Saturday, May 31, 2008

apart from a few rogue states...

model of the CBU-97 cluster bomb

It seems that progress is being made in the world by dint of hard work and determination. An agreement to ban cluster bombs has been endorsed by more than a hundred countries, and it’s believed or hoped that now cluster bombs will go the way of land mines after the international landmine treaty was brought into effect a decade ago, despite, of course, vigorous opposition from the US government, which also vigorously opposes the cluster bomb ban. In spite of this, land mines have become ‘stigmatised’ to such a degree, thanks to the ban and the publicity surrounding it, that only Burma now uses them.

Cluster bombs are like land mines in that they don’t discriminate, and are often detonated by children, or innocent farm workers. They are a particular problem in agricultural areas such as south Lebanon, because their presence is such a danger to field workers that cropping and harvesting can’t be carried out. Israel used over 1800 cluster bombs in attacks on Lebanon in 2006, and of course it opposes the ban. Other countries in opposition include India, Pakistan, China and Russia – all countries with significant military capacity and/or involved in conflict with neighbouring states.

Much of this piece is derived, appropriately, from a Lebanese newspaper, linked above.

Australia, along with the UK, has been dragging its heels over the ban, due largely to problems raised by their alliances with the US. What would be their liability if they were involved along with their allies, in attacks using cluster munitions? I don't know if they finally got what they wanted in terms of assurances, but they've finally agreed to the ban, which is due for ratification in December.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

pavlov's cat