Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cluster ban a positive step

When the outlook of the world couldn't appear more bleak, a symbolic step towards humanitarianism was made.

The worldwide ban on the deadly use of cluster munitions was given credibility thanks to the signature of Britain.

London shrugged off its American allies by agreeing to sign an agreement that will prevent the unnecessary deaths and injuries of millions of victims of war around the world.

The agreement has a sensitive touch in Lebanon, the most recent country to feel the brunt of the lethal weapons. At the close of its losing war against Hezbollah, Israel scattered millions of undetonated cluster bombs throughout South Lebanon. Over 200 have died or been injured in the region since.

Typically, the US, Israel, Russia and China refused to scrap the munitions for fairly obvious reasons. The three heavyweights are the world's main producers of cluster munitions, reaping billions of dollars.

The Israelis have successfully dodged the spotlight for decades on its mass stockpile of WMDs and nuclear weapons. Scrapping cluster munitions would seem uncharacteristic of Israel's military policy to increase its lethal, non-conventional arsenal.

Nonetheless, the signature of over 100 countries will hopefully signal to ruthless countries like Israel that the use of cluster munitions in future practices won't go unnoticed.

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