Well, this is my first attempt to do a TL in two years, and it probably must be full of mistakes and innacuracies, so feedback is welcome. This is the beginning: A WAR ON THE STRAIT: SPANISH-MOROCCAN WAR OF 2002 What if the Perejil Island Incident in July 2002 had gone terribly wrong? July 11th 2002: at 7.00 AM Moroccan gendarmes land in Perejil Island and raise a moroccan flag above it. 11 AM: a Spanish Guardia Civil patrol boat approaches the island. When the Guardia Civil agents try to land, the Moroccan gendarmes force them back at gunpoint. 14 PM: Most Spanish news broadcasters mention the incident but don’t give it a great importance. 17 PM: First contacts between Spanish and Moroccan diplomats. 20 PM: The Rabat government announces that Moroccan forces in Perejil are there to stay since it belongs to Morocco. All over the country people celebrates the liberation of Perejil, alongside with the King’s wedding. July 12th 2002: Spanish forces in North Africa are put in alert, while several warships are dispatched to Ceuta. 12PM: Spanish foreign affairs minister Ana Palacio speaks to her Moroccan counterpart Benaissa. Benaissa states that Perejil is Moroccan territory and that the Moroccan gendarmerie has only set up a watching outpost to monitor illegal immigration and drug smuggling. 3PM (POINT OF DIVERGENCE): A Spanish patrol boat enters the channel between Perejil and the Moroccan coast and exchanges shots with 3 moroccan patrol boats. Tension builds up [In OTL both patrol boats faced off but no gunshots were fired] 5PM: Spanish PM Aznar is informed of the patrol boats incident. 7PM: Since it is unclear who fired first, Moroccan officers are afraid that Spain would try to take the island back by force. It is decided that Moroccan forces facing Ceuta and Melilla will be reinforced. In the middle of an unusually hot summer, the Perejil Incident has become the conversation theme. While the average Spaniard thinks this is a really lame incident, and that things will be sorted out peacefully. The overall insignificancy of the island only makes things more ridiculous. In the rest of Europe and North America commentators mock this “Goat War”, after the goats that are the only inhabitants of the island. July 13th 2002: 9AM: Spanish frigates Numancia and Navarra arrive to the port of Ceuta, being greeted by the population. Unlike the jesting attitude in mainland Spain, the morale in Ceuta and Melilla is very different: all kinds of crazy rumours about Moroccan artillery pointing directly to the city center and suspicious troop movements in the other side of the border spread. [In OTL these rumours were widespread in Ceuta and Melilla but turned out to be false or greatly exaggerated. In TTL, due to the greater tension since the first days and the Moroccan redeployment, they’ll turn out to be true) 12PM: Danish presidency of the European Union condemns the incident and expresses support for the Spanish. Only France and Portugal will not openly condemn the Moroccan takeover. 17PM: Tension keeps building up in North Africa when a Spanish frigate approaches the Island. July 14th 2002: Spanish and Moroccan diplomats reunite to agree to a diplomatic solution to the incident. In fact, this meeting is more of a smoke curtain, since the Moroccan army is preparing a military force to substitute the gendarmes. Meanwhile, several infantry and artillery units are being moved towards Ceuta and Melilla. 14PM: Another armed incident happens between Spanish and Moroccan patrol boats. Spanish TV broadcasts images of bullet holes in the hull of a Spanish patrol boat. 19PM: Spanish intelligence learns from the Moroccan troop movements. 20PM: PM Aznar is informed about the Moroccan deployment. After consulting with his Chief of Staff and informing King Juan Carlos, he decides to deploy more forces in Ceuta and Melilla. 11PM: The Tercio Juan de Austria of the Legion based off Almeria is mobilized. In the last two days, the attitude in Spain has slowly changed to a more worried climate. Military recruiters have detected an unusual rise on the recruitment petitions [this happened in OTL], and the calls to radio stations asking for a military expulsion of Moroccan occupiers of Perejil now come not only from right-wing wackjobs, but from more moderate people. A secret CIA report informs that the odds of a war over the Straits of Gibraltar are very unlikely. July 15th 2002: 9AM: To mark the ending of the Congressional year, the traditional Debate on the State of the Nation is held at Madrid. The crisis with Morocco holds an important place on the debate. 11AM: the newest ship in the Spanish arsenal, the AEGIS frigate Álvaro de Bazán is mobilized to the conflict zone. 12AM: the Spanish carrier Príncipe de Asturias and her battlegroup are mobilized at her Rota Naval Base near Cadiz. [In OTL only the frigate was mobilized. The addition of the Carrier to the task fleet is a sample on how the tension is bigger than in OTL] 15PM: NATO condemns the Moroccan action and urge for a diplomatic solution, but remind Spain that Spanish north African holdings are not under the NATO umbrella. 17PM: Spanish soldiers arrive to the Spanish outposts in Alhucemas and the Chafarinas islands to reinforce the garrisons. 21PM: 30 Moroccan royal marines arrive to Perejil Island and relief the gendarmes. They proceed to build rudimentary defensive positions [In OTL they arrived one day later, were only 12 and didn’t take any defensive precaution. Actually, they were all sleeping when the Spanish commandos assaulted the island] July 16th 2002: 11AM: Spain withdraws its ambassador at Rabat. Morocco will do the same shortly after. 12PM: Legion troops arrive to Ceuta and Melilla. 13 PM: the Principe de Asturias battlegroup take positions in international waters at the Gulf of Cadiz. 15PM: The Debate on the Nation State ends with the tacit support of every political group, except Catalonian radical nationalists, to the governments’ stance on the Moroccan crisis. 16 PM: The Moroccan fleet based at Tangiers, Alhucemas and Casablanca is mobilized. During the entire day, the Spanish PM and the Joint of Staff chiefs have been debating about how to end the crisis. When news of the Moroccan deployment arrive, it becomes clear that only a military solution is feasible. 20PM: Spanish submarines leave the Cartagena naval base towards the conflict zone. 21PM: PM Aznar talks to US president Bush about the possibility of a Spanish assault on Perejil Island. Bush declares the US’ neutrality in the conflict [Yep, this happened in OTL] 2130 PM: Frigates Numancia and Navarra take positions in the Strait, along with a small support fleet 22PM: preparations start for the assault on Perejil Island. Despite the Moroccan defensive setup, the operation is expected to be bloodless. PM Aznar reports to the king, and promises that he takes all responsibility: he will resign from his charge if something goes wrond. 2330 PM: Soldiers of the MOES (Mando de Operaciones Especiales) leave their base at Rabassa, near Alicante. Their mission is to assault and retake Perejil Island with as little violence as possible. They will be supported by F-18 and Mirage F-1 planes, several Sikorsky helicopters, frigates and submarines. The next day, July 17th 2002, a full scale war will erupt in the Straits of Gibraltar.