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Cablegate: Defense Minister Jobim On Brazilian Military's Role In

VZCZCXRO1584
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHRI #0148/01 1691834
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171834Z JUN 08
FM AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4505
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0847
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 5157
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 3429

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 RIO DE JANEIRO 000148

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O.: 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG EPET MARR MASS PGOV PREL BR
SUBJECT: Defense Minister Jobim on Brazilian Military's Role in
Changing World

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (U) Summary: During remarks that closed a three-day conference
on Strategic Studies at the Brazilian Army Staff School (ECEME) in
Rio, Brazilian Minister of Defense Nelson Jobim offered comments on
a variety of challenges facing the Brazilian military, and how it is
confronting those challenges. Issues he addressed included the role
of the military, transnational threats, protecting natural resources
including the Amazon, and the military's role in restoring law and
order in urban areas. End summary.

MINISTRY NEEDS TO DEFINE ITS ROLE
---------------------------------

2. (U) On June 5, Brazilian Minister of Defense Nelson Jobim spoke
before a standing room-only audience of more than 600 at the
Brazilian Army Staff School in Rio de Janeiro. His remarks closed
ECEME's eighth annual Conference on Strategic Studies, an event that
gathers military officers, political leaders, and members of the
diplomatic community in a wide-ranging discussion of military
strategies and priorities in a changing world. Jobim emphasized the
Ministry of Defense needs to clearly define its purpose and to
invest in the equipment that would allow the military to carry out
that mission. Noting, "Brazil is a big nation and we need to think
big," he stressed that the GOB would have to adjust its budget to
meet these requirements, and that the GOB should concentrate on
strengthening its domestic arms industry, favoring Brazilian
products when it comes to military procurement. He also referred to
on-going Brazilian talks with French defense industry
representatives on developing a nuclear-propulsion submarine.

TODAY'S THREAT: ASYMMETRIC WARFARE
-----------------------------------

3. (U) The MinDef stated that, despite various border tensions
between other countries in the region, Brazil does not contemplate
having any conflicts with neighboring countries and instead offered
that the real threat today is "asymmetric" warfare, including
transnational criminal organizations and terrorists. He noted that
defining the role of the military in confronting such asymmetric
warfare is crucial.

THE COST OF DEFENDING NATURAL RESOURCES
---------------------------------------

4. (U) Jobim also folded in natural resources as an aspect of
defending the national territory. He pointed out that when Brazil
sells its natural resources, be it oil, iron ore or other resources,
national defense is a legitimate cost in calculating the price of
the product. (Note: This echoed comments he made the previous day,
reported in local media, in which he suggested that a company like
Petrobras, interested in having the Navy protect its ever-growing
offshore assets, might be interested in helping to finance that
enhanced protection. End Note)

5. (U) Turning to the Amazon, Jobim stated the military needs to
develop new ways to monitor that region, given the unique challenges
it poses. He cautioned against taking either extreme position:
whether it is those -- especially "foreign entities" -- who believe
that the only thing in the Amazon is trees, or those who advocate
development that does not take into consideration protection of the
environment, both groups neglect the millions of people who live in
the region. If people do not have a legal means to pursue a decent
standard of living, he said, they would naturally find illegal ways
of doing so. The MinDef referred to a survey currently underway to
record, register, and regulate all NGOs working in the Amazon
region, and suggested that only those NGOs operating with previously
approved activities would be permitted to remain.

JOBIM AGAINST MILITARY ROLE IN CURBING URBAN VIOLENCE
--------------------------------------------- --------

6. (U) On a separate note, in response to a question from an
audience member, Minister Jobim stated that he would not authorize
participation by the military in restoring law and order in the
urban slums, where violence is rife, until the GOB passes clear laws
approving such operations by the military because previous similar
operations have resulted in numerous lawsuits.

COMMENT
-------

7. (SBU) Minister Jobim's remarks come at a time when Brazil's
claims to an extended continental shelf zone following new off-shore
oil discoveries, combined with the re-launched Fourth Fleet,
long-standing concerns about foreign interference in the Amazon, and
well-aired differences over approaches to biofuels, could provide
potentially fertile ground for those who wish to see conflict rather
than cooperation in areas where the United States and Brazil are

RIO DE JAN 00000148 002 OF 002


working together. While Jobim's remarks clearly outlined Brazil's
security challenges, they were also carefully aimed at building his
own political standing by pushing such populist buttons as the need
to protect oil fields and the regulation of NGOs. End Comment.

8. This cable has been coordinated with and cleared by Embassy
Brasilia.

MARTINEZ

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