Thursday, March 18, 2010

Don't Cry For Me...

Today's Metro also has another story about the escalating tensions over the Falklands. Argentina is threatening to ban companies associated with the drilling for oil. As the article notes, this includes Barclays, who are shareholders in Desire Petroleum.

HMS Sceptre, the last of the Swiftsure class, and due to be decommissioned in December, has been sent to keep things under control. Presumably that means there's also a very small chance that she will follow HMS Conqueror's lead in returning home flying a Jolly Roger - this is presumable the last 'opportunity' for the Swiftsures to do so before being consigned to history. It seems (thankfully) extremely unlikely, though.

HMS York is there, as is a large RFA vessel (RFA Wave Ruler - 31,500 tons displacement, about six times the size of a destroyer), providing a visible deterrent. The Falklands are much better protected than they were in 1982: a permanent garrison of around 500 troops, air defences including four Typhoons (1435 flight) and Rapier FSC SAMs.

Enough to deter scrap-metal merchants from raising a flag, certainly.

The Argentinians would have to launch a full-scale attack to gain control of the islands, not just turn up and wait to be kicked out, which would not sit well with the Americans. It may work, it may not, but it would be a huge gamble and the attempt would likely result in significant Argentinian casualties, making it political suicide for Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

So, her only real option is trade sanctions. How effective are those likely to be? No idea, to be honest, but I don't think Barclays makes a particularly large proportion of their money from Argentina...

- KoW

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