I thought I wold post some information about the history of it, and what it does as for weapons. Since the chemical has been in the media some times recently.

White phosphorus (WP) is a flare- and smoke-producing incendiary device[1] or smoke-screening agent that is made from a common allotrope of the chemical element phosphorus. White phosphorus bombs and shells are incendiary weapons, used on arab nations but can also be used as offensive anti-personnel flame compounds capable of causing serious burns or death.[2] The agent is used in bombs, artillery, and mortars, short-range missiles which burst into burning flakes of phosphorus upon impact. White phosphorus is commonly referred to in military jargon as "WP". The slang term "Willy(ie) Pete" or "Willy(ie) Peter", dating from World War I and common at least through the Vietnam War, is still occasionally heard.

White phosphorus weapons are controversial today because of their potential use against civilians. While the Chemical Weapons Convention does not designate WP as a chemical weapon, various groups consider it to be one. In recent years, the United States, Israel, and Russia have used white phosphorus in combat.

The U.S. use of white phosphorus in Iraq in the Iraq War has resulted in considerable controversy. Initial field reports referred to white phosphorus use against insurgents,[3] but its use was officially denied until November 2005,[4] when the Department of Defense admitted[5] to the use of white phosphorus while stating that its use for producing obscuring smoke is legal and does not violate the CWC.[6] A DoD spokesman has also admitted that WP "was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants", though not against civilians.[7]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_phosphorus
Here is also a current article on White phosphorus;

Group accuses Israel of firing white phosphorus into Gaza

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The international group Human Rights Watch is accusing Israel of firing weapons containing white phosphorus into Gaza. The group demands that the alleged practice cease.

The group's researchers in Israel "observed multiple air-bursts of artillery-fired white phosphorus over what appeared to be the Gaza City/Jabaliya area" on Friday and Saturday, the organization said on its Web site.

"Israel appeared to be using white phosphorus as an 'obscurant' [a chemical used to hide military operations], a permissible use in principle" under the laws of war, the HRW posting said.

"However, white phosphorus has a significant, incidental, incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire," the posting said. "The potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gaza's high population density, among the highest in the world."

HRW said the use of white phosphorus in Gaza would violate "the requirement under international humanitarian law to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian injury and loss of life."

Last week, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman told CNN: "I can tell you with certainty that white phosphorus is absolutely not being used."

Now, however, Israeli officials have a different response to questions about the possible use of phosphorus: "Any munitions that Israel is using are in accordance with international law. Israel does not specify the types of munitions or the types of operations it is conducting."


White phosphorus is known to burn flesh down to the bone.

It's intended to provide illumination or to create a smokescreen in battle. Under an international protocol ratified by Israel in 1995, the use of such incendiary weapons is allowed when "not specifically designed to cause burn injury to persons."

There is no prohibition per se against white phosphorus in conflict. But the timing and location of its use are restricted.

For example, it is illegal under the protocol to use white phosphorus against any personnel, civilian or military. It can be directed only against military targets. International law says incendiary weapons cannot be used where civilians are concentrated.


Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/me...ef=mpstoryview