World Citizen: The Middle East’s Latin America Battles

World Citizen: The Middle East’s Latin America Battles

Middle Eastern diplomacy has intensified enormously in recent months, but don't expect to see peace break out any time soon as a result of that new burst of activity. That's because the latest wave of diplomacy has surfaced in a most unlikely place: South America.

In November alone, Brazil is playing host to the presidents of Israel, Iran and the Palestinian Authority. Why have these leaders, all facing pressing problems at home, suddenly decided to travel thousands of miles to spend time with the heads of developing nations?

The visits are hardly routine. When Israeli President Shimon Peres landed in Brazil last week, part of a tour that also included Argentina, it was the first time in 40 years that an Israeli president had visited the country. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by contrast, has spent a great deal of time in the region. He paid a call to Brazilian President Inacio Lula da Silva earlier this year, and he is a frequent guest of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez.

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