- By John Hudson
The decision by Rhode Island-based Textron Systems follows a White House order last May to block the transfer of a Textron shipment of CBU-105 cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, a move first reported by Foreign Policy.
The White House had come under intense pressure by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International after those groups documented instances in which Saudi-led forces used CBU-105 munitions in multiple locations around Yemen, including Al-Amar, Sanhan, Amran and the Al-Hayma port.
The blocked transfer was the first concrete step the United States took to demonstrate its unease with the Saudi bombing campaign, one that human rights activists say has killed and maimed hundreds of Yemeni civilians, including children. Cluster bombs, like the CBU-105, contain bomblets that can scatter widely and kill or injure indiscriminately. Sometimes bomblets fail to detonate immediately and can kill civilians months or even years later. The weapons were banned in a 2008 international treaty that arms-sales giants, including the United States and Russia, refused to sign.
Textron spokesman Matthew Colpitts told FP on Wednesday that the decision to end production of the munitions was “due to the current regulatory challenges and in light of reduced product orders.”