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New Left Review I/72, March-April 1972


Gisli Gunnarsson

The New Regime in Iceland

The elections of June 1971 in Iceland, which brought a self-proclaimed left-wing government to power, caused some initial alarm in imperialist circles. Iceland is a key outpost of nato, and us troops have been stationed there continuously since 1951. nato strategists view the island as a crucial guard-post of the strategic approaches to North-West Europe, and us aircraft fly constant reconnaissance missions from the large base in Keflavik, sweeping the Arctic and Atlantic seas all the way across to the Soviet naval centre of Murmansk. In last year’s poll, the two parties that made the largest electoral advances called for the cancellation of the Defense Treaty that ties Iceland to the usa and these demands, coinciding with Mintoff’s electoral victory in Malta, provoked a considerable stir in nato chancelleries. But despite the sudden foreign attention that Iceland then received, the background to its domestic situation has been generally ignored.

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