It is 30 years since Argentina and the UK went to war over ownership of the Falkland Islands. The conflict was never classified as a war but rather a task force, but tell that to those who fought and those who lost their lives or were injured.
The UK may maintain that it is their prerogative where they station individual members of the armed services but it does seem seem ill timed to say the least that Prince William, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, has just arrived in the Falklands for a 6-week deployment.
The Prince has been deployed as a routine part of his work as an RAF search and rescue pilot. Argentina said, almost as soon as his planned Falkland's deployment was announced, that it was a provocative act.
Today, February 2, 2012, the MoD, ministry of defence said, "The Ministry of Defence can confirm Flight Lieutenant Wales, as part of a four-man search and rescue (SAR) crew, has arrived in the Falkland Islands on a routine operational deployment and will shortly take up SAR duties post a period of briefings and a familiarisation flight."
The MoD also claim that the fact that HMS Dauntless, a Type 45 destroyer, is heading to the region is also simply coincidental. They maintain that this is also merely routine.
Tensions in the region have been high as the anniversary of the Falkland's war approaches. The conflict in 1982 only lasted 74 days but in that time 649 Argentine troops and 255 British troops lost their lives. Many more suffered live changing injuries. The Falklands island has a small population of less than 3,000.
The islands lie close to Argentina but Great Britain maintains it has sovereign rights over the islands. The UK has said that as long as the people of the Falklands want to remain British we will do what it takes to make sure the status quo is maintained. The cost in money and personnel seems a huge price to pay for such a small population. However could we simply abandon the Falkland islanders?
A hornet's nest seems about to spill out again. In the last day Argentina has been accused of plotting against the Falkland Islanders. Authorities in the UK seem sure that Argentina is plotting an economic blockade of the islands and a cessation of flights. With this in mind you have to wonder if Prince William's deployment in the area is as innocent as the MoD maintains. It seems more like both sides are flexing their muscles, testing the water and playing a war of nerves.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog
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