Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oil Strike in the Falklands Islands

In 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland's Islands, leading to the Falkland's War. The British drove the Argentineans from the Islands, but Argentina has never renounced its desire to occupy the Islands. Recent oil strikes in oil fields off the Islands may raise this issue once again. In fact, it may have already begun:
Argentine patrol vessels have boarded 12 Spanish boats, operating under fishing licences issued by the Falkland Islands, for operating “illegally” in disputed waters in recent weeks.

Argentine patrol commanders carrying out interceptions near the South American coast told Spanish captains they were in violation of Argentina’s “legal” blockade of sea channels to the Falklands.

The warning has been backed up in a letter to Aetinape, the Spanish fishing vessels association from the Argentine embassy in Madrid warning boats in the area that “Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and adjoining maritime spaces are an integral part of the Argentine territory.”
Interestingly, in September of this year, Argentina's U.N Ambassador:
... wrongly claimed that the RAF Mount Pleasant military base in the Falklands “has more soldiers than the total British civilian population occupying the islands.”

He predicted that the 21st century would be the “century of the natural resources dispute” and added that “fisheries and oil have much to do with this conflict.”
Since the UK no longer has an aircraft carrier, it is unlikely that they could successfully retake the Islands if they were again invaded.

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