Are Cluster-Bombs also Landmines?

In the American-English-Iraqi War 1993, a large number of so­called “cluster-bombs” were utilized by the allied forces. These shells explode with a distribution of fragments over as much as 2,400 m2, and they can hardly be regarded a military weapon, as most of its victims are civilians. Moreover, the cluster-bombs have a high failure rate of up to 50% and they are easily confused with the packets for emergency food supply (of the same colour). Thus, unexploded munition waits for civilian victims (predominantly children) to enter their trap.

Moreover, other malicies are threatening Iraqui civilians. Since the first Iraqui war in 1991, a large number of uranium-enriched shells were utilized for the purpose of increasing their penetration. Similar shells were distributed over Serbia, including Kosovo (but to a lesser degree in order not to affect later occupation). The radioactivity of these shells is low and claimed not to be associated with any symptoms of disease by the American armed forces. The terribly high incidence of leukaemia in Iraq may be an indication, that this claim is not true. An epidemiological investigation (also advocated for Serbia) has not yet been carried out, and there are good reasons to fear that the occupying forces do not want this problem to be publicly known for as long as possible. How many uranium-enriched shells were utilized during the last war remains obscure.

Towards the end of their lawless aggression towards Lebanon in July-August 2006, the  Israeli army distributed ~2 million clusterbomblets in South Lebanon, the majority within the last two days as was already clear that there should be an armistice. It is estimated that 40% did not instantly explode. The IDF also admitted to having used chemical warfare with white phosphour (as used by the Americans in Falludja 2004) but claimed that also this was no war crime. What is it, then?

A study, which was financed by the Norwegian government in 2006 - the first to document the impact of cluster munitions on people in all 24 countries and regions known to be affected by these weapons - showed that 98% of cluster bomb victims are civilians. The International Red Cross started a campaign for prohibiting the cluster-bombs, an initiative 18 civilized countries immediately supported (but unfortunately not the warrier nations).

Ban on cluster munitions moves one step closer

On February 23, 2007, 46 nations have adopted a declaration in Oslo calling for a 2008 treaty banning cluster bombs. A list of participiants is sought. Producers like USA, Israel, China and Russia refused to participate and 3 of the 49 participating countries (Japan, Poland and Rumania) abstained from signing the resolution.

Updated May 23, 2009