Yemen conflict France weapons Saudi UAE
April 15 2019 - 1:05 PM
Classified note confirms French weaponry in Yemen: report
Paris, April 15, 2019 (AFP) - French weapons are being used by the United
Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in Yemen, according to a classified note
revealed by French media on Monday which contradicts the claims of France's
The note from the French military intelligence service, published by new
investigative media outlet Disclose, concluded that the UAE and Saudi Arabia
deployed French weaponry from artillery to ships in their war against Huthi
Under pressure from rights groups in France over the sales, the Paris
government has always insisted that French arms are only used in defensive
circumstances to deter attacks by the Huthis.
France, the third-biggest arms exporter in the world, counts Saudi Arabia
and the UAE as loyal clients in the Middle East, its biggest regional market
Those two countries intervened in 2015 to support the Yemeni government
against Huthi rebels, which are backed by Iran, in a war that has left around
10,000 dead and pushed millions to the brink of starvation.
The UN calls the situation in Yemen the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
- Artillery, tanks, ships, helicopters -
The classified note -- provided to the French government in October 2018,
according to Disclose -- said that 48 Caesar artillery guns manufactured by
the Nexter group were being used along the Saudi-Yemen border.
Leclerc tanks, sold in the 1990s to the UAE, have also been used, as have
Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets, while French missile-guiding technology called
Damocles might have been deployed, according to the assessment.
Cougar transport helicopters and the A330 MRTT refuelling plane have also
seen action, and two French ships are serving in the blockade of Yemeni ports
which has led to food and medical shortages, the DRM military intelligence
Asked for comment by AFP, the French government said that "to our
knowledge, the French weapons owned by members of the coalition are for the
most part in defensive positions, outside of Yemen or in military bases, not
on the frontline."
Disclose is a new investigative website working in partnership with
established media companies including public broadcaster France Info, online
brand Mediapart and Franco-German television channel Arte.