Money over all else


This is a weapon of war favoured by those aiming to inflict the most misery on their targets.

The use of incendiary weapons against civilians in general is illegal and has been since signatories declared it so in the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Protocol III. But the protocol’s definition of an incendiary weapon does not specifically refer to white phosphorus bombs.

The reason for that is white phosphorus has other valuable uses: militaries around the world use it to create a smoke screen and to mark targets, but it’s not yet clear why a bomb was spotted over Mosul.

So the USA make illegal bombs and happily sell them to anyone. No amount of illegality or suffering matters – Only profit matters. You can’t mistake a bomb for a flare when manufacturing them, so the ‘Incendiary device’ grey area excuse does not wash. Thanks Obama for doing nothing.

Its signature is a loud bang and a plume of bright white smoke, but its effects are felt most when long white streams carrying chemicals start falling from the sky.

Those within the fallout zone will suffer such severe burns that if they ever recover they’ll be scarred or crippled for life. Victims have recounted being burned through flesh and bone.

A New York Times photographer captured an image last week of smoke above a town near Karemlesh, east of the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Amnesty International reports the dispersal pattern is consistent with a US-made white phosphorus munition capable of spreading the deadly chemicals over an area between 125-250m wide. An incendiary bomb – As outlawed.

White phosphorus bombs were dropped over the Gaza Strip in 2009. Picture: Reuters/Mohammed Salem

White phosphorus bombs were dropped over the Gaza Strip in 2009. Picture: Reuters/Mohammed Salem Source:Picture Media