US condemns chemical attack in Syria, but they did the same earlier in Iraq
Any use of chemical weapons is regarded as a war crime under international treaties.
Among them is the Geneva Protocol of 1925, ratified by the Americans in 1975. According to the ratification note, the US has undertaken that they will not use chemical weapons and agreed they 'will exert every effort to induce other States' to do the same.
At the same time, according to another document detailing on the use of potentially injurious weapons, the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, says that some potentially dangerous substances, like white phosphorus, can be used for a limited range of military purposes, for example to illuminate the battlefield, or to produce smoke to hide troop movements from the enemy.
However, the document says directly that any use of this substance against people would be regarded as an outlawed chemical attack.
In 2005 the United States admitted they had used white phosphorus in a 2004 offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja. The US authorities insisted then the substance had been used as “an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," not against civilians.
But recent evidence by doctors from certain Iraqi cities, including Fallujah, have pointed to a most negative effect that use of white phosphorus had on Iraqi residents. According to the doctors, they continue registering cases of cancer and birth defects, which can be a direct result of use of white phosphorus in military assaults.
The Fallujah attack has been portrayed as the bitterest fighting experienced by American soldiers since the war in Vietnam.
What made the event even bitterer is the fact that British units were also involved in the assault.
In 2010 a number of Iraqi families started legal proceedings against the UK Government, accusing them of failing to intervene to prevent a war crime.
Another US’s ally, Israel fired white phosphorus over crowded areas of Gaza in its three-week “Operation Cast Lead” in 2009. The claim was made by Human Rights Watch in its report which also indicated that Israel intentionally used air-burst white phosphorus artillery shells in populated areas of Gaza.
The war crimes were committed despite the fact that two years prior to the assaults the country had ratified Protocol III of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
Voice of Russia, Washingtonsblog.com, The Daily Mail, BBC, The Huffington Post, The Guardian