Amnesty International Cluster munitions

Does Libya really possess cluster munitions?

UPDATE: 1 June 2011 – See later articles for updates

UPDATE: 23 July 2011 – We’re still waiting for the Spanish government to produce the cluster bomb licenses, proof of export and end-user certificates. More here and here


More on the evidence Libya possessed cluster munitions:

HRI has located the original source of the Spanish media reports quoted as the basis by Amnesty International for the assumption that Libya possessed the MAT-120.

The original article was published on on 15th September 2008, written by Javier L. Noriega.
Author: Javier L. Noriega-Date: 2008-09-15

The specific passage in this report is,

Instalaza, por su parte, no quiso hacer declaraciones al respecto, pero puede ser la principal perjudicada.
En la última legislatura, el Gobierno compró varios lotes de sus granadas de mortero MAT-120 y, además, aprobó dos contratos de exportación de este material a Finlandia y Libia.

In the last parliament, the government purchased several lots of mortar MAT-120 and also approved two contracts for export of this material to Finland and Libya.

The report is unsourced. All we know from the Javier Noriega’s report is that the source is not Instalaza:

Oficialmente, el fabricante Instalaza no hace ningún tipo de declaraciones sobre las bombas de racimo.
Officially, the manufacturer Instalaza makes no statements on cluster munitions.

It should also be noted that the Spanish Defence Ministry has denied any knowledge of the export of MAT-120 to Libya, which seems highly unusual, even if they are not responsible for the actual decision to export.:

Al respecto, el Ministerio de Defensa no tiene constancia del armamento está utilizando el régimen libio

The Spanish Government’s Report on the statistics of the export of military goods for 2007 had come out at the beginning of July 2008.

Relevant extracts from the Report:

From Annex II – Authorised Exports – licenses by country
A few of the most interesting ones:
Qatar, 6 licences, 1,177,299 euros
USA, 61 licences, 159,585,721
UAE, 2 licences, 0 value
Libya, 3 licences, 3,823,500
Finland, 5 licences, 10,796
UK, 39 licenses, 58,173,209
Israel, 22 licenses, 4,365,309

Category 4 (Covering bombs, missiles etc) Authorised exports 2007
A few of the most relevant ones:
Qatar, 1,149,550
USA, 1,885,959
Finland, 0 value
Libya, 3,823,500
UAE, 0 value
UK, 1,785,000
Israel, 0 value
(The ‘0’s indicate licences were issued but with no Euro value, perhaps as they were part of a larger contract)

So the assumption the MAT-120 was licensed to Libya is just an assumption – actually Spain issued licences in Category 4 to:
Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Slovenia (0), Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, United Kingdom, United States

UPDATE: 1 June 2011 – See later articles for updates

UPDATE: 23 July 2011 – We’re still waiting for the Spanish government to produce the cluster bomb licenses, proof of export and end-user certificates. More here and here

6 replies on “Does Libya really possess cluster munitions?”

As long as USsrael uses cluster bombs, white phosporous, nuclear (“depleted” my ass) bombs, who is anyone to question what kind of bombs Libya uses? Real humanitarians oppose ALL WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION NO MATTER WHO HAS/USES THEM. Two-faced blabber mouths only jump up and down when Libya uses them.

LMAO. “HRI Mark” sounds like a very reliable and verifiable source for information!!!

Perhaps if you want to “investigate” something, you should look into which cluster munitions can be dropped from the NATO aircraft that are involved in the conflict. What does NATO stand to gain from using cluster munitions on the port of Misratah?

Indeed, with the people of Europe heavily against the use of cluster munitions, and laws against their use in many countries, the US military faces the choice of alienating public opinion further or not being able to use a significant proportion of the bombs at their disposal.

The ‘dream scenario’ for the US military, of course, is a situation where they can use them with impunity and blame their use on the other side.

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