Photo Public Domain by eu:Lankide:Enzaiklopedia UPDATE: Since this post was published in February of 2014 the ISIS has come to power in parts of Iraq and Syria, murdered, expelled, or taxed Christians and Jews and announced that it intends to take Rome. Meanwhile the ISIS flag is openly seen on the streets of Europe including the streets surrounding the Hague where frankly the leadership of the ISIS, et al ought to be on trial for crimes against humanity. Meanwhile pointless inter NATO squabbles like the one described n this article continue. Wake up Europe! EDITOR'S NOTE:The GIBRALTAR CHRONICLE has published a report of the disruption of British Parachute unit training in the sea off of Gibraltar. This is the second report of Spanish forces harassing British Forces in the vicinity of Gibraltar that we have carried in less than a year. We usually pick up on these events via local media such as the GIBRALTAR CHRONICLE, they don't seem to draw much coverage in the main stream national and international media. It's understandable that the two NATO partners and the rest of NATO would just as soon keep this squabble in the family. But it is time someone told Spain the plain unvarnished truth. It isn't pleasant but its same truth we keep telling China and Argentina. Here it is; the rule of international law is that effective settlement trumps all prior claims to sovereignty. Gibraltar has a permanent population that dates back generations and they have organized themselves into a local government that aligns with British foreign policy, relies on British military protection, and otherwise pretty much runs its own affairs. The question of continuing British sovereignty has been put to this population and they have emphatically approved of the continuing British roles as they exist today, and they have just as emphatically rejected Spanish rule.
Basically Gibraltar was a military outpost when it fell into British hands in war. Spanish occupying forces were defeated and run off but there was never an effective permanent civil population under Spain. There was never effective settlement or effective administration, only military occupation. More over the military occupation of Gibraltar by Spain was for no other purpose than holding it for the exclusive control and usage by Spain, not as an international trust guarding one of the most important maritime "sea gates'. Spain was never the champion of freedom of the seas, at one point, with papal approval, Spain proposed to split the world's oceans in two with Portugal and claimed control of the seas and sovereignty of all lands washed by Spain's half of the World's ocean. In furtherance of these ends Spain waged war with Great Britain for decades and decimated the native population of much of the Americas. Nations that inherited their legal systems and language from Spain, like Argentina, seem to have great difficulty distinguishing their Exclusive Economic Zone from their territorial seas, and Argentina like Spain, can't seem to believe that it has no right to invade islands settled for more than 200 years and force the inhabitants to bend to their will. Spain, face it, the Conquistadors are dead, your navy that attempted to control the seas was sent to the bottom, the strong hold from which you attempted to control access between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean was forcefully wrested from your hands and has been under the custodianship of the oldest and most reliable of the defenders of navigational freedom for hundreds of years. The area of the rock is now well settled by people who who were born there and whose parents and grandparents, and great grand parents were born there. They want no part of Spanish rule and frankly they are not directly ruled in their daily lives by distant London. The Rock belongs to the international community and control by a reliable and dedicated defender of freedom of navigation assures the world that peaceful passage between the seas will continue unimpeded. Why should the world trust Spain if it can't adhere to international law, accept treaties that it signed, and behave within the rules of the NATO organization's charter. The world is comfortable with Gibraltar as a British protectorate. If the people of Gibraltar were to vote for full fledged independence would Spain protect their choice or try to force their sovereignty upon them. It is the very threat that Spain represents that keeps Gibraltar in the British orbit and British troops on the Rock. Spain, you are kicking a dead horse and weakening the NATO alliance. Time to grow up and deal with the world as it actually is, comply with the law and your treaty obligations, accept the reality of history and move on. It's also time to assume a position of leadership among the Spanish speaking nations and become a champion of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention provisions concerning Exclusive Economic Zones and back the rest of the world in assuring that exclusive benthic fisheries and subsurface mineral rights aren't translated into exclusive national controls that threaten rights of innocent passage. While we are all waiting for the government of Spain to act like an adult, the entire sorry story of their latest mischief may be read by clicking here:http://www.chronicle.gi/headlines_details.php?id=32967