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  •  Falklands War II: Electric Boogaloo? (16+ / 0-)

    From the Los Angeles Times: Argentina's president demands Britain return Falklands

    In an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, published as an advertisement in the Guardian and other newspapers Thursday, the president of Argentina demanded the return of the British-ruled Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.  
    In the letter, copied to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called for a U.N. resolution to return the Malvinas, as they are known in Argentina, to her country.

    "One hundred and eighty years ago on this same date, January 3rd, in a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism, Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands," Fernandez's letter began.

    She further accused Britain of "a population process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule,” and demanded that a 1960 U.N. resolution "bringing an end to colonialism in all its forms and manifestations" be put into practice through a negotiated solution to the dispute over the islands.

    The United Kingdom's response has basically been to tell Fernandez to go pound sand. The UK's position is that there's nothing to talk about or negotiate. The UK established a claim to the islands in the 17th century, and maintained a presence on the Falklands since the early 19th century. Add to this the population of the Falklands are British citizens who want nothing to do with Argentina every time they've been asked about it.

    From BBC News: UK prime minister rebuffs Argentina over Falklands

    The future of the Falkland Islands is up to its inhabitants - not Argentina, Prime Minister David Cameron has said. It comes after Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner urged the prime minister to abide by a 1965 UN resolution to "negotiate a solution" to the dispute.

    "The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves - the people who live there," said Mr Cameron.

    A referendum on the islands' political status is to be held in March. The prime minister said: "Whenever they have been asked their opinion, they say they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom.

    "They're holding a referendum this year and I hope the president of Argentina will listen to that referendum and recognise it is for the Falkland Islanders to choose their future, and as long as they choose to stay with the United Kingdom they have my 100% backing."

    Almost 30 years ago, the right-wing junta in control of Argentina launched an invasion of small islands about 1,100 miles off its eastern coast.  The Argentines call the islands the Malvinas, whereas to the British they're known as the Falklands.

    In launching the invasion, the Argentine junta hoped to distract the Argentine public from the state of the country's economy & the government induced "disappearances" that were happening among the population. They also believed Prime Minister Thatcher would not respond... and they were wrong. She sent the Royal Navy to retake the Falklands in a 74 day conflict that left almost a thousand dead.

    The dispute over sovereignty to the Falklands never really went away & has recently been brought back to front & center, especially in light of the discovery of up to 60 billion barrels of offshore oil reserves since the Falklands War.

    Also, some have accused Fernandez's left of center government of using the Falklands issue for the same purpose the right-wing military junta that ruled Argentina used it in the '80s; a convenient distraction from domestic problems in Argentina.

    •  Rematch (11+ / 0-)

      Not if Argentina is smart. From the BBC last year, so take it as spin, but:

      Much has changed in strategic terms. Nowadays, it could be won back through long-range air power, says Professor Michael Clarke, director of the Royal United Services Institute. The lack of carrier aircraft is an impediment. Many, including former head of the military General Sir Mike Jackson, have said it would now be impossible to recapture the islands. Clarke disagrees. Bombers from Ascension - backed by refuelling planes - could destroy Mt Pleasant air base if it fell into Argentine hands. Once Argentine defences had been nullified, special forces could be dropped onto the islands. So it is possible - but politically, there is probably no heart for such a campaign, Clarke says.

      The Falklands War was 30 years ago. "But in military terms it is 100 years ago," says Clarke. British forces have advanced about 60 years in sophistication, but Argentine forces have barely improved, still using military hardware from the 1970s and 80s. Southby-Tailyour says they no longer have the landing craft to make an amphibious landing possible. However their special forces are highly respected.

      Most military thinkers agree they offer the only credible threat through a surprise attack on Mt Pleasant. One scenario might be a civilian airliner packed with special forces to divert to Mt Pleasant, says Colonel Southby-Tailyour. "It would take a very brave politician to shoot down a civilian airliner in cold blood. The Argentine forces are good. They could jump out and shoot everything up."

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