Argentina – a history of petty stunts.

2 Feb

News today that Prince William is to start his 6 week training deployment to the Falkland Islands this week. Although no date had perviously been confirmed, the British Press was not expecting the move to take place until later in the month.

If the Ministry of Defence has moved the date forward, it begs the question; why?

The most obvious possibility is that the Foreign Office, which always had doubts about the advisability of the Prince going to the Islands, has exerted pressure on the MOD to avoid the heir to the throne being in the Falklands on the 30th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of 1982, which falls on April 2nd. Argentina has been particularly annoyed by the Prince being sent to the South Atlantic at this time and has complained loudly for some months, most recently referring to the Prince arriving as a “Conquistador.” The Foreign Office also has a history of taking a softer, some would say, wimpish, approach to Britain’s sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, often being seen to side with South American attitudes more than with the Islanders. It was just such an attitude that nearly had the Islands whipped from under the Falklanders in the late 1960’s. On that occasion the Islanders mounted an effective defence campaign and gained Parliamentary support against the Foreign Office.

By ensuring that Prince William has completed his military tour before the 2nd of April, the Foreign Office may be seeking to take some of the sting out of his training deployment.

Another possibility may be that of security. Argentina has a history of ‘silly stunts’ involving raising their flag on isolated and obscure British islands in the Antarctic region, landing small planes near Stanley and handing out leaflets, or, more recently, arriving on a cruise ship and walking into the Islands’ Capital using the Argentine flag as a shawl.

The most dangerous incident involved the hijacking of an Aerolineas DC4 passenger aircraft in September 1966. An Argentine terrorist cell calling themselves the Condor Group was responsible and forced the plane to land  on the race-course. A two-day stand-off followed before the 19 Argentines surrendered to the locals.

Intelligence already appears to have been received by the British Government, that such a stunt was a real possibility. Information serious enough for the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to discuss it with defence chiefs. If Prince William’s deployment has been brought forward, it may just be a method of avoiding the sort of petty stunt that Argentines appear to revel in.


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