Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Switzerland Finally Goes to War…with Liechtenstein?

Posted by K.E. White on March 2, 2007

From the Associated Press:

ZURICH, Switzerland — What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.

According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.

A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the story but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.

“We’ve spoken to the authorities in Liechtenstein and it’s not a problem,” Daniel Reist told The Associated Press.

The Guardian adds some insight:

Markus Amman, an interior ministry spokesman, said nobody in Liechtenstein had even noticed the soldiers. “It’s not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something,” he said.

If the Swiss had decided to invade and annex Liechtenstein, which has a population of around 34,000, it probably would have been a walkover. Liechtenstein is a quarter the size of the Isle of Man, and does not have an army.

The Swiss / Liechtenstein episode may stir memories for some of an accidental invasion of Spain by British marines five years ago after they misplaced Gibraltar while on exercises, much to the alarm of local fishermen.

And another fun fact:

Liechtenstein and Saudi Arabia are the world’s only two countries whose names derive from still ruling royal families.

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