Will there be another Falklands conflict?

The Daily Telegraph reports:

A series of military options are being actively considered as the war of words over the islands intensifies.

It is understood that additional troops, another warship and extra RAF Typhoon combat aircraft could be dispatched to the region ahead of the March referendum on the Falkland Islands’ future.

The people of the have the right of self-determination. There may only be 3,000 or so of them but that is more than Tokelau and Niue.

In the last referendum in 1986, 96.5% voted for British sovereignty, 1.7% for independence and 0.3% for Argentine sovereignty.

Intelligence chiefs have warned David Cameron that a resounding “yes” vote could lead to an aggressive “stunt” by the Argentine government, such as the planting of the country’s flag on the island by a small raiding party.

Other possibilities include a “cod war” style harassment campaign by the Argentine navy of the Falklands’ fishing fleet and the disruption of British oil and gas exploration.

Such a move, officers have warned, could quite quickly escalate into aggressive action if the Royal Navy was ordered to intervene.

Or Argentina could just respect the rights of the people whose families have lived there for 170 years or so.

Despite the increasing hostile rhetoric from Argentine president Cristina Kirchner, the British government believes that Buenos Aries currently lacks both the political will and military capability to recapture the islands.

But the Prime Minister has told his cabinet and senior defence chiefs that Britain should not be complacent and must be fully prepared for every eventuality.

Just last week the Mr Cameron insisted that Britain would not shirk from defending the islands if Argentina attempted another invasion.

So could Argentina try to invade again?

Argentina is facing serious economic problems and President Kirchner’s popularity ratings have never been lower. But one of the few unifying forces within Argentine politics is the country’s claim over “Las Malvinas” – the Spanish name for the islands.

The problem with an invasion is it makes you popular initially, but less so after you get defeated.

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