Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Journal: Argentina, Chile and the Joint Antarctic Naval Patrol: a successful confidence building mechanism

"Argentina, Chile and the Joint Antarctic Naval Patrol: a successful confidence building mechanism"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
The Polar Journal
Published online: 11 April, 2017
Established in the late 1990s, the Joint Antarctic Naval Patrol (PANC) is a defence initiative that brings together naval platforms from Argentina and Chile to monitor Antarctic waters and territory. After almost 20 annual campaigns, Patrol vessels have helped numerous vessels in need, as well as having carried out an emergency extraction from a Brazilian base in 2012. The success of the PANC is even more commendable given the occasionally tense relations between Argentina and Chile, which include overlapping Antarctic claims. The PANC is likely to continue operating for the immediate future particularly since climate change, which translates into a longer Antarctic summer, and greater maritime traffic has already prompted recent campaigns to extend operations for an additional two weeks. Nevertheless, one factor that hinders the Patrol and its capabilities is that it is made up of a few ageing vessels, and neither Argentina nor Chile have recently obtained modern platforms for Antarctic operations. In spite of this limitation, the activities carried out by these two navies make the PANC an example of how military cooperation to protect the Antarctic and human activities there is possible.

EIR: The ICJ As An Effective Conflict Prevention Tool in Latin America

"The ICJ as an effective conflict prevention tool in Latin America"
W. Alejandro Sanchez and Brittney J. Figueroa
E-International Relations
April 4, 2017

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has made a name for itself as various governments across the world resort to it to rule on inter-state disagreements. There are certainly valid criticisms about how the ICJ, the chief judicial body of the United Nations, operates, particularly as African governments have accused it of imposing Eurocentric international law. Some of its rulings on controversial cases have even been denounced as ‘step[s] backwards’.

Despite these criticisms, Latin American governments have regularly turned to ICJ rulings on border disputes and other inter-state disagreements.  Over the past decades, the Court has ruled on numerous cases between Latin American states and enjoys a positive record so far in this region, given the generally peaceful compliance of Latin American states to the Court’s rulings. Nevertheless, the complexity of one particular case, ‘Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean’, a historically-charged territorial dispute between Bolivia and Chile, may prove to challenge the credibility of the ICJ in Latin America in the near future.
The ICJ in Latin America
Since commencing its operations in 1946, after the 1945 San Francisco Conference and the dissolution of the Permanent Court of International Justice, the ICJ has had an important and constant role in Latin American geopolitical affairs. For example, the ICJ’s first case in the region was Colombia v. Peru in 1949 regarding the interpretation of an asylum treaty. Honduras and Nicaragua similarly turned to the Court in 1958 after the latter claimed that the Arbitral Award that delineates the borders between the two countries, made by the King of Spain in 1906, was not binding. Ultimately, Nicaragua lost the case, as judges voted 14 to 1 in favor of Honduras.In other words, the ICJ has ruled not solely on cases relating to territorial disputes, but also diplomatic disagreements.
In the 21st century, the Court has been actively involved in border disputes. For example, The ICJ has passed rulings on cases between Costa Rica and Nicaragua over navigational rights in 2009Argentina and Uruguay over a pulp mill in the Uruguay River in 2010;Colombia and Nicaragua  over a territorial and maritime dispute in 2012; a maritime dispute between Chile and Peru in 2014; and a ping-ponged dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua over both the rights to wetlands on the River San Juan, and the construction of a road along the San Juan River in 2015. Most recently, in March 2016, the court passed a new judgment over the delimitation of the continental shelf between Colombia and Nicaragua(a follow up of the aforementioned ruling).
At the time of this writing, March 2017, out of the Court’s 14 pending cases, seven involve Latin American states: three cases between Costa Rica and Nicaragua; two involving Nicaragua and Colombia; and two between Bolivia and Chile.
How does the ICJ fit into Latin American geopolitics? The obvious answer is that it is a positive development that regional states are looking for non-violent means to solve their outstanding border disputes, including seeking third party mediation (and rulings).
Moreover, the governments that have gone to the Court have generally respected the ICJ’s decisions, though there have been occasions in which states return to the Court for additional clarification (and arguably to revisit the previous decision in order to obtain a more favorable ruling). The back-to-back rulings between Colombia and Nicaragua regarding their maritime dispute illustrates this situation. Additionally, there is the question of whether an ICJ ruling will be beneficial or detrimental to bilateral relations. For brevity, we are not able to provide an in-depth discussion about this issue, however it is worth noting that Peru and Chile have respected the Court’s decision over their maritime borders, and have strong bilateral ties, particularly when it comes to trade due to their membership in the Pacific Alliance, a regional trade bloc. With that said, the two countries have a history of “bad blood” and distrust dating back to the 19th century War of the Pacific, and while they will likely continue to respect the Court’s 2014 ruling, this does not necessarily mean that distrust will decrease in the short term. It is also worth noting that there is still a disagreement over the interpretation of the ICJ ruling regarding how it affects the territorial border between the two countries. For the moment, neither government appears interested in returning to the ICJ as the main goal is to improve bilateral relations rather than provoke more controversy, however this could happen at some point given the precedents set by other governments.
The numerous judicial procedures between San Jose and Managua require additional discussion as they exemplify how the ICJ is utilized. In 2010, Costa Rica went to the Court and asked that it investigate the legality of Nicaragua’s excavation of three channels of the River San Juan, as well as Nicaraguan military presence on Costa Rican territory. Very soon after, Managua submitted a counter claim to the court in 2011 stating that San Jose had failed to perform environmental impact assessments prior to the construction of a highway that runs close to the river. In December 2015, the Court ruled that Nicaragua pay damages to its neighbor, as its actions violated Costa Rica’s territorial sovereignty, the 1858 Treaty of Limits, and the ICJ Order of 8 March 2011 (“Certain Activities Carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area”) outlining provisional measures issued by the court. On the other hand, Costa Rica was found guilty of the allegations in the counter claim, but was not ordered to compensate Nicaragua.
Although complex, this trial had a positive diplomatic end, as made clear by Nicaragua’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Carlos Argüello Gómez’s statement that ‘[The] ruling will help ties between our two countries. When things are cleared up, then problems go away and that is the most important thing.’ This positive outlook, however, is fragile when the tensions between the parties involved are already high. Moreover on 16 January the ICJ announced that Costa Rica had commenced proceedings against Nicaragua, making it the third case between the two sides currently in the ICJ’s docket. Clearly, diplomatic relations between the two remain tense, however violence continues to be avoided.
A Pivotal Case
The intention of the authors is to propose that the Court’s ultimate challenge, including the question whether parties will respect its ruling, has to do with the Bolivia and Chile cases. There are currently not one, but two cases under deliberation, the most controversial regarding a border issue that is over a century old and the foundation of patriotic sentiments in the landlocked nation as La Paz has sued Santiago in an effort to have access to the Pacific Ocean.
Bolivia lost its coastal territories to Chile during the War of the Pacific (1879-1883), making it a landlocked nation. The state has subsequently attempted to regain some sort of permanent corridor back to the Pacific. This is a very complicated and sensitive issue: should the Court award sovereignty to Bolivia to territory currently controlled by Chile, it would effectively cut Chile geographically in two. The case is still in its preliminary hearings and presentation of arguments and counter arguments; hence we will have to wait some years before the ICJ passes its decision.
Nevertheless, even at this early stage, tensions are already high. For decades, diplomatic relations between the two countries have been limited. In April 2013, the Evo Morales government filed an application at the ICJ against Chile due to the failure, from the Bolivian point of view, of “Chile’s obligation to negotiate in good faith and effectively with Bolivia in order to reach an agreement granting Bolivia a fully sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean.” While Bolivia is utilizing  the Court to force negotiations over  access to the Ocean, Chile claims that the existence of a 1904 peace treaty has settled the account between the two nations, and hence does not see the need to negotiate further, thuscalling into question the jurisdictional boundaries of the Court. Santiago’s lack of intention to enter negotiations with La Paz over the past decades regarding the sea access is arguably the main reason why President Morales decided to go to an international judicial body for a favorable ruling to force Chile negotiate.
While the case is proceeding, in late March Bolivia filed new paperwork at the ICJ, and Santiago has also opened a case against La Paz over the Silala River. The authors would argue that the Silala case is a countermove by Santiago over the sea access issue, a sort of legal tit-for-tat akin to the Costa Rica and Nicaragua proceedings. Due to space considerations, we cannot provide an in-depth discussion about the Silala case, which centers on Chile stating that the river is an international watercourse, therefore making Santiago “entitled to the equitable and reasonable use of the waters of the Silala River system in accordance with customary international law.” While Santiago may have a valid claim to the river, the timing of the case suggests that more than interest in the river, Chile wants to “punish” Bolivia for commencing proceedings over the sea access issue.
It is important to note that the ICJ’s role in the sea access case is a bit different than its usual role. The Court is currently being used as a tool, rather than as an explicit decider, in the case. This is exemplified in its most recent declaration, aptly named ‘Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean’. Rather than deciding on which of the two countries is granted access to the ocean, the ruling makes it mandatory that Santiago peacefully negotiates with La Paz regarding the coveted corridor to the Pacific. However, Chile’s president was quick to remark that, even though the court has ruled so that Chile is forced to negotiate, “Bolivia hasn’t won anything” and that the ruling “does not affect the territorial integrity of Chile”. These comments regarding the heated, historically-charged case bring to light concerns about related future rulings. While it is uncommon for States to go against ICJ rulings, if they feel that the Court lacks jurisdiction over a particular matter, they may contend. This possibility then raises important questions. If the two countries cannot come to an agreement on their own, will the Court issue an umbrella decision, and if it does, will Chile comply?
The ICJ may attempt to go for a Solomon-like ruling, with La Paz gaining joint control, but not sovereignty, over a narrow corridor to the ocean. If both sides choose to respect the ICJ’s ruling on such a complex and controversial issue, this will provide the Court with further credibility of a near-perfect record in the region.
Final Thoughts
Since its inception, the International Court of Justice has been involved in Latin American affairs. While critics deem international courts fundamentally ineffective, and wrestle with the idea whether compliance with international law may be a top priority for a state, the ICJ’s rulings in the region prove otherwise, as they have affected Latin American diplomatic relations over the past decades, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Indeed, this analysis mentions how eight nations in recent years have gone to the ICJ to peacefully resolve various differences that range from territorial disputes to even navigational rights. In fact, half of the Court’s pending cases deal directly with Latin America, demonstrating how the region is eager for resolutions to inter-state conflicts that no longer require violence. This statement is supported by the fact that the last inter-state war was more than 20 years ago: the 1995 conflict between Peru and Ecuador, and prior to that, the 1982 Faklands/Malvinas War between Argentina and the United Kingdom.
Ultimately, while Latin American countries have generally respected the Court’s decisions, it will be important to monitor how countries involved in more controversial disputes, namely the Bolivia-Chile sea access case, will react to future ICJ rulings. Hopefully, the two parties will choose to continue in the peaceful steps of their fellow Latin American nations regarding the Court, and respect the ICJ’s ruling.

The authors wish it to be known that the views presented in this essay are their sole responsibility do not necessarily reflect those of any institutions with which the authors are associated.
W. Alejandro Sanchez Nieto and Brittney J. Figueroa.
Alejandro is an analyst who focuses on international security and geopolitics. Follow him on Twitter: @W_Alex_Sanchez. Brittney is a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelors degree in Global Studies, and a Minor in Latin American Iberian Studies.


"The Demobilization of Latin America's Only Carrier: Brazil's NAE Sao Paulo"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
The Southern Tide
Center for International Maritime Security
April 3, 2017
The Southern Tide
Written by Wilder Alejandro Sanchez, The Southern Tide addresses maritime security issues throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. It discusses the challenges regional navies face including limited defense budgets, inter-state tensions, and transnational crimes. It also examines how these challenges influence current and future defense strategies, platform acquisitions, and relations with global powers.
“The security environment in Latin America and the Caribbean is characterized by complex, diverse, and non-traditional challenges to U.S. interests.” Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, before the 114th Congress Senate Armed Services Committee, 10 March 2016.
By W. Alejandro Sanchez
On 14 February, the Brazilian Navy announced that it will suspend the modernization of carrier NAe Sao Paulo (A12) and commence its demobilization and subsequent decommissioning. Oddly, the news is simultaneously surprising and unsurprising at the same time. The Brazilian Navy regarded the extension of the carrier’s operational life as one of its priorities, however, ongoing technical difficulties and rising costs have made it more feasible to get rid of it than to extend its service life. As Brazil is the only Latin American country that possesses an aircraft carrier, its decommissioning must be properly discussed in terms of regional geopolitics.
A Brief History
Brazil has possessed two carriers: the first one was NAe Minas Gerais (A11), a Colossus-class vessel that served in the Brazilian Navy from 1960 to 2001. The vessel, formerly known as HMSVengeance (R71), was constructed by the United Kingdom during World War II and sold to the South American nation in 1956.
Minas Gerais was replaced by Sao Paulo, a Clemencau-type French carrier formerly known as Foch (F99). The vessel was constructed in the late 1950s and Brazil purchased it in 2000 in a deal reportedly worth USD 12 million; it arrived in the country in 2001.Sao Paulo reportedly displaces 32,800 thousand tons, is 265 meters in length, and its air wing is constituted of A-4 Skyhawk aircraft. Sao Paulo was an important component in the training of Brazil’s naval pilots, and it also participated in exercises with countries like Argentina. However, it also spent time docked undergoing repairs and upgrades.
The French shipyard Direction dês Constructions Navales et Services (DCNS) announced in December 2013 that it had “performed a ship check on the forward catapult” of Sao Paulo. On November 2015, IHS Jane’s reported that cracks had been found in the hull of the carrier, but the Brazilian Navy denied the report. Unfortunately, there were also deadly accidents aboard the platform: a May 2004 fire in the engine room killed three crew members. A second fire on February 2012 killed sailor Carlos Alexandre dos Santos Oliveira.
Demobilization Plans
The Navy’s decision to demobilize the platform is a slight surprise to the author of this commentary, who just this past Septemberquoted the Brazilian Navy’s commander saying otherwise. At the time, the author asked Admiral Eduardo Leal Ferreira, commander of the Brazilian Navy, a question about Sao Paulo’s future at an on-the-record event at the National Bureau of Asian Research on 26 September, 2016. The Admiral explained that “we are working with DCNS to find a technical solution to have its propulsion system renewed.” Moreover, the Admiral listed the carrier as the third of the navy’s priorities, after the submarine program (PROSUB) and the construction of the Tamandare-class corvettes. What a difference a few months can make.
The Brazilian Navy’s communiqué explains the reasoning behind the decision to demobilize the carrier: upgrading it signifies “a high financial investment, there are technical issues and [the process will] require an extended period [of time].” The modernization process apparently could have taken a decade, by which time the AF-1 group would have to be retired, making it necessary to buy a new air wing suitable for the old ship. In an e-mail interview with this author, Professor Mauricio Santoro, a political scientist and assistant professor at the department of international relations of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, adds that “the explanation for this decision is the deep financial crisis that the Brazilian government is facing, with austerity measures being implemented as well as the expense cuts in many public policies.” In other words, given the scarce use of Sao Paulo and the expensive requirements needed to extend its operational life into the late 2030s, it is not surprising that the platform is being scrapped.  According to the Navy, the process will require three years.
With that said, the Brazilian Navy is already looking past Sao Pauloand maintains the aim of having a carrier in its fleet. Theaforementioned 14 February communiqué explains that a new carrier remains the Navy’s third priority after PROSUB and the corvettes as “obtaining a new carrier will be substantially cheaper than modernizing Sao Paulo.”
This statement raises questions like: will Brasilia once again acquired a used platform, or will it embark on the more ambitious, but probably more costly, goal of manufacturing a new one? In recent years there have been occasional reports that DCNS has offered its PA2/CVF carrier project to Brazil to eventually replaceSao Paulo. We will have to wait and see how the Navy’s medium- and long-term plans are affected by recent developments. It is likely that Sao Paulo will be replaced eventually since, as Professor Santoro explains, “the importance of a carrier to Brazil has been highlighted in every major policy document of the Armed Forces, such as the National Defence Strategy.”
A Carrier-less Brazil and Latin America?
In previous CIMSEC analyses (e.g. How Peaceful is the South Atlantic?) the author discussed the generally calm South Atlantic geopolitics, which can be expanded to calm Latin American and Caribbean in general. There certainly are still some maritime border disputes and occasional incidents, but the region has been free of inter-state warfare for decades (the last regional war with a maritime theater of operations was the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas War). Moreover, Brazil enjoys cordial relations with its neighbors, hence the Brazilian Navy probably does not require a carrier to protect its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Nevertheless, the Brazilian Navy and several scholars and experts do believe in the necessity of having an aircraft carrier. “Brazil has thousands of miles of coastline, major offshore oil reserves, and more of 90 percent of its foreign trade comes from the sea, hence a carrier is an important tool for naval and foreign policy, as it serves both as a deterrent and helps naval forces in the open sea, among other activities,” Professor Santoro notes.  Additionally, a carrier would help Brazil’s power projection, demonstrating to the world that it has a blue water navy.
The Sao Paulo’s usefulness would likely be different if it had proved to be a global asset. For example, Sao Paulo could have been deployed to peacekeeping missions that Brazil participates in, such as the UN mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) or the UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The platform would have been a welcomed addition to the multinational humanitarian operations in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

As previously mentioned, Brazil is the only Latin American that has a carrier nowadays. The only other regional country to possess one was neighboring Argentina: the ARA Independencia (V1) and then the ARA 25 de Mayo (V2), a Colossus-class carrier decommissioned in 1997. In fact, other Latin American navies are turning to smaller platforms, particularly oceanic patrol vessels (OPVs) given their maritime security challenges.
Should Brazil eventually acquire a new carrier, this will hardly affect regional geopolitics. Brasilia enjoys cordial relations with its immediate neighbors and the Western Hemisphere in general. This is best exemplified by the fact that the PROSUB project, which includes constructing a nuclear-powered submarine, has not triggered a regional arms race to deter an “imperialist” Brazil.
Final Thoughts
By the end of the decade, carrier Sao Paulo’s time in the Brazilian Navy will come to an end, leaving behind a lackluster record. The vessel spent too much time in port undergoing repairs, and when it was out at sea, it was for standard training missions, never participating in a defining operation that validated its acquisition. Moreover, Brazil likely does not need a carrier to protect its EEZ from neighboring nations, Latin American geopolitics being what they are, as compared to a large fleet of OPVs (the Tamandare corvettes will probably fulfill this role). Nevertheless, Brazilian experts, as well as the Navy, do regard the carrier as an important component of their maritime defense system as well as a critical platform to project Brazilian naval power.
Should Brazil eventually obtain a new carrier, this hypothetical platform should participate in multinational naval operations, such as Operation Atalanta in the Horn of Africa to combat piracy. The carrier could be utilized as a launching pad and an at-sea command center for humanitarian missions akin to the Operation Unified Assistance, in which the Carrier Strike Group Nine, led by U.S. carrier Abraham Lincoln, helped Asia Pacific nations after the2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. In other words, if the Brazilian Navy continues to regard a new carrier as a priority, while arguably unnecessary for traditional defense purposes, such a platform can be utilized for various helpful initiatives around the globe.
 Alejandro Sanchez Nieto is a researcher who focuses on geopolitical, military and cyber security issues in the Western Hemisphere. Follow him on Twitter: @W_Alex_Sanchez
The views presented in this essay are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of any institutions with which the author is associated.

LIP: Expanding Peru’s Presence in Antarctica

"Expanding Peru's Presence in Antarctica"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Living in Peru
April 6, 2017

A new Peruvian scientific expedition in Antarctica, named ANTARXXIV, concluded in early March. Peru has had a presence in Antarctica dating back to the late 1980s and while the country does not claim territory there, it is nevertheless imperative for Peru to have a constant and vibrant presence as Antarctica’s importance increases in the coming years. The recent addition of a new oceanographic vessel is a welcomed development as this platform will help Peru’s Antarctic program develop.
“Peru has had a presence in Antarctica dating back to the late 1980s and while the country does not claim territory there, it is nevertheless imperative for Lima to have a constant and vibrant presence as Antarctica’s importance increases in the coming years.”
Peru And The Frozen Continent
Peru is a member of the Antarctic Treaty System the international system that monitors Antarctica; it joined the Antarctic Treaty in 1981, became a Consultative Status member in 1989 and signed the Environment Protocol in 1998. Additionally, the country’s 2005 White Book has a section discussing Peru’s history in said region.
Peru’s first expedition occurred in 1988, during the first term of former President Alan Garcia (1985-1990) and since then, it has maintained a small but continuous presence in Antarctica. The country has a semi-permanent base, Machu Picchu , in King George Island, and also a polar vessel, BICHumboldt. Unfortunately, Humboldt is an old platform, as it was constructed in 1978 by the Peruvian shipyard Servicios Industriales de la Marina, with German assistance, and had to undergo major upgrades as recently as 2012 to extend its operational life.
Thankfully Peru will not have to rely on Humboldt for much longer as the Ollanta Humala presidency (2011-2016) ordered a new oceanographic polar vessel, BAP Carrasco (BOP-171), which was constructed by the Spanish shipyard Freire. The new vessel was handed-over to a Peruvian crew in late March and Carrasco will hopefully participate in the 2018 campaign. The author is not aware of Lima’s plans for Humboldt, but hopefully it will continue to operate in a support capacity so that Peru can have a polar fleet, not just one vessel.
As for ANTAR XXIV it was carried out from 9 January until 5 March. Air Force Coronel Wolker Lozada Maldonado commanded the expedition which reportedly had 33 specialists .
Looking Ahead
The author will put forward three overlapping reasons why Peru needs to maintain a constant presence, if not larger than it currently has, in Antarctica. First, the frozen continent is becoming crowded: there are seven countries, including Argentina and Chile, have territorial claims in Antarctica. Additionally, global powers like the U.S and China , have bases there. Even more, new countries are developing their own Antarctic programs. One prime example is neighboring Colombia , which recently carried out its third Antarctic expedition via a domestically-manufactured vessel, ARC20 de Julio. In other words, Peru should not fall behind in this race for Antarctica.
Second, a key date to keep in mind is 2048, when ATS comes up for review (until 2048 the Protocol can only be modified by unanimous agreement of all Consultative Parties). While Peru does not claim Antarctic territory, it is important that the Peruvian government has a seat at the table of negotiations when Antarctica’s future is decided. One method to achieve this is by carrying out relevant scientific research, e.g. ongoing Peruvian studies of the krill , during the ANTAR expeditions.
Finally, climate change is affecting the global ecosystem, including the melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and there will be a growing interest to exploit the region’s natural and mineral resources. As discussed in the paragraph above, Peru must be in a position in which it can have a relevant voice in these inevitable discussions in order to protect the country’s interests.
Final Thoughts
Peru’s presence in Antarctica over the past three decades should be a source of national pride for the Andean nation. As the region’s importance grows and the year 2048 approaches, Peru must continue to have a vibrant role in Antarctic affairs. The acquisition of Carrasco is a very positive development and which will hopefully be followed by other initiatives so that the Peruvian flag will be ever-present in Antarctica.
For more information see: Reinvigorating Peru’s role in Antarctic Geopolitics . W. Alejandro Sanchez and Otto Tielemans Jr. The Polar Journal. Vol. 5/Issue 1. June 2015. P. 101-112.
W. Alejandro Sanchez Nieto is an international security analyst. Follow him on Twitter:@W_Alex_Sanchez
The views presented in this essay are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of any institutions with which the author is associated.
_W. Alejandro Sanchez Nieto is an international security analyst. Follow him on Twitter. _