Britain and Argentina Headed Toward Another War?
Posted by feww on February 22, 2010
It’s about oil, again!
Another War in Falklands Could Flare Before Natural Gas Does
The Falklands War, which followed Argentina’s “re-occupation” of the Falklands in 1982, claimed the lives of 649 Argentine and 255 British soldiers.
Argentina considered the action as the “re-occupation of its own territory,” where as the British government saw it as an “invasion” of a “British dependent territory” and dispatched its naval force to retake the islands.
The limited war fought between the two countries resulted from the centuries-old dispute over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, as well as South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which were initially occupied by France in 1764.
The islands lie in the South Atlantic, about 400 miles east of Argentina and some 8,000 miles away from Britain.
Geographically, Argentina has a legitimate claim to the sovereignty of Falkland Islands—proximity.
Cancun Summit 2010
Leaders of 32 Latin American and Caribbean countries unanimously backed Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands at a 2010 Cancun summit in Mexico, said a report .
In their statement, the 32 leaders reaffirmed “backing for Argentina’s legitimate rights in its sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom relating to the ‘Malvinas Question,'” and condemned the oil drilling operations.
The Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called on the UN to debate Argentina’s sovereignty claim to the islands.
“What is the geographic, the political or economic explanation for England [Britain] to be in Las Malvinas?” Lula asked.
“Could it be because England is a permanent member of the UN’s Security Council where they can do everything and the others nothing?”
Desire Petroleum, a UK energy company, probably owned by one or more of the multinationals, is about to begin drilling for oil in the territorial waters of the Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic Ocean, despite strong objections from Argentina.
The semi-submersible Giant oil rig Ocean Guardian, built 24 years ago, traveled 62 days from Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth to the Falklands. Source: Desire Petroleum. “Desire Petroleum estimates potential oil reserves exceeding 3.5 billion barrels and more than nine trillion cubic feet of gas. … In 1998 six wells were drilled to the north of the islands that revealed the presence of a rich organic source rock that could hold up to 60 billion barrels of oil.”
The oil fields near Falklands are said to hold an estimated total of 60 billion barrels; however, Desire Petroleum, has said “the amount which could be exploited commercially would probably be a fraction of that.” BBC UK reported. [The rest of it would be released in the ocean to keep an oil-rich marine environment.]
Desire Oil has towed a platform to a drilling site about 100km (62 miles) north of the Falklands. Drilling was scheduled to start at 06:00UTC today.
Argentina, which has long claimed the islands, known locally as las Malvinas, filed a claim with the United Nations “for a vast expanse of ocean, based on research into the extent of the continental shelf, stretching to the Antarctic and including the island chains governed by the UK, ” BBC reported.
Based on the claim, Argentina says drilling by the UK company violates its sovereignty and has since imposed shipping restrictions around the Falklands, and has threatened to take “adequate measures” to stop “British oil exploration in contested waters around the islands.”
Argentine government has asked its neighbors to also impose shipping restrictions in the area, and is further seeking support from Latin American countries.
According to desire oil, Argentina is about to start its own exploration off the west west coast of the islands.
Map of the region with exploration areas marked. Source: UN/ BBC UK.
Comments made by various parties:
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela: Britain is acting irrationally and it’s high time it realized the “time for empires was over.”
Argentinian Govt: No war this time, but Britain must negotiate sovereignty.
UN: He who has nukes calls the tunes.
Desire Petroleum [having towed the giant rig, the Ocean Guardian,about 13,000 km (6,950 NM) from the Cromarty Firth, Scotland] : “Desire is an oil company and it’s exploring for oil and not getting involved in what Argentina is saying about going to the UN. The rig is sitting firmly inside UK waters.” Even if the commercially viable quantities of oil were to be found in the are, it would many years before any oil would be recovered. The Company spokesman added.
Falklands Legislative Assembly [“The Licensor”]: We have “every right” to do “legitimate business.”
UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband: British oil exploration in the Falklands is “completely in accordance with international law.” [British government may be occupied by Israel-first interests, but Britain is not like Israel.]
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown: UK government has “made all the preparations that are necessary to make sure the Falkland islanders are properly protected.” [We have nukes; Argies don’t.]