Defence for 2015 and Beyond – Part 3 Other Sovereign Territories

A series of guest posts from AndyC

The only UK sovereign territory that appears to be under any potential threat remains the Falkland Islands.

Argentina regularly re-states its claims on the Islands.  However, its air force and navy are much depleted compared to 1982 with no aircraft carriers and obsolescent A4 and Mirage aircraft.  This could change as they are trying to buy more current Mirages and Israeli Kfir fighters.

The established Falklands defence forces of the equivalent of two Infantry Companies (one regular and one local Self Defence Force) plus some artillery and SAMs, four Typhoon swing-role fighters, one A330 Voyager aerial tanker, one transport aircraft (soon to be an A400 Atlas), two land based helicopters, one destroyer/frigate, one patrol ship and one icebreaker are still a sufficient garrison.

The most important factor remains the ability of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force, and especially the RAF, to reinforce the fighter force with the assistance of its aerial tankers and to ferry troops with its transport fleet. The Royal Navy’s ability to deploy an attack submarine at short notice is also significant.

Force levels are currently more than adequate to do this.

To provide a minimum effective defence of the Falkland Islands requires:

  • the equivalent of 1 Infantry Battalion
  • 4 Typhoon swing-role fighters
  • 1 A330 Voyager multi role tanker transport
  • 1 A400 Atlas medium transport aircraft
  • 2 land based helicopters
  • 1 destroyer/frigate, 1 patrol ship and 1 icebreaker plus
  • support from the Joint Rapid Reaction Force.

Falklands Air Defence – the white area is covered by Typhoons from RAF Mount Pleasant and the blue by carrier based F-35Bs.

Falklands Air Defence
Falklands Air Defence

Should a repeat of the 1982 naval task force be required then having two large QE class aircraft carriers and a range of amphibious ships available would be absolutely essential.

Any task force would need to be able to defend itself against land based air forces while landing troops on a potentially hostile shoreline.  Relying on just one aircraft carrier would make the operation extremely vulnerable to air attack.

In this planning scenario one of the QE carriers would operate three F-35B Squadrons – one would be a Naval Air Squadron for fleet air defence/anti-shipping and two would be RAF Squadrons primarily for CAS/SEAD and land strike.

The second QE carrier would operate one Naval Air Squadron of F-35Bs for fleet air defence/anti-shipping but would primarily operate Merlin naval medium lift helicopters and Chinook heavy lift helicopters.  This carrier would support the Royal Navy’s full amphibious forces.

Defensive escort would be provided by nine destroyers/frigates, their maritime helicopters and three attack submarines.

Long distance support for the task force would also be provided by Maritime Patrol Aircraft from Ascension Island with the assistance of A330 Voyager aerial tankers.

To provide a minimum effective naval task force requires:

  • 2 QE class aircraft carriers
  • 4 F-35B Squadrons – 2 fleet air defence/anti-shipping and 2 CAS/SEAD/land strike
  • 2 amphibious transport docks
  • 3 landing ships
  • Special Forces and Royal Marines Commandos plus elements of the Air Assault Brigade and an Infantry Brigade
  • 1 Apache AH Squadron
  • 1 Wildcat Marines AH Squadron
  • 1 Chinook HC Squadron
  • 3 Merlin HC Squadrons
  • 9 destroyers/frigates
  • 3 attack submarines
  • 3 Merlin HM/AEW Squadrons
  • 2 Wildcat HMA Squadrons
  • 1 Maritime Patrol Squadron and
  • 1 A330 Voyager aerial tanker Squadron.


The rest of the series

Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Defence of the United Kingdom

Part 3 – Other Sovereign Territories

Part 4 – NATO

Part 5 – A Southern or Middle Eastern Threat

Part 6 – An Eastern and Northern Threat

Part 7 – Global Intervention

Part 8 – British Army 2025

Part 9 – Royal Navy 2025

Part 10 – Royal Air Force 2025

Part 11 – Conclusion

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July 12, 2014 3:56 pm

Isn’t there just one reinforced company from the Army in the Falklands? The bulk of the garrison are RAF technicians and support staff. 1000 bods for 8 aircraft and 2 remote radar stations. Makes the manning of QEC look positively lean.

Peter Elliott
July 12, 2014 4:22 pm

Remember your Point Class Ro-Ro for that Infantry Brigade. Probably still need some STUFT for all the rear echelon bits and bobs.

And to sustain all those ships so far from home plenty of MARS Tankers and SSS.

Peter Elliott
July 12, 2014 4:41 pm

Other Sovereign territories to mention:

Do we see a credible military threat to Gibraltar at any point? Is there any credible military defence we could make in the modern age? Or do rely on Spain remaining an EU and NATO ally and relegate the issue to a diplomatic / policing issue? Spain does have long term form of descents into politcal chaos and flaky junta type governements (its a Spanish word after all) going back 200 years.

What about Diego Garcia? If something serious ever kicked off involving the Indians, Chinese and Americans might a hostile power attempt to netualise Uncle Sam’s global reach by knocking out the base? If they did what would we do? Anything?

July 12, 2014 5:11 pm

Spain’s political commitments will probably stop them doing anything and their perception is that we would fight for it and wouldn’t hesitate to escalate in the event of an attack, they don’t want that. In Spain the issue is very much viewed through the lens of what we did in the Falklands and the fact unlike Argentina their whole country is well within range of our air and naval power without any particular exertion. Actually fighting on/over the rock doesn’t sound like a realistic proposition unless their first strike was utterly ineffective and we had some kind of force left to reinforce, but a steady rain of TLAM’s etc onto the Spanish mainland would evaporate the political will very quickly and ultimately end with it being given back, rather than taken back.

Attacking an allied nation to annex an area that’s voted to stay British would leave them a pariah and leave the PM with a free hand to hammer them, not to mention laugh all the way to the polls. But from their POV a bit of argie-bargie(as they’ve been doing lately) goes over well with their electorate and is essentially risk free as we wouldn’t escalate without a real threat to it’s sovereignty.

As for DG. Big war in Asia and all bet’s are off.

July 12, 2014 5:16 pm

PE, not really depending on the direction of the “enemy”.

There is only 2 practical routes from China past the Malayan barrier and the US has one of their satellites parked over the area.

India would have a better chance, open ocean all the way to DG.

July 12, 2014 5:28 pm

The EU don’t see Gibraltar as any different from any other part of Europe. For administration reasons they would like to see the Gibraltar as part of Spain in as much as the EU recognises the borders of states All the EU see is regions. If Spain moved across the border do you think the average Brit would care? Probably not. The biggest danger is Scotland voting yes and Catalan declaring independence. I could see Madrid trying to a pull stunt then especially if the EU let Scotland in to union. I think Spain’s veto would be shown to be worth little as Brussels would just rewrite the laws to suit themselves as Spain could hardly afford to leave the EU. Actually I can see that putting momentum into various European separatist organisations especially across the south of Europe. Divide and conquer or stripping national identity or both.

July 12, 2014 5:48 pm

@x There were calls to send in the navy over what was essentially Guardia Civil willy waving a few months back. A few pics of British casualties on the beeb and I think Joe Public would be foaming at the mouth. Not to mention Cameron would love a chance to go all Thatcher and look tough without going anywhere near a desert.

July 12, 2014 6:17 pm

@ Chuck

They did. There were some of your countrymen wanted to march on Moscow over the Crimea, how far did they get? If it were up to me the SBS would have scuttled the CG’s boats by now, but……………..

12 million Brits visit Spain for their holidays each year. 750,000 plus Brits now live in Spain. I should imagine a good portion of the former may not have even have heard of Gibraltar or if they did wouldn’t exactly know its status. I can’t see many of either group deciding to take unilateral action and boycott Spain. And I most definitely know that HMG wouldn’t do anything either beyond make a few protest in various fora. To be honest all Spain have to do is force a draw because you can bet what would come out of the affair would be a compromise such as joint-sovereignty (and probable demineralization) because they would default to Brussels who don’t see Gibraltar as anything more than an anachronism.

July 12, 2014 6:34 pm

ok its been posted before but it still explains situation quite well

July 12, 2014 6:46 pm

Interesting that the French grownup and stopped insisting that we give the channel islands back.
May be Spain should learn they it is economically better to stop this and do the opposite and make it easier to go in and out of Gibraltar.

Here is the EU opinion of territories

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 12, 2014 6:47 pm

@ Thread – I suspect any desire on the part of the Commission to pursue “ever closer union” by arsing about in ways calculated to irritate the blue bloody blazes out of northern contributor nations in the interest of the southern beggars at the gate might elicit a rather sharp response from Frau Merkel (or any likely successor). The continuing enthusiasm of the Deutsche Volk for the whole enterprise is likely to decline exponentially if they are the only ones left paying the bill or providing coherence and momentum whilst the South disintegrates into mutually antagonistic statelets, all demanding vast quantities of Frankfurt Gold whilst sitting about in sunlit squares from 11 to 7 dreaming up new ways to retire rich at 45 at the expense of the good Burghers of Berlin…


July 12, 2014 6:52 pm
Odd that the UN does not recognise the assembles of Gibraltar and the Falkland islands as self governing.

July 12, 2014 7:25 pm

@x: I’ve never met anyone who didn’t know where and what Gib was. Over the last 30 years it’s been in the news here regularly. It’s always discussed in the strongest terms when it comes to the Sov question, even up to highest levels of government and I quote;

“The UK Government will never — “never” is a seldom-used word in politics — enter into an agreement on sovereignty without the agreement of the Government of Gibraltar and their people. In fact, we will never even enter into a process without that agreement. The word “never” sends a substantial and clear commitment and has been used for a purpose.”

I think you’re badly misjudging British politics and the rocks value to HMG. We would never escalate to military force over something like the CG incursions, but that is a deliberate tactic(openly discussed as such) to ensure international support should Spain decide to. If British blood is spilt there will be a shooting war. When British blood is spilt the electorate gets nationalistic very quickly to the point that any PM who did not respond with force in such a scenario would likely be replaced by someone who would in short order. Also a draw would result in the continuance of the status quo, anything else would go against the 2002 referendum, which was resounding. HMG has repeatedly committed to defending Gib. It has a huge democratic mandate from that referendum and strategic interests in the military bases there.

The important thing to remember is Gibraltans are full British Citizens(not some quasi British empire holdover status) 98.5% of which refuse any compromise with Spain over sovereignty. They are defended by a full battalion of British troops & whatever happens to be moving through. Which means any attack would result in at large military casualties and most likely violent civil resistance and disobedience to which Spain’s only available response would be their assault forces. British civilians shot in the street by foreign soldiers, will not go unanswered not ever, not anywhere, it would be utterly politically untenable.

There’s also the fact we overmatch Spain militarily(they’re by no means weak, but certainly much weaker than us) and they would have to fight on two fronts at opposite ends of their country. The notion we would give into a weaker nation on our doorstep over a sov issue when we’re quite happy to stand our ground at the other end of the world is ridiculous. HMG will do everything it can to avoid war but if one is started by Spain it would be prosecuted and the only acceptable end state would be Spanish withdrawal, that’s been government policy since the 2002 referendum and it’s unlikely to change.

The fact Brussels was against us, would only gee up parliament with the current political situation regarding the EU or more likely opinion would switch in the event of unprovoked aggression, particularly as it would undermine the EU’s raison d’être.

Regarding the UN; Self determination of peoples trumps all and the Gibraltans have made their decision and done so emphatically.

Of course all that means; it’s not going to end in a shooting war.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 12, 2014 7:57 pm

Huh. Spanish coat guard incursions. Just build a very high wall across the water cutting them off. Line it with CCTV cameras, motion sensors and GPMG…. :-)

HMG will never give up Gibraltar or the SBA’s in Cyprus for that matter due to the several Intelligence functions located within.

July 12, 2014 8:02 pm

The Falklands is the most obvious trouble spot for a possible shooting war.

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are also clamed by the Argentinians. They would be easy to take but very hard to hold. Having to blockade run supplies and than take an assault from the forces shipped in to the Falkland’s to retake the islands by force

Gibraltar would be a blood bath of Stalingrad proportion while supplies lasted for both sides. Partially if there had been for warning so that extra troops and supplies had been brought in. I do not think the Spanish would be up for cave fighting. Bombarding the city would create a fortress on sniper points just as happened in Stalingrad. They also have the disadvantage of having to cross the open expanse of the airfield.

I can not see Mauritius and Seychelles wanting a war to claim the British Indian Ocean Territory. The problems would start if India started to get involved.

There are some interesting ones when you start looking at the locations of the island states in the Caribbean. If Cuba started throuing its weight around with the Cayman Islands so close for example. The Caribbean islands have the largest populations to protect. In a side note it is also the place we will most likly to be called upon to provide desaster relife.

The last would be the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus. If they where taken there would be not international support for taking them back. Our closed allied country is Jordan and i can net see the iserails letting us use there airspace. With the closes NATO country being Bulgeria. You would have to rull out Greece and Turkey for help as they both have there own claims to the island.

We also have the exclusive economic zone around each of the overseas terriotories to police

July 12, 2014 8:26 pm

@ chuck

You and the wonderful commentators here are representative of our peoples. I give you,

There would be a kerfuffle for a while, diplomats expelled, anger in the red tops, and then as I said some compromise would be reached. You have to remember Europeans see rules in a different way to the way we do. As I said the EU are the brokers here and the EU see Gibraltar as Spanish.

As for British blood being spilt well again I don’t know. I think the Spanish would be at the dock gates before the First Minister had manage to speak to get a call through to the F&CO.

This is all hypothetical. Fortune favours the bold. As I said all they need is a draw to gain a compromise and a compromise is a good way to getting what they want. The Spanish state is a fragile thing. Better to upset Brits and demonstrate resolve to those regions who want self-determination than to let the kingdom collapse.

Do you think a Democrat White House looking to secure Latin votes and secure influence in Latin America would complain too loudly? Do you think HMG would kick the US out of her UK bases if they didn’t? Or say leave Five Eyes? I don’t. Militarily speaking it is always good to hold the high ground, but sometimes the Moral High Ground is nothing but a position of weakness. All the Spanish have to do is sit it out and wait for a crisis. Remember Blair was going to sell them down Gibraltar down the river to gain a tiny amount of influence with or without the Gibraltarians’ blessing.

This is all hypothetical so don’t worry about it too much.

July 12, 2014 8:29 pm

@AS: Not to mention bombarding the city would result in massive civilian casualties which would cause outrage in Britain and international condemnation. Most likely to the extent we could rely on support from our allies a la ’82, logistics, munitions, intel and covering our standing commitments. Essentially everything short of joining the war themselves. With that level of support the conflict would become one sided very quickly. We’d have a free hand(politically) to hit every military facility in Spain with TLAM and storm shadow and plenty of them to do it with.

July 12, 2014 8:35 pm

I should have said,

here are “not” representative of our peoples

Sorry! :)

July 12, 2014 8:36 pm

Talk like this could draw Sir H out of retirement.

July 12, 2014 8:49 pm

You didn’t believe his little spiel about why he gave up his blog did you? Didn’t he just get married? I bet he is mowing the living room carpet or vacuuming the lawn or on one of those shopping trips where you are expected to offer an opinion on two identical items knowing full well which ever you choose it is the wrong one, or whatever else married men get up to…………… :)

July 12, 2014 9:19 pm

@X: Oh no there’s an idiot in my country, whatever will I do.

If Spain starts the war EU comes down on our side it’s entire raison d’etre, as I said, being to prevent exactly this scenario, even if it doesn’t the PM wouldn’t care and tolerance of military aggression within it’s borders would send it into a political tailspin, it will always condemn the aggressor, it has to.

Also the European Court of Human Rights will back the democratic referendum not a medieval Spanish claim and they know it, if I was wrong they’d of taken their case there already. I’m not sure where you get this notion that the EU backs Spain’s claim. Let alone would back military aggression to assert it. It simply has no basis in fact. The broker here is the PM. He holds all the cards. Military, moral and legal.

The notion that Washington would be anything other than furious at a NATO member that attacked another NATO member is ludicrous in the extreme. They didn’t complain to loudly over Argentina invading but they did provide us with stacks of the latest missiles, sat imagery and logistics.

It was the Blair government that called the referendum and started using the word “never” when they saw the result, no idea what you’re on about there. It was his Minister of State for Europe who made the statement I quoted above.

I fully accept that any pre-planned Spanish assault would overwhelm the defenders in short order, but assaulting a densely populated city will result in large civilian casualties in such an event any international sympathy for Spain’s claims would evaporate. This would not be like taking Port Stanley, it would be bloody and extremely public. This would not some Crimean-esque fait accompli with popular support from the locals.

Government policy is not to compromise under any scenario. Any PM who did compromise after an assault and against the will of the Gibraltan people would be committing political suicide.

Those restive Spanish regions, would get a lot more restive if Madrid was busy with us.

I don’t worry about it and I’ve been explaining exactly why.

July 12, 2014 9:46 pm

You are not Chuck Hill are you? You are another Chuck aren’t you? Sorry.

John Hartley
John Hartley
July 12, 2014 10:22 pm

Well I have long wanted a 7900 ft runway on South Georgia. Would put Britain in a good position for when the Antarctic treaty expires. I see the Chinese were happy to dynamite 65 mountain tops & use the material to fill in the valleys in between. That way they built a 1.3 mile runway, 2200ft above sea level. Only cost £80 million. Hechi airport. We could use the same method for South Georgia.

July 12, 2014 10:27 pm

Never heard of him. If someone else on here is using the name I’ll happily switch. Hadn’t seen it, figured it was free.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 12, 2014 11:04 pm

@ Chuck – Chap called Chuck Hill, one of the Cousins, writes a very good blog about the US Coast Guard….often to be found hereabouts…


July 12, 2014 11:25 pm

Thanks GNB.

Had a quick google, seems he comments under his full name, so I’ll leave mine as is.

Do wish we had a proper all up coast guard like the US, rather than the current mish-mash of agencies and charities but that’s another fantasy with no budget or political will.

July 13, 2014 7:49 am

In terms of Gib, the EU does not see it as Spanish, it is a strange anachronism with the population on both sides are EU citizens and NATO members but there are other anachronisms with the French and Dutch Caribbean Islands or Spanish territory in North. Africa.

How allies will react, will depend on how the situation has escalated. How did the rest of NATO react to. Greece, Turkey, Cyprus in the 70s, Greece has military coup, Cyprus has coup, Turkey reacts and invades Cyprus. The rest of us still had the Soviets to worry about so were trying to keep both in the alliance.

Spain as democratic member of EU and NATO is not suddenly going to move from some minor annoyance at the borders to full scale invasion. Spain with Catalan independence referendum and military coup in response and then Basque terrorism in response to that. At that point Spain is presumably already suspended from EU membership and has burned bridges with other friends.

Falklands we have debated here many times but the trick is preventing invasion not planning for a repeat of 1982.

Caribbean is where we would be most expected to support post Hurricane or Flood, intervening to respond to internal coup by local police of forces would be relatively easy and the Dutch and. French have similar issues, responding if the local real power had different views is harder. Responding against the US is beyond our capabilities and has been since 1940.

Cyprus the SBA are accepted by everyone for now, but post a Cyprus settlement with a reunited federal Cyprus inside the EU, the issue is going to come back.

DG big war in Asia and all bets are off but our ability to do anything independently is negligible. If we ever wanted the. Yanks to leave would they? If they did could we stop the Indians taking it.

July 13, 2014 8:30 am

With regards to the Cyprus SBA, i don’t think the situation will change anytime soon, as the Americans esp the NSA really do value the output from SIGINT stations there and will put extreme amounts of pressure on all interested parties to make sure they stay.

Banner man
Banner man
July 13, 2014 8:32 am

” As I said the EU are the brokers here and the EU see Gibraltar as Spanish.”

No, it doesn’t…just like it doesn’t see Ceuta and Melilla as Morocco.

Banner man
Banner man
July 13, 2014 8:37 am

It’s weird though, every (and I mean every) Spanish person who I have ever asked, doesn’t give two shits about Gibraltar….to most it was just this odd little bit of rock.

July 13, 2014 8:38 am
Reply to  IanB

In terms of the SBA, you are right the Yanks are perfectly happy with the status quo, and in any potential settlement we have been willing to discuss the boundaries of the SBA in the past.

However while our US cousins would probably prefer continued access both to the NSA/ GCHQ facilities and to Akritiri while if there is any complaints about sovereignty they fall on us, if the US kept access but it was a united federal Cyprus. How much support would we really get.

July 13, 2014 9:14 am

don’t confuse giving up parts of SBA with giving up capabilty. we own large amounts of land that we could give up and lose nothing in terms of capability.

July 13, 2014 9:28 am

i can imagine that we might reduce it down to one main site.

does this seem credible, and which?

July 13, 2014 9:57 am

Hi jedi,

It does not seem credible. Been skiing under the radar and other domes high up in the Taurus. They are quite a way from the airfield and the (mini)port.

, RE “a strange anachronism with the population on both sides are EU citizens and NATO members”
and Gib itself not within the EU… not to mention that there was the Command center for NATO S. Atlantic, which used to be co-manned,but has not been (manned at all?) for yonks (wonder under which one that area of Ops falls today, they have been rearranged so many times over).

July 13, 2014 10:25 am
Reply to  topman

In terms of the SBA you have an area of around 100 sq miles of which we had agreed to return 45 sq miles of pretty much uninhibited farmland under the Annan peace plan around 10 years ago.

You have a local population of around 7000 with no vote either in Cyprus, or UK or local elections. In contrast that is more than FI but less than Gib.

We have a theoretical right to claim a 200mile EEZ into an area which is now starting to see gas discovered, now that would annoy the locals.

While you have a Turkish military occupation in the North, a UN buffer zone in the middle and us in the South, we are the least of anyone’s concerns. IF everything else was sorted out we would have some difficult discussions but our priority is access to the bases not sovereignty for the sake of sovereignty.

July 13, 2014 11:26 am

“The least of anyone’s concerns” is exactly right, as a tug-of-war would follow re: which bit of the SBA quilt would go where. In 1960 the ethnic composition of the local population within them was as follows:

Column A (1920 in total)
Persons who are to become
members of the Greek
Community including those
persons who are to be
associated with it
Column B (480 in total)
Persons who are to become
members of the Turkish

Those relative numbers indicate the *right* to citizenship, after applying complicated tests. Whether the folks where happier just with things as they were and bothered with taking up such I don’t know, and the current 7000 number would indicate that exactly that happened (EU citizenship should be quite a perk though, available only to the Greek community, but do we actually have a happy unified mini-Cyprus within the SBA areas?).

El Sid
El Sid
July 13, 2014 6:49 pm

Let’s be realistic – Spain’s defence budget is just over £7bn/year, they’re trying to work out how the heck they’re going to fund an extra €1bn in back-weighted equipment contracts. So they will probably end up with Leopards and S-80s but without the training to know how to use them, they’re already struggling to meet minimum training requirements. Assuming they complete the S-80s of course, there’s various vital bits being made in Barrow.

And in any case, a Gibraltar war isn’t going to be fought like Stalingrad – it’s going to be fought in the same way as Gulf War 3 was fought against Iran – via insurance companies and banks and the bond markets. The PIGS remain very vulnerable – look how the eurozone cacked itself this week over Banco Espirito Santo missing a payment.

Get a flavour from the opening sentence of this report co-written by the opposition spokeswoman on the defence committee : “La situación del Ministerio de Defensa es de colapso financiero”. If you can’t work out what that means, there’s always Google Translate….

It seems there’s no Spanish equivalent to “funding gap” or “kicking the can down the road” so they’ve used the English versions! But the short version is that they’ve got 19 Gucci equipment programmes (the “PEA”s) that are threatening to overwhelm their budget, there’s an annual funding gap of ~15% and the opposition want them to go through a SDSR/Livre Blanc type process to figure out whether they are really needed.

July 13, 2014 8:06 pm

“Odd that the UN does not recognise the assembles of Gibraltar and the Falkland islands as self governing.”

In fact, they are not dependent enough. Mayotte, Guadeloupe etc. are not on the UN list, because France has incorporated them as proper départements in their mainland. After a Scottish “no”, the UK should impose a proper federal system, including overseas territories and crown dependencies. What does this mean: those territories having the right to send MPs to Westminster. Should not be that hard.

July 14, 2014 2:51 pm

– Remarkable idea since one of the given reasons y’all lost us “cousins” was taxation without representation. Of course, the lack of an American Revolution would have precluded or at least put off the French Revolution and could have had remarkable consequences for the exploration and settlement of the American West.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
July 14, 2014 3:22 pm

@Thread – “Odd that the UN do not recognise the assemblies of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands as self-governing”…not so much, as if they did the Spanish/Argentine Claims would be dismissed out of hand under Article 1 of the UN Charter in the light of the regular votes held in both places asserting their right to self-determination as BOTs. The only consistent aspect of Spanish and especially Argentine “diplomacy” at the UN is to maintain some kind of legal fiction that both places are “imprisoned colonies” with “implanted populations” that should be handed over to them immediately to be “de-colonised” by being put under military occupation by people who share neither a language nor a culture with them (??!)…

I’ve never understood why our own Diplomats prefer to leave well enough alone, rather than expending a little effort to sort the job out in our interest…I assume they fear they couldn’t, and we would need to exercise the veto in order to maintain the status quo.


July 20, 2014 11:58 am

Just a minor point.
If the Spanish wanted to take Gibraltar surely it would be more like Crimea than Stalingrad?
Thousands of Spanish workers and tourists cross the border every day, presumably with few security checks on the British side.
One morning there would suddenly be armed men in uniform all over the place:
Block the police station and barracks
Take control of the border posts so the Spanish Army can drive through.
Take control of the airport and other flat spaces for a quick helicopter shuttle of reinforcements
Take control of the port so a conveniently passing Juan Carlos or Galicia dumps armour etc.
All over in a morning without needing to destroy anything or kill anybody who isn’t suicidally patriotic

July 20, 2014 12:35 pm

Or they could just walk across the bay…..

More terrifying as Morrison’s are doing away with the coin release for their trolleys the invading forces won’t have to worry much about logistics.

July 20, 2014 2:31 pm

I’m sure the battalion of British infantry(90% gib residents). Will what? Just abandon their homeland without firing a shot? Also 98.5% of Gib residents are patriotic. It’s one thing to pull it off with 50% of the populace supporting you entirely another with about 1%. Which means lots of blood will be spilt and once lots of blood is spilt it’s a shooting war.

Crimea and Gibraltar are entirely different political(for one the British political system hasn’t collapsed in on itself) and military scenarios. There is no Fait Accompli scenario for Gib.