by Ross Watkins
|British soldiers in the Falklands, 1982|
(image source: Daily Mail)
Recently, tensions between the
UK and Argentina have risen over the small islands in the Southern Atlantic Ocean off Argentina’s East coast called the . 30 years ago, in 1982, Falklands Islands decided to invade them because its military government (or "junta") desperately needed public support and they thought that restaking their claim to the islands would be a means to achieve this. They optimistically thought that Argentina would let the islands go. With the British Empire gone, defence cuts on the horizon and the islands being 7,877 miles away, there was seemingly nothing to gain by Britain keeping them. What Britain Argentina didn’t foresee was the strong will of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who sent a task force of ships and troops to retake the Falklands. In the ensuing conflict, Britain won control of the islands with a loss of 258 men and a number of vessels, while lost 649 men and was forced to sue for peace. Argentina
(image source: 2.2space.net)
The dispute over control of the islands has continued since the Falklands War; Argentina is no longer a military dictatorship but a democratic state.
has added its claim to the islands to the Argentine constitution and successive Argentine governments have stated their intention to pursue their claim by peaceful means. When President Cristina Kirchner was campaigning for president of Argentina, she regarded the islands as a top priority, taking actions such as banning flights to the Argentina Falklands through Argentine airspace. Confrontation seemed inevitable.
|Cristina Kirchner and Gordon Brown|
(image source: Daily Mail)
In 2007, 25 years after the Falklands War,
In 2010, the Argentine government announced that ships travelling in Argentine territorial waters en-route to the Falklands would require a permit, as part of a dispute over British oil exploration near the
Falklands. The British and Falkland governments stated that Falklands-controlled waters were unaffected. These arguments over oil exploration have escalated recently. The predicted oil reserves around the Falklands could result in potential revenues in the billions of pounds. The Argentine government claim the oil exploration by British companies around the island is illegal and that they may take legal action against the companies looking for oil. The British government has replied by saying that the Argentine government are illegally intimidating these companies. Whatever happens, the dispute over the sovereignty and natural resources will probably continue for many years. At the moment, though, the Falkland islanders want to remain British, and they should have the democratic right to do so.
|Oil rights in and around the Falkland Islands|
(image source: img.allvoices.com)