Tensions between the United States and Iran have spiked in recent weeks, culminating in a Iranian-backed militia’s storming of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Later Qasem Soleimani, a top general and one of the most powerful men in Iran, was killed in a drone strike at Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.
Shortly after Soleimani’s funeral, military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader told media that Iran’s response will certainly be a military response. On January 5, 2020, after the imminent threat of retaliation solidified, the US Air Force deployed six B-52s to the military base on Diego Garcia.
Citing an unnamed official, American media stated that the Strato-fortress bombers will be available for operations against Iran.
Diego Garcia provides the US a launching pad for attacking the middle East and Asia if the need arises.
Diego Garcia is a 17 sq. mile horseshoe-shaped island in the Indian Ocean’s Chagos Archipelago region. The geography of the island consists of a tropical climate with thick jungles and white sand beaches. The island serves as a strategic location between East Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. The British invaded the island due to its strategic value and even after Mauritius gained independence, the British refused to budge. Today, the island is called Diego Garcia and used as a vital asset for supplying US naval forces and projecting air power into Asia and the Middle East
In the Cold War, the ‘great’ Britain leased Diego Garcia to the American military for the construction of a naval base on the island. For the construction of the base, about 2,000 native Chagossians, who lived there, were murdered, raped and forcibly removed from the island by the British government between the years 1968 and 1973.
Since then, the island has mainly been used as a launching pad for bombs. Various bombing missions were carried out on Iraq during the first Gulf War in 1991 and war in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 using the military base at Diego Garcia. The US 50-year lease on Diego Garcia expired in 2016
The Native Chagossians have been raising the issue in UN and have sued unsuccessfully for their right to return home. According to a report, an estimated 3,000-5,000 military personnel and civilians, most of them American and British live on the illegally occupied island today
The UN finally heard the plight of the natives and gave U.K. six months to hand control of the Chagos archipelago back to Mauritius, but similar to anything relating to US and UK’s international violations, this too was promptly swept under the rug.
The government of Mauritius has called the British “illegal colonial occupiers” in the Chagos Archipelago. However the British have an argument of their own. “Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the BIOT and the U.K. does not recognize its claim.” Is what the British had to say about it.
“The U.K. has no doubt as to our sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814,” stated Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in a statement.
Mauritius however maintains that Chagos Islands were handed to the U.K. in 1965 for gaining their independence, which it gained three years later, but the British kept the island and were bland enough to lease it to the US like their own property. Even though on May 22, 2019 the UN General Assembly voted by an overwhelming majority of 116 to 6to demand the U.K. leave within six months.
The UN said the decolonization of Mauritius “was not conducted in a manner consistent with the right to self-determination” and “continued administration of the Archipelago constitutes a wrongful act.”
However, the deadline was not binding, and the thanks to this favoritism U.K. never left the island without any fear of sanctions or immediate punishments. Apparently 116 to 6 is a very close enough number to the UN, with the U.K. claiming to have purchased the small group of Islands for $3 million and clearly refusing to withdraw. Meanwhile in Mauritus, the celebrations of the UN’s decision have died down since the people realized that no justice is applicable in the case of US and UK, because they’re ‘always right.’
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of THE ACE NEWS. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.
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17 November, 2019