Cluster Munition Ban Policy
Summary: Non-signatory Egypt says it supports efforts to protect civilians from cluster munitions, but sees military utility in the weapons and objects to key provisions of the convention as well as the process that created it. Egypt abstained from voting on a key UN resolution on the convention in December 2016. It has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently in 2013.
Egypt is a producer, importer, exporter, and possessor of stockpiles of cluster munitions. Egypt states that it has not used cluster munitions, but since March 2015, it has participated in a Saudi Arabia-led military operation in Yemen that has used cluster munitions.
The Arab Republic of Egypt has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Egypt has expressed its support for efforts to protect civilians from cluster munitions, but sees military utility in the weapons and has long-held objections to key provisions of the convention and the fast-track process that created it.
In December 2016, Egypt abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that urges states outside the Convention on Cluster Munition “to join as soon as possible.” Egypt also abstained from the vote on the first UNGA resolution on the convention in December 2015.
Egypt participated in the Oslo Process that created the convention and engaged in the negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 as an observer, but did not attend the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008. Despite participating in the process, Egypt expressed concern in October 2008 over both the “substantive content” of the convention and “the process which led to its conclusion outside the framework of the United Nations.”
Egypt participated as an observer in the convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2011 as well as intersessional meetings in Geneva in 2011 and 2013.
Egypt has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2016.
Egypt is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Egypt signed the Convention on Conventional Weapons in 1981, but never ratified it.
Production, transfer, and stockpiling
Egypt is a producer, importer, exporter, and possessor of stockpiles of cluster munitions.
Two state-owned Egyptian companies have produced ground-launched cluster munitions:
- SAKR Factory for Developed Industries has produced two types of 122mm surface-to-surface rockets: the SAKR-18 and SAKR-36, containing 72 and 98 dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions, respectively.
- Heliopolis Company for Chemical Industries has produced 122mm and 130mm artillery projectiles, which contain 18 and 28 DPICM submunitions, respectively.
In February 2017, Egypt’s Ministry of Military Production promoted Heliopolis-made cluster munition artillery projectiles at its display at the international arms fair IDEX in Abu Dhabi.
Evidence indicates that Egypt exported or otherwise transferred cluster munitions to Syria in the past, most likely before the current conflict. Human Rights Watch (HRW) and others documented Syrian government use of 122mm cluster munition rockets bearing the markings of the SAKR Factory for Developed Industries. The state-owned company in September 2013 denied that it provided SAKR rockets to the Syrian government of President Assad.
Egypt has imported a significant number of cluster munitions, primarily from the United States (US), which provided at least 760 CBU-87 cluster bombs (each containing 202 BLU-97 submunitions) as part of a foreign military sales program in the early 1990s. Lockheed Martin Corporation was awarded a US$36 million contract to produce 485 M26A1 Extended Range Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets for Egypt in November 1991. Between 1970 and 1995, the US also supplied Egypt with 1,300 Rockeye cluster bombs.
Additionally, Jane’s Information Group notes that KMG-U dispensers of Soviet-origin are also in service for Egypt’s aircraft.
During the Oslo Process, Egypt stated that it has never used cluster munitions.
Since March 2015, Egypt has participated in a Saudi Arabia-led military operation against Houthi forces (Ansar Allah) in Yemen that has used cluster munitions. Egypt has not commented on evidence that the Saudi-led coalition has used cluster munitions in Yemen, including US-made M26 cluster munition rockets of the same type that Egypt possesses. However, a statement by the “Coalition Forces Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen” published by the Saudi Press Agency in December 2016 states:
“International law does not ban the use of cluster munitions. Some States have undertaken a commitment to refrain from using cluster munitions by becoming party to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. Neither the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia nor its Coalition partners are State Parties to the 2008 Convention, and accordingly, the Coalition’s use of cluster munitions does not violate the obligations of these States under international law.”
 For example, in September 2011, Egypt claimed the convention “will not hold states which are using cluster munitions responsible for their acts” or “hold them to account for clearing contaminated areas.” Statement of Egypt, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.
 For details on Egypt’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 197–199.
 Egypt’s explanation of vote, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, 30 October 2008.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 71/203, 19 December 2016. Egypt voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2015.
 Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2007), p. 707. France declared that upon entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2010, France’s military retained six warheads for 122mm SAKR rockets containing a total of 588 submunitions. France, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form C, 31 January 2011, p. 92.
 Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2007), pp. 582, 589–590.
 Brochure, Heliopolis Co. for Chemical Industries, National Organization for Military Production, Ministry of Military Production, Arab Republic of Egypt, pp. 8, 10 & 12. Shared by Omega Research via Twitter, 3 March 2017.
 HRW, “Syria: Army Using New Type of Cluster Munition,” 14 January 2013. In addition, a number of SAKR rockets were found in Iraq by UN weapons inspectors possibly indicating export activity. The SAKR rockets were the “cargo variant” but had been modified by the Iraqis to deliver chemical weapons. “Sixteenth quarterly report on the activities of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission in accordance with paragraph 12 of Security Council resolution 1284 (1999) S/2004/160,” Annex 1, p. 10.
 See, Brown Moses blog, “Evidence of New Grad Launched Cluster Munitions Used in Syria,” 15 December 2012; HRW Press Release, “Syria: Army Using New Type of Cluster Munition,” 14 January 2013; and The Rogue Adventurer blog, “Sakr 122mm Cargo Rockets & Submunitions in Syria,” 15 January 2013. It is not known if the 122mm rockets were the SAKR-18 or SAKR-36 type. See also, “Dael find a surface to surface missile did not explode Egyptian industry,” uploaded to YouTube on 8 November 2014.
 Facebook page of Sakr Factory for Developed Industries, 23 September 2014. See also, the iNewsArabia website.
 “Dozen + Mideast Nations Bought Weapons since Gulf War,” Aerospace Daily, 10 December 1991; and Barbara Starr, “Apache buy will keep Israeli edge,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 1 October 1992.
 US Department of Defense Press Release, “US Army Aviation & Missile Command Contract Announcement: DAAH01-00-C-0044,” 9 November 2001.
 US Defense Security Assistance Agency, Department of Defense, “Cluster Bomb Exports under FMS, FY1970–FY1995,” 5 November 1995, obtained by HRW in a Freedom of Information Act request, 28 November 1995.
 Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 838.
 Statement by Ehab Fawzy, Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions, Oslo, 22 February 2007. Notes by the CMC/Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
 HRW, “Yemen: Cluster Munition Rockets Kill, Injure Dozens,” 26 August 2015.
 “Coalition Forces supporting legitimacy in Yemen confirm that all Coalition countries aren't members to the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” Saudi Press Agency, 19 December 2016.