Posted by: sean | August 25, 2006

US investigation into Israeli use of American munitions

The US State Department has decided to conduct an inquiry into Israel’s use of American-made cluster bombs in Lebanon. The two countries have a secret agreement that such munitions are only to be used against military targets:

The investigation by the department?s Office of Defense Trade Controls began this week, after reports that three types of American cluster munitions, anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area, have been found in many areas of southern Lebanon and were responsible for civilian casualties.

…Several current and former officials said that they doubted the investigation would lead to sanctions against Israel but that the decision to proceed with it might be intended to help the Bush administration ease criticism from Arab governments and commentators over its support of Israel’s military operations. The investigation has not been publicly announced; the State Department confirmed it in response to questions.

So is this a real inquiry or is it being done to try to make the US look a little better in the eyes of the rest of the world? According to the Times article, there was a six-year ban imposed on cluster bomb sales to Israel in 1982 after a Congressional investigation found that Israel had used the weapons against civilian areas in violation of the agreements.

Here is a map made by the UN that shows cluster bomb attacks in the South of Lebanon.

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