies it saying he believes that this can only generate an improvement of the western intelligence services, especially regarding to the coordination in Europe, once they do not have an efficient one – Morocco was the one who advertised Belgium and France regarding the terrorists’ hiding places. Therefore, he does not believe that the union of the Great Powers will have more repercussion, because when the problem be solved, each power will return to defend its own goals.

Achieving peace is a universal goal and, even though it can seem impossible in some places around the world, in the Middle East the scenario is adverse. Some would say that this is the last place of the world that could achieve peace and others would try to understand what really happens in the region before trying to affirm an inexact discourse. Sérgio is one of the individuals who first try to understand what is really happening there before achieving solutions and creating scenarios to it. Indeed, many factors make the region an improbable place to achieve peace; the first one is those agreements headed by the Great Powers, which bring a huge disorder to the region due to the disruption of borders. This factor created disputes between the regional powers, motivated by the desire of hegemony. However, it also creates more problems once foreign western powers intervene in the region, imposing their ideologies. Certainly, there are a lot of barriers for the Middle East to make part of the group of regions where peace is a palpable goal and, as said once by Sérgio: “In my vision, to achieve peace in the region, we would firstly need to respect the local concepts of borders, as well as the dignity of the people – not using politics of ‘two weights and two measures’.”

BY: MAITÊ ESCALIER BRAGA

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