Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Great Britain and Spain square off at Gibraltar Again

Spanish Ship in 'Heated' Standoff with Royal

Navy in Gibraltar 

 Once again we we are treated to another example of how nations that should
otherwise know better can't seem to understand the primacy of effective settlement 
over proximity in territorial disputes. Gibraltar passed from Spanish hands to English  
hands hundreds of years ago in a long ago war. Before that possession passed back
and  forth between  various powers going all the way back to the Phoenicians
Modern Spain neither discovered or continuously occupied the territory. There have 
been small towns  associated with the military fortifications but nothing like the 
present situation has ever existed before. 

 Today we are several generations into local inhabitants on Gibraltar. There are 
roughly 30,000 inhabitants of the town of Gibraltar.  They have a say in who governs
 them.  Mostly they govern themselves but they have voted on their situation twice 
once in the late 20th century and more recently in the 21st. They have elected to 
maintain  the status quo as a self governing over seas territory of Great Britain and 
have categorically rejected affiliation with Spain. Spain, an EU and NATO member
 still presses  its claim on Gibraltar as part of its  sovereign territory despite having
 no valid claim under  international law. The truly insane part of the Spanish claim is
 that Spain holds a number of extra territorial possessions very similar in situation 
to that of Gibraltar. 

In North Africa Spain holds the cities of Ceuta and Mellia, the very arguments that 
Spain puts forward to force their sovereignty upon 30,000 unwilling inhabitants of 
Gibraltar could easily be applied by  Morocco to these two cities. Less well known
 is the Spanish extraterritorial enclave of Llivia located entirely within France. Most 
close to a mirror image of Gibraltar is the island of Alboran literally within the EEZ 
waters of Morocco but Spanish territory for centuries. Unlike Gibraltar there is no
 town there. The island is home to a small Spanish naval garrison and an automated
 light house. All of the bogus arguments that Spain puts forward to demand Gibraltar 
could be well applied to a number of their  territories. Surely Spain would resist  such 
claims but can't see  the self destructive course they are on relative to Gibraltar.

 The MARITIME EXECUTIVE has the latest details of the most recent confrontation
 involving a  Spanish oceanographic research vessel that violated Gibraltar's territorial 
 waters and refused to  leave when directed to do so. Click on the link below for the full 


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