Although thermobaric bombs are second only to nuclear weapons in terms of destructive potential, there is no convention that forbids their deployment.
The following is a description of the thermobaric weapon from the CIA report “On the Impact of Thermobaric Weapon Explosions in Confined Space”:
“Those close to the blast area have been wiped off, while those on the edge may suffer some internal, undetectable wounds, including crushed inner ear organs and ruptured eardrums, as well as severe concussion, damaged lungs, and possibly blindness.”
A thermobaric weapon, which can be launched at a target with artillery rounds, rockets, aviation bombs, or even rockets, assaults by producing an environment of high temperature and pressure.
The abundance of incendiaries, oxidising chemicals, and metal powders that support combustion is what makes thermobaric weaponry distinctive. When a thermobaric weapon detonates, a cloud of fuel is released, totally combining with the oxygen in the air around it, exploding, and producing a blaze with a very high temperature. Massive shock waves are created, and the oxygen in the environment is quickly depleted.
Thermobaric weapons can penetrate bunkers and other underground locations, leaving the interiors of shelters devoid of oxygen. They are destructive and particularly effective in cities or in open spaces. Direct victims have no way to escape the intense heat and pressure.
So, someone questioned: Is it permissible to use a thermobaric weapon with such dreadful destructive power?
Unfortunately, using thermobaric weapons is not actually prohibited. Even the US has employed thermobaric bombs, also referred to as the “Mother of all bombs,” in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Only incendiary bombs, chemical and biological weapons, cluster bombs, and weapons of mass destruction are prohibited by international law; these prohibited weapons are represented in the following conventions:
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Microbiological (Biological) Weapons, Toxins, and the Means of their Prohibition and Disposal (BTWC for short)
The US continues to be the state sponsoring the destruction of this weapon, and it even used this as justification for going to war. Many nations accept this convention.
For instance, in a speech to the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003, US Secretary of State Colin Powell accused Iraq of storing WMDs in order to create “corridors” for an impending war.
Without making a formal declaration of war, the coalition made up of the US, the UK, and several other nations quickly invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003. Thunderbolts were used to open the way for the army to enter Iraq at the start of Operation “Iraq Freedom.”
The US, the main research and development nation for biological and chemical weapons, blocked a worldwide effort to create a “system to evaluate biological and chemical weapons” with a “decisive” vote.
Chemical weapons development, production, stockpiling, use, and destruction are all prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention (abbreviated CWC)
According to the United Nations General Assembly, 99% of chemical weapons in the world have been eliminated. The new Chemical Weapons Prohibition Convention, which has been in effect since 1993, is thought to be the one that is most closely followed among many international conventions.
At a news conference, Zhao Lijian, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, stated that “the US is the only country that still has chemical weapons in stockpile… involved in political manipulation, greatly impeding the normal operation of the OPCW.”
International Convention to Abolish Cluster Munitions (abbreviated ICBCB)
The US once persuaded Russia to sign the convention outlawing cluster bombs, but Russia said it would only do so if the US, the world’s largest seller of such weapons, did the same. Israel also promised to sign the convention only after Russia and the US had done so.
The Certain Conventional Weapons Convention’s Protocol on the Prohibition or Restriction of the Use of Incendiary Weapons regulates the use of incendiary bombs.
However, this treaty’s effectiveness was very limited; aside from controlling incendiary weapons, it also restricted flamethrowers, mines, landmines, laser weapons, and cluster bombs. If it were outlawed in this manner, the army would be left with essentially no combat tools other than firearms and explosives.
Atomic Non-Proliferation Treaty (abbreviated NPT)
It is what the Security Council’s five “major” members (the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China) frequently employ to keep the number of nuclear weapons below a certain point so that the world doesn’t get overrun by them.
A “Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty” that is much more “cruel” really came into effect on January 22, 2021, although it was unanimously rejected by the five permanent members of the Security Council. Despite the fact that it was signed in 2018 and that it was opposed, the treaty has now come into effect, however it is currently unnecessary.
So take note: a thermobaric bomb cannot be “scratched” by any international rule. The issue is that the white phosphorus incendiary bomb has not yet been outlawed, however someone wants to “place the thermobaric bomb in the same category as the incendiary bomb”?
In actuality, the rules and technologies governing thermobaric weapons vary greatly between nations, and it is incredibly challenging to create, produce, and supply these weapons due to the challenging technologies involved. Few nations possess the technological know-how necessary to create a weapon that is second only to nuclear weapons.
One can determine who in the world has the largest influence and the authority to set international law by seeing how the worldwide community is responding to the “Convention.”
For instance, the “white phosphorous bomb” has received a great deal of criticism and condemnation from militaries all over the world; but, the military powers still allow themselves the privilege of employing this lethal weapon while blaming other nations for using it.
The US is a good example; after using white phosphorus bombs in Syria and Vietnam, the US continues to call them “smoke bombs.” Russia employs white phosphorus bombs in Mariupol that resemble meteor showers.
The US and the Soviet Union both employed thermobaric weapons in Afghanistan previously, and the US also employed thermobaric bombs in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
It is therefore not difficult to comprehend why some countries that currently use weapons that are not prohibited, such as thermobaric bombs, will be “very” opposed to them when they are added to the list of prohibited weapons.
Thermobaric weapons are extremely harmful from a number of perspectives, and human rights organisations from all over the world constantly demand that they be outlawed.
But nothing can stop the “big man” who obviously intends to utilise this weapon as long as he exists. Even though there are several “Conventions” relating to war and weapons, this one is the worst at being put into practise.
Even if the media continues to be misled on restricted weapons issues; there may be countries that use it and remain “normal,” but when a weak country uses it, that country is immediately isolated, and Iraq is an example; they don’t even have weapons of mass destruction, as the US claims.