In the At War blog on the New York Times website, it was reported yesterday that the UN has found additional evidence of the use of cluster bombs in Libya. The munitions found appear to have been used by pro-government forces:
Civilian de-miners working in Libya have found another type of cluster bomb used last year during the war that overthrew Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, according to the United Nations and Mines Advisory Group, or MAG, a nongovernment organization helping to clean up areas littered with mines and unexploded ordnance.
About 30 of the submunitions were found, some exploded, others not, near the main road about 20 miles from the southern gate of Ajdjabiya, according to Ivica Stilin, MAG’s technical operations manager in Libya.
Mr. Stilin said the evidence pointed to the Libyan Arab Republic Air Force’s having dropped the bomblets in March 2011. The discovery also aligned with a photo analysis made at that time by David Cencio, an Italian aviation blogger who closely followed the war. In a post on March 14, 2011, Mr. Cencio noted that a photograph made several days before by Marco Longari of Agence France-Presse-Getty appeared to show a Libyan Su-22 flying at low-elevation carrying RBK-250’s.
Only after the reader scrolls through eight paragraphs and a second photo below the headline photo do we find the notation that the US has not joined in the world ban on cluster munitions:
The use of cluster munitions has been widely banned under international convention, though several nations — including Libya, China, Russia and the United States – have not signed the convention. NATO has publicly said that neither its forces nor any of the foreign military armies that participated with the alliance in the conflict used cluster munitions.
Just one day after that post at the Times website, Iran’s PressTV has put up a new story (warning: the video is set on auto-play) today claiming to have video of US cluster bomb usage in Afghanistan. There is no date on the video and the accompanying story with the video does not explicitly state that the video is recent. Note that the image at the very beginning of the PressTV video, which is also the image shown when the video loads before being played, is the US Air Force photo found on Wikimedia Commons which I included above. Here is a part of the description from the PressTV story:
New footage has emerged showing US-led warplanes dropping cluster bombs in war-torn Afghanistan, Press TVreports.
The US-led forces have used cluster munitions since their invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The bombings have caused huge loss of life and property damage.
Apart from the civilians who fall victim to such bombs during the raids, other people continue to be killed by bomblets that do not detonate upon impact.
The US and Israel are the world’s top producers of cluster bombs. Washington and Tel Aviv have refused to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions which has been in force since 2010.
The Afghanistan situation regarding cluster bombs is quite intriguing. On December 3, 2008, Afghanistan surprisingly defied the lame-duck Bush administration and signed the cluster bomb treaty: Read more