Subscription 790/year or 190/quarter

Selected the targets of the cluster bombs

Norwegian radars helped British artillery kill Iraqis in Basra with cluster bombs. Norway cannot possibly play a leading role in the cluster bombing issue internationally, says an expert.


[Artillery radars] Norwegian Arthur's radars pointed out targets that were bombed with British cluster bombs in the Iraq war. At the same time, Norway is crystal clear that our cluster bombs will not be used in international operations. Human Rights Watch states that ground-based cluster bombs were the weapon that killed most civilians in Iraq in the first phase of the war.

In the movie A Little Piece of Norway that appeared on TV 2 this week, it is revealed that Norwegian radars helped British artillery find their bombing targets during the 2003 Basra invasion. Human Rights Watch, it becomes clear that the targets were bombed with cluster bombs.

The purpose of the British loan of the Norwegian radars was precisely to locate Iraqi bombing targets for their own artillery. It is also confirmed by secure sources in the Army.

The renowned military magazine Jane's Defense Weekly stated that the four Norwegian and four Swedish radars together had pointed out 1500 bomb targets in Iraq.

The so-called cargo grenades fired by the British in Basra are relatively widespread cluster weapons and of the same type that Norway has in stock. Defense Minister Anne-Grethe Strøm-Erichsen has said that she will not destroy the stock Norway has in stock. But the government has also made it clear that Norway will never use these in international operations.

When Norway lent its four Arthur radars to British forces, Norway helped the British use exactly the same disputed weapon against the Iraqis.

The battles over Basra were in the very first weeks of the war. In A Little Norway, Correspondence between British Defense Minister Geoffrey Hoon and his then Norwegian colleague Kristin Krohn Devold appears. Hoon thanks Norway for its "robust" support for the war, and specifically mentions the radars. Devold replies that her thoughts are with Hoon and his staff, who have such a difficult job managing the ongoing operations.

The Arthur radars calculate the trajectory of incoming, enemy artillery fire and rockets. The radar can be used to retaliate attacks with high accuracy.

The radars were mainly used in the first phase of the war and especially in the battles around Basra.

Norway must clean up its own house

The government's decision not to destroy Norway's stocks of cluster munitions provokes resentment at Bonnie Docherty. She is a cluster bomb expert employed by the acclaimed US organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), and last week she was a guest of the Red Cross and Humanitarian Forum.

- There seems to be an attitude that some cluster bombs are kinder than other cluster bombs. The truth is that this is a terrible weapon that we must prevent from being used anyway. If the weapons are stored, they can be used, she says.

Docherty did the research on a major report HRW released after the invasion of Iraq. For six weeks, her team visited various locations for combat operations in the spring of 2003, and they found that ground-delivered cluster bombs were the weapon that had taken the most civilian lives during the invasion.

- Cluster munitions have been controversial due to the large number of blind people who are left behind. It is true that this is a major problem, affecting a disturbing number of children. But the worst thing about this ammunition is probably still what happens in the impact itself. To take one tank, there is a risk that an entire quarter will be hit with countless bombs. This is a very small accurate weapon. This is also called Docherty's report "Off target".

The report from HRW can be read in full here:

Valle: Requires review

- This highlights the need to have the radar lending and Iraq efforts investigated, says SV's Ågot Valle.

In connection with Erling Borgen's film, she demanded a public examination of the Bondevik 2 government's relationship with the Iraq war.

- The parties that were against the war, and I have no reason to believe that they were not really against, should also be interested in such an investigation, she says.

- Do you specifically aim at the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats now?

- Yes.

Valle says she wants an investigation to answer how it could happen, that Norway was involved in a war that was against international law, when at the same time not supporting the war politically, and wondering how we can prevent it from happening again.

- I now take up this proposal through our channels in the party and the government apparatus, she says to Ny Tid.

Same bomb type

In each of the Norwegian cargogranates of type DM 662 there are 49 explosives of type DM1385. The Norwegian Red Cross has found that this is exactly the same cluster bomb type used by British forces under a different name. The difference is that the British edition is produced in Israel, while the Norwegian is produced in Europe under license from the same Israeli company.

radar Lending

  • Four Norwegian and four Swedish "ARTillery HUnting Radars", called Arthur, were lent to the British authorities for use in the Iraq war, although neither Norway nor Sweden supported the attack.
  • Norway collected NOK 17 million in rent for its four radars.
  • The radar was developed by the Norwegian and Swedish defense forces in collaboration with the Ericsson Group.

You may also like