19 October 2006

Clustering for Hezbollah

Cluster bombs are a nasty piece of munitions and they may well have been used by Israel in the recent conflict in Lebanon. They were rightly condemned and discussed at length in Harry’s Place.

For using cluster bombs Israel was demonised by a wide range of obsessive “anti-Zionists” and the matter received considerable publicity in the press.

Now, it has come to light that Hezbollah were using their own form of cluster munitions in the conflict, as reported by HRW:

“(Jerusalem, October 18, 2006) Hezbollah fired cluster munitions into civilian areas in northern Israel during the recent conflict, Human Rights Watch reported today. This is the first time that Hezbollah's use of these controversial weapons has been confirmed.

Hezbollah's deployment of the Chinese-made Type-81 122mm rocket is also the first confirmed use of this particular model of cluster munition anywhere in the world. Human Rights Watch documented two Type-81 cluster strikes that took place on July 25 in the Galilee village of Mghar.

‘We are disturbed to discover that not only Israel but also Hezbollah used cluster munitions in their recent conflict, at a time when many countries are turning away from this kind of weapon precisely because of its impact on civilians,’said Steve Goose, director of Human Rights Watch's Arms Division. ‘Use of cluster munitions is never justified in civilian-populated areas because they are inaccurate and unreliable.’

While it is not known when and how Hezbollah obtained these foreign-made cluster munitions, and while Hezbollah used far fewer cluster munitions than Israel did in the recent war, the new findings raise serious concerns about the proliferation of these weapons to non-state armed groups, as well as states.”

Leaving aside the obvious issue of Hezbollah deliberately choosing to target civilians, which is a war crime, with their unguided rockets, I wonder if the usual suspects will be quick to condemn Hezbollah, this time?

I somehow doubt it.

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