France confirms aiding the coalition to kill more Yemenis
The French government confirmed that a new shipment of weapons will head for Saudi Arabia, despite claims Riyadh is using the arms in the Yemen war.
Defence Minister Florence Parly refused to identify the types of arms
Pressure has been mounting on the government after the investigative news site Disclose leaked a classified military note last month detailing the use of French tanks and artillery in the war against Yemeni army forces.
Disclose alleged the new shipment included eight truck-mounted Caesar howitzers, though a government source told AFP this week that such cannons were not part of the delivery.
The revelations prompted arms sales watchdog ASER to file a complaint with the Paris administrative court on Monday, calling for an urgent end to French arms shipments to the Gulf.
“Knowledge of war crimes being committed is crucial,” said Muracciole. “The truth is France has been aware of war crimes in Yemen since they were documented by the UN.”
Saudi-led coalition ,backed by the US, shattered the country’s economy and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.
Rights groups have accused Paris of being complicit in alleged war crimes against civilians in Yemen, where around 60,000 people have died and wounded, as well as millions been forced to the brink of starvation.
“The Saudi regime is one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world, and has inflicted a terrible humanitarian crisis on Yemen,” said Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade NGO.
“The destruction would not have been possible without the complicity and support of arms-dealing governments,” he said.
Between 2013 and 2017, France accounted for 4% of all arms sales to the Saudis, according to the authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), well behind the US (61%) and the UK (23%).
France, the world’s third-biggest arms exporter, counts Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as major clients and has resisted pressure to stop arms sales to the Gulf countries.
“France has strategic interests in this part of the world,” Parly said Wednesday, adding that the latest shipments were part of “long-term partnerships with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate”s.
In March 2015, the US -backed –Saudi-led coalition started a war against Yemen with the declared aim of crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement, who had taken over from the staunch Riyadh ally and fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, while also seeking to secure the Saudi border with its southern neighbor. Three years and over 600,000 dead and injured Yemeni people and prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country, the war has yielded little to that effect.
Despite the coalition claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
More than 2,200 others have died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
However, Saudi Arabia relies heavily on the US in its brutal war on Yemen. Washington has deployed a commando force on the Arab kingdom’s border with Yemen to help destroy arms belonging to Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement. Washington has also provided logistical support and aerial refueling.