France implicated in war crimes against Yemen: Investigation
A recent investigation published by a French webzine exposes the involvement of the French government in war crimes in Yemen.
The French newspaper OrientXXI published an investigation that revealed the involvement of major French companies in killing children in Yemen, profiting from the war, with the support of the French government, which is - after the United States - the most important arms supplier to the Saudi-Emirati coalition involved in the war on Yemen since 2015.
According to the investigation, the French government authorized, in 2019 alone, 47 export contracts for missiles, guided bombs, and other explosive materials, with a total value of one billion euros (around $974 million) to Saudi Arabia and 3.5 billion euros (around $3.4 million) to the United Arab Emirates. In 2020, these licenses increased by 40% for Saudi Arabia and 25% for the UAE.
The investigation confirmed that three major French companies and their contractors were involved in a conflict that killed 110,000 people in 7 years, including more than 13,000 civilians, namely, the Thales Group, which equips fighter planes and supplies munitions, the French-British missile manufacturer MBDA, and Dassault Aviation, which provides the maintenance of the Mirage 2000 and has landed record-breaking contracts with the Emirates.
Meanwhile, since the start of the military intervention of the Saudi-led coalition against the Yemenis in March 2015, the French government has been trying to deny its involvement. In January 2019, then-Secretary of the Armed Forces Florence Parly assured public radio station France Inter, “We have not recently sold any weapons that might be used in the Yemeni conflict.”
A few months later, on April 15, 2019, an inquiry conducted by Global Investigative Journalism Network, DISCLOSE, proved the opposite, by basing its findings on a report from the Directorate of Military Intelligence. Not only did French planes, helicopters, tanks, and canons take part in the coalition attacks, but these weapons have also been used to target civilian areas.
The investigation stated that the French government still refuses to reveal details of the weapons that have already been supplied to each foreign country. However, its public reports submitted each year to Parliament highlight the importance of trade with two of the most interventionist countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which are respectively the third and fifth largest customers of French arms. These reports tell that between 2015 and 2021, France supplied military equipment, munitions, and maintenance services valued at about 9 billion euros to these two countries, which lead the coalition against the Yemenis.