Eight Thousand Miles

8000 Miles

By: Kian Mokhtari

A fresh diplomatic row has erupted between Britain and Argentina over the disputed Islas Malvinas (the Falkland Islands to the Brits) which is claimed as sovereign territory by Buenos Aires and an overseas territory by London.

The Islas Malvinas are situated in the Argentine Sea, a mere 480 km from the coast of Argentina. The Isla Gran Malvina and Isla Soledad or (East Falkland and West Falkland to the Brits) are a “self-governing” overseas territory of the United Kingdom with 776 smaller islands in the archipelago.

They are a “mere” 8000 miles or 12000km from the UK.

Argentina has claimed sovereignty ever since the forceful re-establishment of British rule in 1833. Britain again used force to eject the Argentinean forces from the Islands in 1982, aided by the Reagan administration in the US.

Argentina has enacted a law to define the Malvinas Islands as Argentina's southern-most province. And Britain has predictably rejected the new ruling, saying it has "no doubt" about its own sovereignty over the region. The UK Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said in a written statement on Monday, "The UK firmly rejects the enactment and promulgation, on December 9, of Argentine Law 26.552."

In November 2008, Britain rushed through a new constitution for the government of the South Atlantic archipelago aware that its claims of sovereignty over the Malvinas were not going to stick for much longer. The law formally allows the Islas Malvinas to self-govern -BUT- with a British-appointed governor who would have final say in all matters including foreign policy, policing and the administration of justice; not to mention the minor issue of the extraction of plentiful oil and gas resources from the swathe of seabed around the Islands.

Buenos Aires says –quite rightly- that the action is a “violation of Argentine sovereignty and international law” under which Islas Malvinas are designated as occupied territories, because they were occupied by the British forces in 1833.

Last year, the two sides were almost on the verge of another war after both decided to lodge claims to the oil and gas-riches beneath the waves.

Now let’s see the argument from another angle. There are Englishspeaking people in an entire continent called Australia who have wiped out the natives and have claimed the territory for the British crown. The latter action is called genocide and ethnic cleansing in international law. There are Brits nearby in New Zealand who were kind enough to just decimate the natives and claim the territory for the British crown: an action considered at the very least as ethnic cleansing under international law. And then there is Canada in North America which has been cleared of its native inhabitants and claimed for the British Crown; an action again considered genocide and ethnic cleansing under international law.

Such insatiable appetite for land grabs; some may even call it the British brand of greed.

During the 1982 Anglo-Argentine war over the Islands, Britain’s logistic lines were stretched to the very limit and had a single Argentine commander on Isla Soledad not been such a woos (he shall remain unnamed), Buenos Aires could have won the Islas Malvinas back. Even despite the gutless Argentinean commander in question however, Britain would have lost the war without the US support; with an armada of

ships 12000km away from home and the closest British airbase on the Ascension Islands over 3500km away.

But right here and right now we are willing to bet that Britain is going to be able to force its will on Argentina and freeload off the energy reserves on the Malvinas until they run out. However Britain is now neck deep in the war in Afghanistan and another major military confrontation could prove the needle that finally breaks the camel’s back; so to speak.

Time to act for Argentina we believe --The hand of God might be back in play!

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