by Luke Coffey
The Heritage Foundation
February 14, 2014
Backgrounder
The more than three-centuries-long dispute between Spain and the United Kingdom over the status of Gibraltar has been heating up again. The U.S. has interests at stake in the dispute: It benefits from its close relationship with Gibraltar as a British Overseas Territory. The Anglo-American Special Relationship means that the U.S. enjoys access to British overseas military bases unlike any other country in the world. In addition, Spain ignores the Gibraltarians’ right of self-determination—a right on which America was founded. Spain is an important NATO ally and home to several U.S. military installations, but its behavior has a direct impact on the effectiveness of U.S. military operations in the Mediterranean. The U.S. should support the Gibraltarians’ right to self-determination and should cooperate with the U.K. to preserve the American Armed Forces’ access to the military facilities in Gibraltar.



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