Over the weekend an Argentine judge ordered the seizure of $156 million and other assets from British and US oil companies exploring for oil in waters off the Falkland Islands. The Falkland Islands have been a disputed territory since colonization by Europeans, and the islands have had French, British, Spanish, and Argentine settlements. The UK has asserted control since 1883, and the islands were the scene of a fairly brief but deadly war between the UK and Argentina in 1982. Recently, the rhetoric from Argentina has heated up with the discovery of significant oil reserves. This judicial ruling is the most recent in a series by the government to stop exploration and potential development by other countries. Although there is little Argentina can do to enforce these orders, they do create uncertainty and cast a pall over any attempted development in this frontier region.
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