Even as they condemn the Syrian regime’s use of cluster munitions, the U.S. is selling Saudi Arabia $640 million worth of American-made cluster bombs. Cluster munitions have been banned in 83 countries on account of their indiscriminate nature and their record of killing children.
John Reed at Foreign Policy:
international treaty banning cluster bombs, with 83 ratifying it.
The international ban began to take effect in June 2010, just after a U.S. cluster bomb killed 35 women and children in Yemen, with the Pentagon stubbornly refusing to admit to the wrongdoing despite damning evidence compiled by Amnesty International, which was later corroborated by classified diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
Cluster bombs were used in the initial phases of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and the Obama administration has firmly opposed their prohibition, as have countries like Saudi Arabia, China, and Russia. What’s that old saying about how you’re known by the company you keep?
It’s also worth pointing out how eager the U.S. is to keep giving Saudi Arabia, one of the most horrific, repressive, mysogynist theocracies in the world, all the weapons and money it asks for. Reed again:
cyber defenses for those brand new Strike Eagles. It’s a relationship that’s worth tens of billions to American defense contractors. And even though the Saudi and the American governments have recently been at odds over a range of issues — Riyadh recently offered to replace any financial aid to Egypt’s military rulers that the U.S. withdrew — those arms sales are all-but-certain to continue. If the Saudis want cluster bombs, the U.S. will provide — no matter what the world thinks.
On the one hand, the U.S. is desperate to maintain the geo-political dominance it has held over the Middle East at a time when it seems to be slipping through their fingers. And on the other, one of the strongest lobbies in Washington – the defense corporations – really want to proceeds of these nefarious weapons sales. And you gotta please them.