According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the waters around Gibraltar are indisputably British territorial waters.
But Spain disputes UK sovereignty over Gibraltar, a limestone outcrop known as the Rock near the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, which has been ruled by Britain since 1713.
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In my best British vexed: how can the west expect Islam to get a grip on its small wars, whether spun into reality by criminal egotism and greed or rightful fear of dissolution associated with access to and control of money, natural resources, and trade, when it entangles itself in a spat over a long-held British property?
The causes are small but significant: cigarette smuggling; alleged environmental impact of a small artificial reef — intended to promote biodiversity and littoral marine health — on a Spanish fishery.
Stop the tobacco smugglers on the British side (equalize the pricing, perhaps; govern the volume of shipping received, perhaps; if criminally received, put the behavior in the international crime — and narcotics — category, or treat as if it was).
Compensate the fisherman, if necessary, or produce a positive economic adjustment program.
Whatever the casuistry, stop it, put the guns down and get the disputes settled by attending to the issues together.
BBC News – Spain’s Gibraltar checks lawful – EU – 11/15/2013.
BBC News – Smuggling cheap tobacco from Gibraltar – 8/22/2013:
In Gibraltar, the first thing you come to, once your passport has been checked, is a kiosk selling cheap tobacco.
The two things are linked.
The bicycles have been seized from cyclists trying to smuggle tobacco across the border into Spain, where they can make a healthy profit.
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