Is Brazil about to leave Lebanon because of Israel?

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The reasons for the possible departure of Brazil from the command of the maritime task force of the UN peace mission in Lebanon are manifold. Which would be the most likely?

This week, the press reported the possibility of Brazil leaving the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil), leaving the command of the UN peacekeeping task force.

Brazil has been in charge of Unifil’s maritime task force since 2011. Lebanon received the UN peacekeeping mission in 1978 after the invasion of southern Israel.

According to Folha, which cited sources familiar with the matter in Brasilia, Brazil’s departure from Unifil is right, and it’s only a matter of time. However, the reasons for leaving presented by the various media outlets do not seem clear.

Ricardo Cabral, professor of international relations and researcher at the Naval War College, almost immediately rejected the version that the request was from Israel, citing a note from the Brazilian Navy that clarifies the point.

“The whole question arises from a well-founded question, which is Brazil’s recognition, in line with Argentina and Paraguay, of Hezbollah as a terrorist group. In doing so, Brazil ceases to be neutral in the matter and therefore loses the conditions to continue participating in Unifil,” explained Ricardo Cabral.

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For the professor, this would be the only possible reason for the measure. He added that there are certainly budgetary issues involved as well, but these would not be enough to end Brazil’s participation in the mission.

“The cuts in defense have been deep,” he said, adding that the cost of the country’s participation in Unifil was already being questioned. However, if it were in the political interest, the budget would be accommodated.

“The key issue would be Brazil related to the terrorist recognition [as] of Hamas and Hezbollah,” he concluded.

This is another example of Brazil’s relations becoming closer with Washington.

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