Tuesday, January 18

Jorge Dezcallar: “In Syria everyone has put the spoon in and that is why the war lasts 10 years”


Updated

Jorge Dezcallar:
JAVIER BARBANCHO
  • File. Read more interviews from the Back Cover of EL MUNDO

Palma de Mallorca, 1945. Diplomatic, former director of the National Intelligence Center and writer. His new novel, Espa accidental (published by The Sphere of Books), explains the chaos of Syria.

The spy novel is supposed to be a 20th century thing that responds to the Cold War. But now there are stories of spies everywhere
The genre was very linked to the Anglo-Saxon world and that irritated me a bit. Well: we went from a bipolar world to one in which the US had an apparently undisputed hegemony. And in that world of certainties, spies were not necessary. Then all that was blown up on 9/11 and new players got into the cracks: the Turks, the Russians, the Iranians, who, on the other hand, are the old imperial powers of the Middle East. Let’s say there is a sown field.
What do you think of the genre?
I love Le Carr. But, of course, Le Carr speaks more about the dramas of the human soul than anything else. Poor Smiley is stuff for a psychiatrist. The rest, what do you want me to tell you. Infiltrators office is good. The Americans, well … Some things are very light. They need to be closer to reality. The legend, the special effects … I wanted a story close to reality, that people fail, survive as best they can.
For example: I thought that the CNI recruited highly qualified people. Here, instead, his agent is a pimp
The CNI captures whatever. There are spas of many types: hackers, people who know languages, 16-year-old boys and thugs too … They look for whatever it takes. I put ads in the newspapers looking for people who knew Tajik and Pashto and they laughed at me. But the idea had come from MI6. If you want to enter a mosque in Ampurdn, for example, you cannot employ a university professor.
Her spy annoys her because she falls in love, as it happens in all spy novels. These things happen or is it literature?
Privacy interference with spy work is obviously a problem. The agent is advised to keep his personal life out of his work. Well, it is not advised: you have to keep it out of the way. And there are many families who do not know that they have a spy at home, many agents who make up stories to cover up what they do. The spy’s work is only known if it fails, not if it succeeds. Look, this summer there were CNI people in Kabul, but no one congratulated them on the evacuation. They congratulated the military and diplomats, but not the CNI.
He maintains that the Syrian War would have been exhausted in two years had it not been for foreign interference.
Definitely. The internal energy would have been depleted in no time. If they have been 10 years old, it is because they have all put the spoon in: the Turks, the Americans, the Gulf powers, the Russians, the Iranians who are taking over the country little by little and the Israelis who do not accept that hegemony.
In Syria, in 2005, were there portents of self-destruction?
It was a very severe dictatorship that worked like the lid on a pressure cooker. I spoke with Syrian Christians and they told me that they would prefer that oppression to the emirate that they sensed would come later. The Arab spring was like lifting the pot. It was said that the Arab people fought for their democratic dignity and that is very good, but the reality was that there were no parties, no unions or tradition.
Damascus and Tehern, the scenes of his book, were cosmopolitan and refined cities. Much more than Beirut or the Emirates. And now they are the most totalitarian and self-destructive countries.
Because where there were elites there is more frustration. The Middle East is marked by a frustrated modernization process. Colonization broke their backs. Then came dictators who copied Western models to the letter and created corruption and economic inefficiency. And, because of that, there is enormous frustration in the elites and their response.
And does the EU have a role?
None. He suffers the consequences of what happens but has no voice or vote. You have seen it in Afghanistan: we were not there for an hour longer than the US decreed. And we will not have it as long as there is not a single voice. The problem is that there are countries with a bad historical conscience and that prevents us from acting.

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