But that isn’t stopping the U.S. military from selling $640 million worth of American-made cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, despite the near-universal revulsion at such weapons, and despite the fact that relations between the two countries haven’t been entirely copacetic of late.
Cluster bombs spit out dozens, even hundreds, of micro-munitions in order cover a wide area with death and destruction. These weapons are used for killing large groups of people, destroying thinly-skinned vehicles and dispensing landmines or poison gas. Some of the Soviet-made incendiary cluster bombs used by Assad’s forces during Syria’s civil war are even designed to light buildings on fire and then explode after sitting on the ground for a while — thereby killing anyone who gets close enough to try to extinguish the flames.
The irony of the U.S. selling one authoritarian Middle East country 1,300 cluster bombs while criticising the use of indiscriminate weapons by another isn’t lost on the Cluster Munition Coalition, an international group dedicated to ending the use of such weapons.
- US Sending Saudi Arabia Thousands of Cluster Bombs, Despite International Ban (antiwar.com)
- Fouting International Rejection of Weapons, US to Supply Saudi Arabia With Cluster Bombs (commondreams.org)
- U.S. Clears Sale Of Cluster Bombs To Saudi Arabia (thinkprogress.org)
- U.S. Selling Cluster Bombs Worth 641 million to Saudi Arabia (ipsnews.net)
- Defying International Concerns, US To Sell Cluster Bombs To Saudi Arabia (businessinsider.com)
- US to sell cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia (rinf.com)