Spain considering alliance with Argentina over Gibraltar, Falkland Islands

posted at 12:01 pm on August 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The dispute over the Falkland Islands may get a boost at the UN, thanks to Spain’s designs on Gibraltar.  According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais and reported in the Telegraph, Spain’s foreign minister has traveled to Argentina to discuss the possibility of both countries supporting each other’s territorial ambitions at the expense of the UK — and self-determination:

Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo will use a trip to Buenos Aires next month to raise the possibility of forging a joint diplomatic offensive with the South American country over the disputed territories, sources told Spain’s El Pais newspaper.

Spain’s foreign ministry was also discussing whether to take its complaints over Gibraltar to the United Nations, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

The sources did not specify whether Spain would ask the UN to back a request for Britain to give up sovereignty or just adhere to certain agreements.

It could take its petition to the Security Council or take up the matter with the UN General Assembly.

Spain is also considering the option of denouncing Gibraltar to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for its “illegal occupation” of the isthmus – the strip of land connecting the peninsula to the mainland that was not included in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.

Gibraltar, like the Falklands, has a semi-autonomous relationship with the UK.  In both enclaves, the people living there have repeatedly voted to remain independent and aligned with the UK for defense and foreign relations.  Both are strategically important for the UK — the Falklands as a south Atlantic naval base and oil source, and Gibraltar for access to the Mediterranean.  It wasn’t that long ago that Great Britain needed that security for Mediterranean operations; it was just seven decades ago, a rather brief period in the context of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.

This weekend, Spain made it clear that it wants to play hardball by imposing harassing border checks into the isthmus:

The UK government is considering legal action against Spain over the imposition of additional border checks in Gibraltar, Downing Street has said.

A spokesman said the prime minister was “very disappointed” by Spain’s failure to remove the checks over the weekend.

Legal action through the EU would be “unprecedented”, the spokesman added.

The Spanish government, which has said its checks are essential to stop smuggling, said it would not relax border controls.

Spain said it had an “obligation” to police the border, and insisted its controls were legal and proportionate.

A government spokesman also said Spain was considering taking the dispute to the UN Security Council, where it could seek the support of Argentina.

Argentina will leap at the chance to get the UN to rule on the Falklands, but it’s quite a different situation, and the UN Security Council isn’t likely to back a consolidation of the issues.  Gibraltar and the isthmus are attached to Spain itself, for one thing, while the Falkland Islands are 250 miles off of Argentina’s coast, far outside of national waters under any definition. After Argentina’s attempt to invade the islands in the early 1980s, the UN is probably not disposed to look favorably on Argentina’s claims, at least not where it counts, especially when the islanders themselves have repeatedly made it clear that they want nothing to do with Argentina.

That’s not to say that Spain has a much better claim, at least legally speaking.  The treaty in 1713 remains in force, and Spain’s citation of it regarding the isthmus inadvertently endorses its continuing legality.  Their sudden interest in forcing the issue came after the creation of an artificial reef which Spain argues interferes with fishing rights, but that is an issue for direct diplomacy, not the UN, and neither is the Treaty of Utrecht, which has been in force longer than most nations in the UN — including the US.

The only real measure of the claims made by both countries is that of self-determination, after centuries’ worth of status quo.  Any attempt to use the UN to force a change in sovereignty would violate the UN’s supposed bedrock principle of self-determination, and the UK will certainly make extensive use of its Security Council veto to make sure that doesn’t happen.  The end result of Spanish-Argentinian plotting will be a continuation of the status quo, with an extra added benefit of exposing the bad-faith motivations from both governments.

Update: It must be a Monday.  I know damned well that the Falklands are in the Atlantic and not the Pacific, and yet …. well, it’s been fixed. Sorry about that.


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Looks like Spain is desperately trying to deflect attention away from the fact that their ship is sinking.

Sharke on August 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Spain can hardly handle the land it has already why are they putting up a fight for this speck of land.

ChunkyLover on August 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

We know whose side Obama will take.

Liam on August 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Britian should threaten relation by a legion of new Sir Francis Drakes.

thuja on August 12, 2013 at 12:06 PM

UK — the Falklands as a south Pacific naval base

Try Atlantic.

cozmo on August 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Liam on August 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

When does Obama get his military uniform out?

Oil Can on August 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Distractions.

OldEnglish on August 12, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Maybe Spain should worry more about it’s 25% unemployment rate…

PatriotRider on August 12, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Where is Lord Nelson when he is needed….?

ted c on August 12, 2013 at 12:08 PM

I believe that Great Britain no longer exists. I wouldn’t be surprised if they channel Jimmy Carter and “Panama Canal” route.

Oil Can on August 12, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Try Atlantic.

cozmo on August 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Perhaps that’s why so few know where it is.

OldEnglish on August 12, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Can’t we all just get along…really, what difference does it actually make in this world if Gibralter is under Spain or the UK…let the people decide.

Ego idiots…

right2bright on August 12, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Spain’s interest in ancient disputes shows an intent to distract from problems at home, caused by the euro, debt and unemployment. Trying to get help from Argentina, another economic basket-case, is a reach.

As a military policy Europe may not remember how their rescue from “national scocialism” was orchestrated from places like Gibraltar. Sadly, it looks like Europe is sliding again into totalitarianism.

Like politicians everywhere, they do anything but solve the problem.

virgo on August 12, 2013 at 12:11 PM

No, it will take the minds of some of their citizens off the abject failure of both governments to address the socialist meltdown underway in both countries. When in doubt wag the dog.

Viator on August 12, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Maybe Spain should worry more about it’s 25% unemployment rate…

PatriotRider on August 12, 2013 at 12:09 PM

This would actually be the ultimate deployment employment opportunity.

Shy Guy on August 12, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Neutrality – whatever

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2013 at 12:12 PM

The economies of both Spain (unemployment is 27%) and Argentina (the inflation rate in June was 10.5%) are in shambles. This is the classic diversion that governments do in order to deflect from their own failures and the economic conditions at home.

While the UK’s military is in cataclysmic conditions, Spain’s is much worse. So, JC, bring it on.

Resist We Much on August 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM

And what if the UN did back Spain and Argentina? Who cares what the UN says? Would it be the least bit binding over the wishes of the respective citizens involved?

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Next Spain and Argentina will side with Mexico for the liberation of “Aztlan.”

Akzed on August 12, 2013 at 12:15 PM

After attacking the islands in the early 1980s, the UN is probably not disposed to look favorably on Argentina’s claims, at least not where it counts, especially when the islanders themselves have repeatedly made it clear that they want nothing to do with Argentina.

Ed, you are slow on the Social Justice uptake.

Resist We Much on August 12, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Try Atlantic.

cozmo on August 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Perhaps that’s why so few know where it is.

OldEnglish on August 12, 2013 at 12:10 PM

I expect better from somebody formerly known as Capt’n Ed

cozmo on August 12, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Weakness is it’s own reward.

CrazyGene on August 12, 2013 at 12:20 PM

A piece of the crock.

OK, this is straining my linguistic facilities. It’s a stretch.

Paul-Cincy on August 12, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Argentina will leap at the chance to get the UN to rule on the Falklands, but it’s quite a different situation, and the UN Security Council isn’t likely to back a consolidation of the issues

Spain
Argentina
The UK

Which one of these guys has veto power on the UN Security Council?

Yeah, this isn’t going anywhere.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 12:20 PM

The Brits fought hard for a hunk of land in the middle of the South Atlantic the Argies stole.
The Dagos got no chance.

Bubba Redneck on August 12, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Does Spain’s 100,000 military know how to fight?Do they have carriers or even rifles?

docflash on August 12, 2013 at 12:23 PM

When does Obama get his military uniform out?

Oil Can on August 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM

I’ll bet it looks like Michael Jackson’s stage one with lots of gold braid and massive epaulets. Barky will probably wear a white sequined glove and a big red fez with a crescent on it.

viking01 on August 12, 2013 at 12:25 PM

cozmo on August 12, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Good point.

OldEnglish on August 12, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Does Spain’s 100,000 military know how to fight?Do they have carriers or even rifles?

docflash on August 12, 2013 at 12:23 PM

I would imagine the likelihood of Spain using force is zero. Spain and the UK are both members of NATO.

Liam on August 12, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Funny, I was just flipping through my old collections of The Onion from before they became one sided hacks and found this.

The case of the Falklands is pretty simple: it’s British territory, inhabited by British people. As long as both the Crown and the inhabitants want to keep things that way, there’s not much to discuss. As Spain well knows.

HitNRun on August 12, 2013 at 12:28 PM

It must be a Monday. I know damned well that the Falklands are in the Atlantic and not the Pacific, and yet …. well, it’s been fixed. Sorry about that.

If Hawaii can be in Asia then the Falklands can be wherever you want them to be too! Obama himself placed them half the world away in the Indian Ocean when trying to be super hip on his Argentina trip called them the Maldives.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Notice how Spain isn’t hollering about its disputes with Morocco over the Perejil Islands and territorial waters near the Canary Islands…or the Maldives.

Christien on August 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Where is Lord Nelson when he is needed….?

ted c on August 12, 2013 at 12:08 PM

I’m not sure he’d belong to the nation as it’s “progressed”.

ElectricPhase on August 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM

We know whose side Obama will take.

Liam on August 12, 2013 at 12:04 PM

The Maldives, of course!

slickwillie2001 on August 12, 2013 at 12:33 PM

The economies of both Spain (unemployment is 27%) and Argentina (the inflation rate in June was 10.5%) are in shambles. This is the classic diversion that governments do in order to deflect from their own failures and the economic conditions at home.

While the UK’s military is in cataclysmic conditions, Spain’s is much worse. So, JC, bring it on.

Resist We Much on August 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM

The Cow of Argentina is not very popular, and might be tested soon.

Here’s her way of showing it.

Work harder, stupid Argentinean taxpayers.

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Argentina’s populist-socialist president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has allowed Iran to infiltrate its economic sector and potentially use the country as a terrorist launching pad, U.S. officials and multiple experts said on Tuesday.

The Cow of Argentina

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2013 at 12:36 PM

When your country is sinking fast, distract the hordes of unemployed, poor and angry citizens by blaming another country for something in the hopes that they rally round the tattered flag…

albill on August 12, 2013 at 12:36 PM

The scumhag

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Update: It must be a Monday. I know damned well that the Falklands are in the Atlantic and not the Pacific, and yet …. well, it’s been fixed. Sorry about that.

You should stop hanging out with this Obama guy…

Barack Obama makes Falklands gaffe by calling Malvinas the Maldives

ujorge on August 12, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Update: It must be a Monday. I know damned well that the Falklands are in the Atlantic and not the Pacific, and yet …. well, it’s been fixed. Sorry about that.

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Britian should threaten relation by a legion of new Sir Francis Drakes.

thuja on August 12, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Where is Lord Nelson when he is needed….?

ted c on August 12, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Simple. Send in Harry and the Gurkhas.

Christien on August 12, 2013 at 12:40 PM

but is there breadfruit there???
@ZombieWilliamBligh

ted c on August 12, 2013 at 12:42 PM

When your country is sinking fast, distract the hordes of unemployed, poor and angry citizens by blaming another country for something in the hopes that they rally round the tattered flag…

albill on August 12, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Watch out Canada!

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Hell, I am now all for the Basque separatist movement.

SC.Charlie on August 12, 2013 at 12:59 PM

This will not end well for Spain or Argentina!

tomshup on August 12, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Kirchner is probably going to be gone soon so the UK shouldn’t be worried. She has had a really bad year because her main rival got a big promotion. (The whole thing suggests that God works in mysterious ways.)

Illinidiva on August 12, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Spain wants to own a piece of the Rock?

This will never get anywhere in the UN, since the UK has veto power in the Security Council.

If Spain is worried about border controls along the isthmus that connects Gibraltar with mainland Spain, they should reflect on the fact that the UK, with its control of Gibraltar, could control (and theoretically block) all shipping in and out of the Mediterranean, not only from southern Europe but from northern Africa, including Libya and Algeria. The UK has historically let most ships pass through the Straits undisturbed, but does Spain want to escalate some dispute over the isthmus into a blocus that could isolate all Mediterranean countries from commerce to the west? In that case, the only waterway out of the Mediterranean would be the Suez Canal, controlled by Egypt, whose government is far more unstable than that of the UK…

Meanwhile, sheep may safely graze on the green pastures of the Falklands…

Steve Z on August 12, 2013 at 1:03 PM

What is Argentina contributing to this Axis of Weasels? Hyperinflation and how to unconvincingly fake economic data?

cool breeze on August 12, 2013 at 1:05 PM

I know damned well that the Falklands are in the Atlantic and not the Pacific, and yet …. well, it’s been fixed. Sorry about that.

At least you didn’t put them on the Gulf Coast.

bgoldman on August 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Here is a great story that in Spain that they built a 47 story building but forgot to put elevators in …….. truly unbelievable.

“In what will surely go down in history as one the greatest architectural blunders…”
http://www.althouse.blogspot.com/2013/08/in-what-will-surely-go-down-in-history.html

SC.Charlie on August 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

If Hawaii can be in Asia then the Falklands can be wherever you want them to be too! Obama himself placed them half the world away in the Indian Ocean when trying to be super hip on his Argentina trip called them the Maldives.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Maybe the Maldives and Malvinas are two of Obama’s 57 states. Another is the state of Confusion.

Steve Z on August 12, 2013 at 1:08 PM

For that matter, what is Spain contributing? Massive unemployment, a banking/real estate collapse, and a looming bond default?

cool breeze on August 12, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Maybe the Maldives and Malvinas are two of Obama’s 57 states.

Steve Z on August 12, 2013 at 1:08 PM

The Gulf Coast wouldn’t be the same without them.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 1:12 PM

For that matter, what is Spain contributing? Massive unemployment, a banking/real estate collapse, and a looming bond default?

cool breeze on August 12, 2013 at 1:08 PM

They they need to get their own thing and stop trying copy Obama’s America.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Hell, I am now all for the Basque separatist movement.

SC.Charlie on August 12, 2013 at 12:59 PM

I like Basque. Especially the lobster kind.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Welcome to another opportunity for the President to poke the UK in the eye….

The issue appears to have at its source a Gibraltar construction project building an artificial reef to stop Spanish fishermen from illegally entering / fishing in British territorial waters around ‘the Rock’.

Spain’s initial retaliation was to harass the border crossings – as well as passing laws to limit the amounts / increase the prices of goods entering Spain via Gibraltar.

It’s all a nice diversion from Spain’s economic disaster, not to mention Argentina’s, which seems to have little hesitation to piggy back on an effort to embarrass the UK.

What’s amazing is that with all of the other ‘real’ issues – we have yet another bright object diverting attention from addressing the real issues impacting the world. (I suspect there have been more words written on this kerfuffle than on China’s intimidation of Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines over mineral / territorial disputes in the South China Sea.)

Athos on August 12, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Dear Spain,

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!

xoxo,

The Rock

Christien on August 12, 2013 at 1:19 PM

What a pro-colonial, old world order, pro-UK biased post….

Self-determination is a joke. Over the centuries, the population has been replaced on Gibraltar. So, I guess Ed’s idea of self determination would be asking just those people on the rock who they would like to belong to. Why so narrow a referendum? It is an integrated part of the Iberian peninsula, why not let everyone vote? If you control who votes, you control the outcome.

I have no problem getting rid of archaic nonsense.

Why should the UK have a chunk of Spain? It makes no sense.

Why should France be a permanent member of the UN Security Council? They are smaller (in every way) than Germany and didn’t France lose WWII too? Hell they lost for both sides!

2 Senators for CA and 2 Senators for DE? Now that is just stupid.

tommylotto on August 12, 2013 at 1:23 PM

tommylotto on August 12, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Yeah!

Lets just change everything to suit you.

cozmo on August 12, 2013 at 1:30 PM

I have no problem getting rid of archaic nonsense.

tommylotto on August 12, 2013 at 1:23 PM

You mean like the US should divest itself of Guam and Puerto Rico? Two territories whose “real” populations have been replaced over time. And why so narrow a referendum. Let all Americans vote on the matter.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Spain sucks.

losarkos on August 12, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Welcome to another opportunity for the President to poke the UK in the eye….

Athos on August 12, 2013 at 1:18 PM

If I had a semi-autonomous relationship with small territories, it would look just like the Falklands or Gibralter. So for me, this dispute is very personal………

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Here is a great story that in Spain that they built a 47 story building but forgot to put elevators in …….. truly unbelievable.

“In what will surely go down in history as one the greatest architectural blunders…”
http://www.althouse.blogspot.com/2013/08/in-what-will-surely-go-down-in-history.html

SC.Charlie on August 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

It’s not just an architectural blunder, everybody working on that building, from the company pouring the foundation on up, would have known there was no provision for an elevator shaft.

I guess it’s Spain’s taxpayers who got the shaft.

Socratease on August 12, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Bah, just jointly declare war on the UK and liberate these gems that both Argentina and Spain desire to have and be done with it. It would be quite a spectacle to behold.

hawkeye54 on August 12, 2013 at 1:57 PM

It’s not just an architectural blunder, everybody working on that building, from the company pouring the foundation on up, would have known there was no provision for an elevator shaft.

Socratease on August 12, 2013 at 1:52 PM

The article said they realized that there wasn’t a service elevator when they got to the 23rd floor. But the reality is that somebody knew almost from the beginning that there were no elevator shafts. They probably told somebody higher up who didn’t want to hear about problems.

Or alternatively, Bloomberg could be funding the project.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Here is a great story that in Spain that they built a 47 story building but forgot to put elevators in …….. truly unbelievable.

“In what will surely go down in history as one the greatest architectural blunders…”
http://www.althouse.blogspot.com/2013/08/in-what-will-surely-go-down-in-history.html

SC.Charlie on August 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

And speaking of blunders…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2336953/Spains-1-75bn-submarine-programme-torpedoed-realising-near-complete-vessel-70-tonnes-heavy.html

On the plus side, they’ve contracted Electric Boat to fix the thing.

As the old saying goes, you can’t make this sh!t up.

cheers

eon

eon on August 12, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Next Spain and Argentina will side with Mexico for the liberation of “Aztlan.”

Akzed on August 12, 2013 at 12:15 PM

I think that may be a “wait and see” thing….if amnesty becomes a reality, the millions getting it can easily do their own liberating if they wish. Although Argentina and Spain may be among the first to officially recognize “Aztlan” if and when it comes to be.

hawkeye54 on August 12, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Good! The Brits can defeat two losers with one blow. Two for the price of one.

Old Country Boy on August 12, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Heh. I wouldn’t get too pushy about it with the UK, guys.

rdbrewer on August 12, 2013 at 3:22 PM

After attacking the islands in the early 1980s, the UN is probably not disposed to look favorably on Argentina’s claims,

I didn’t realize the UN attacked the islands.

I think you meant to say

After Argentina attacked the islands in the early 1980s, the UN is probably not disposed to look favorably on Argentina’s claims,

~Language Martinet

The Monster on August 12, 2013 at 3:30 PM

All the ex-pat Brits should leave Spain. I met tons of them when I visited my cousin there. I’m sure they shore up the tax base. Especially the tax on beer.

1921 C DRUM on August 12, 2013 at 4:22 PM

The economies of both Spain (unemployment is 27%) and Argentina (the inflation rate in June was 10.5%) are in shambles. This is the classic diversion that governments do in order to deflect from their own failures and the economic conditions at home.

While the UK’s military is in cataclysmic conditions, Spain’s is much worse. So, JC, bring it on.

Resist We Much on August 12, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Killing off a few ten thousand of its young men will do wonders for Spain’s unemployment rate.

In fact, if Spain is willing to make that sacrifice, Gibraltar is theirs. Let’s run through the tactical situation:

- The same airport that makes the first few frontal assaults suicidal is literally a stone’s throw from the border, which means the RAF will play no role from there once the artillery starts flying.

- The facts that the entirety of Spain and the Bay of Biscay is between Britain and Gibraltar, and that the Harriers are long since retired from British (though not Spanish) service, mean there will be absolutely no air support for the Brits. It also means that any seaborne reinforcement/resupply will be harrassed all the way down.

- The Rock itself is going to be a tough nut to crack, even if the British Army runs out of SAMs before Spain runs out of airplanes. The problem is not too long after they run out of SAMs, they’ll run out of other supplies.

Steve Eggleston on August 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Following the Falklands war Thatcher addressed the issue of Spain invading Gibraltar.

http://en.mercopress.com/2012/12/29/thatcher-feared-spain-might-go-for-gibraltar-after-falklands-was-taken-by-argentina

Spain is now part of Nato,how stupid would Spain be to use military force against a member state?

I have been to Gibraltar,it’s a huge rock. I mean a huge bloody rock with narky monkeys on the top.

mags on August 12, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Steve Eggleston on August 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

You over-estimate the Spanish. They submitted to AlQaeda after the Madrid terrorist train attack, by taking their troop contingent out of Iraq in response. They voted in a socialist government which is co-responsible for their current economic mess. Rajoy the current conservative PM is trying “legal measures to protect Spain’s interests”. I expect they just want money.

I am sure Gibraltar and other bases are well-positioned and provisioned to threaten any regional captital if military events are being considered (which they probably aren’t).

Unlike a number of the world’s military forces today, the UK has a record of shooting to kill and fighting to win (though what is supposed to be happening in Obama’s good war in Afghanistan, nobody knows).

virgo on August 14, 2013 at 2:40 AM