Grim Reading: Saudis Drop US-Supplied Cluster Bombs on Yemen ~ United Nations #Fail
TEHRAN (FNA)– American-supplied cluster bombs continue to kill and maim impoverished Yemenis, but the war criminals responsible have never been brought to book.
In several documented attacks, the Human Rights Watch and the United Nations have identified the use of American-supplied cluster munitions in Yemen. They have even called upon the United States to denounce their use by the Saudi-led coalition but to no avail. (In other words the United Nations admits its impotence and uselessness).
The US, which is openly endorsing the Saudi war, continues to flout international law by providing them with a secret “understanding” on the matter. The use of such munitions – with a minimum failure rate to explode – plays a role in explaining why there is such a massive civilian toll in the war, as the bombs are designed to litter regions with bomblets, many of which go unexploded until happened upon.
The Saudi-led coalition, which has been uninterruptedly bombing the poorest nation in the Middle East for five months, includes Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. The non-signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions include all these 10 countries. The US is also a non-signatory.
The US military is in fact the largest manufacturer and user of cluster munitions and has deployed them in Iraq and Afghanistan. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that the US regards cluster munitions as “legitimate weapons with clear military utility.”
So while there is growing international support for a universal ban, there remains staunch opposition from the world’s biggest producers, traders or users of cluster munitions, including the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
Israel’s use of the weapon in Lebanon (2006) helped galvanize efforts towards an international ban in May 2007, when 107 countries voted for the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions. The convention prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of all forms of cluster munitions. It also requires countries to clear contaminated areas within 10 years, destroy supplies within eight years and provide assistance to victims.
Under international law, cluster munitions should not be used by anyone, anywhere, at any time due to the foreseeable harm to civilians. The states parties to the treaty are meeting for the first Five Year Review Conference of the convention next month. If there is any justice in this world, they should condemn the Saudi use and call for a halt.
The Saudi-led coalition should recognize that using banned cluster munitions is immoral, insane and monstrous. The unexploded sub-munitions threaten civilians, especially children, and they are responsible because they are the only party using them right now.
What Washington and Riyadh have done to Yemen could readily qualify as crimes against humanity. By their refusal to sign up to the treaty, they cannot exempt themselves from any global jurisdiction and proclaim impunity from prosecution and accountability.
Their decision to bomb Yemen has no benevolent purpose. The blood on their hands is visible because the civilian death toll makes for grim reading. Their intimate connection to cluster bombs and murder by fragmentation will never be erased from memory.