Global Dispatch

Feb 21, 2018 0 Comments

February 2018 • Issue 6

The Dragon and the Condor: Beyond China’s Economic Influence in the Americas

by Ricardo Neeb & Fernando Menéndez

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Mainstream analysis of China’s presence in Latin America almost exclusively concentrates on economics rather than politics, and often disregards military or security issues entirely. Chinese economic penetration of the Western Hemisphere, which includes products, services, loans, and investments, has grown considerably since Hu Jintao first visited Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Cuba in 2004. This progress has also brought growing concern about the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) strategic objectives as well as its non- or extra-economic activities in the region. One significant area is the almost imperceptible but steady increase in Chinese intelligence activities in Latin America.

In this Dispatch, we examine China’s growing regional influence from a geostrategic perspective, examining such activities as the building of the Nicaragua Transoceanic Canal, the implications of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the intelligence capabilities afforded by Beijing’s use of cyberspace and fiber optic cables to augment its other activities in South America. As a country grows economically, it is likely to increasingly project its power through military and political means as well, and that is certainly true of a country now acknowledged as the second largest global economy. It is also clear that China’s strategic objectives and interests are well beyond the economic realm, and that they raise considerable national security concerns for the US as well as for other nations in the hemisphere.

Sep 28, 2017 0 Comments

Turning the Tables: How Brazil Defeated an ISIS Threat

by Leonardo Coutinho

September 2017 • Issue 5

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For several decades, Brazil has been criticized for serving as a haven for Islamist extremists in South America. Foz da Iguaçu, a southwestern Brazilian city within the Tri-Border Area, at the crossroads of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, was used as a logistical base to carry out the 1994 terrorist attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. Brazil’s historic lack of legislation for effectively combatting terrorism, further incentivized a larger presence of Islamist militants in the country leading to several sanctions by the U.S. Treasury since 2004.

On March 16, 2016, the legal conditions changed when the Brazilian Parliament passed its first antiterrorism law, despite opposition from left-leaning political and social movements. Those opposed to the law believed it “unnecessary;” viewing it unlikely that terror groups at home or abroad would “import” the threat of terrorism to a country that’s never suffered such an attack. Recent events proved its opponents wrong merely four months after the new law went into effect. On July 21, 2016, Brazilian federal police arrested twelve ISIS sympathizers for plotting a terrorist attack at the Rio Summer Olympics. One year later, on May 4, 2017, Brazilian courts upheld the charges against those arrested, convicting eight of them of terrorist crimes. One more was sentenced a month later, sending to prison a total of nine Jihadists in what is the first Islamist terror conviction in Latin America’s history.

This Dispatch describes the environment and circumstances that led to the first antiterrorism law in Brazil, detailing Brazil’s evolution from a country poorly informed of the Islamist terror threat to the first country to successfully try and convict Islamist extremists in Latin America for terrorist activity.

May 15, 2017 0 Comments

May 2017 • Issue 4

Checking Iran’s Gambit: A Review of Canada’s Policy Toward the Islamic Republic

by Candice Malcolm

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This Dispatch provides an overview of Iran’s activities in Canada, including those of its proxy group Hezbollah, that led to Canada’s firm response in 2012. In detailing the steps taken by the Harper government to halt Iran’s efforts inside Canada, while also working to undermine Iran’s ability to raise funds and bankroll global terrorist groups around the world, this paper provides an important case study for dealing with Iran. Under Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, elected in 2015, Canada’s position towards Iran has shifted and has since fallen in line with other Western nations in lifting sanctions, re-opening diplomatic channels, and engaging in appeasement towards the regime in Tehran. Without a well-founded position against Iran, Canada could once again be vulnerable to Iran’s subversive agenda. This paper will conclude with a policy framework and recommendations for the Trump administration on how best to deal with the threat posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.