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Icelandic War (Napoleon's World)

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The 1990 Icelandic War, also alternatively referred to as the Irish-Icelandic Conflict or the Svalbard Conflict, was a major military conflict in the spring of 1990 between the Ireland and Iceland, caused by the 1989 Icelandic sovereign default and the demands of Ireland that Iceland fulfill its debt obligations in return for defaulting. The conflict was surprisingly violent and was viewed as an opportunity for Ireland to flex its muscles, including belligerent threats to deploy nuclear weapons against Iceland. The climax of the conflict was the suicide bombing by helicopter of the Irish Dail Eireann by a terminally ill Icelandic hospital patient, killing 43 and wounding 117.

Following the decision by Ireland to not drop nuclear weapons against Iceland, a partial ceasefire was called in early May and seven-party talks between the two combatants and England, France, the United States, Denmark and Alaska began in London in June of 1990, resulting in a brokered peace agreement handing various Icelandic resources over to Ireland for a period of twenty years or until 60% of the owed debt was paid off, whichever occurred first, and the maintenance of sovereignty of all Icelandic territory, including Svalbard.

The war had several effects, both in Ireland, Iceland and abroad. In Ireland, the war was deeply unpopular, especially in light of revelations that President Albert Reynolds had considered using nuclear weapons against Iceland in retaliation for the assault against the Dail. Reynolds was defeated in the 1991 Presidential election and the Conservatives lost the general Dail election two months later. In England, the lack of a firm response by the Labour government under John Oliver during the crisis, which occurred in the leadup to the 1990 general election, was regarded by many as contributing to the outsized Conservative landslide that year, which occured only days before the ceasefire was called. In Iceland, the war only deepened the country's economic difficulties, but pushed Iceland closer to the United States, finally joining NATO in 1995. In France, many in the general public and in the government from both ends of the political spectrum questioned the value of the strategic alliance with such a stunningly reckless nation, and the long-standing Franco-Irish Alliance suffered through its most tense period in history during the 1990's.

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