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Friday, August 11, 2006

US & Israel Arms Deals

US and Israel have a deal. Israel has asked the United States to speed delivery of short-range antipersonnel rockets that are armed with cluster munitions so that they can be used in Lebanon.

M-26 artillary rockets are fired in barrages and carry hundreds of grenade-like bomblets that scatter and explode over a broad area. The request for a quicker delivery is expected to be approved. These shipments will also include other arms.

Israel's rational is that since it has been unable to supress Hezbollah's Katyusha rocket attacks, they must have the extra arms. Israel has wanted M-26 artillery rockets for some time, argueing previously that they needed them in case they were invaded. However, in recent days, after being pressed repeatedly, they admitted they want them for rocket launches on Lebanon.

Indications are that Israel will get what it has asked for, with the admonishment to "be careful." Israels dropping of leaflets prior to bombing has been reviewed as a cautionary measure meant to warn civilians. The debate over whether to ship to Israel is highly controversial. Meanwhile, the Bush administration continues to focus on the cessation of all activities by Hezbollah in order for peace to be suggested. The United States has positioned itself with Israel in such a way as to be viewed as conducting a war by proxy, while reluctantly playing diplomat.

The M-26 is a particularly brutal and deadly weapon. It also leaves some percentage of unexploded ordinances behind that later can injure or kill civilians. Israel has had delivery of these rockets suspended several times in the past for using them against civilians intentionally, by the determination of the American State Department.


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