The new investigative media outlet, Disclose, published a report on Monday, containing a classified note from the French military intelligence service (DRM).
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.
The Houthi fighters have been playing a significant role in aiding the Yemeni army in defending the impoverished country against the invading coalition since the onset of the bloody war, which according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, has so far claimed the lives of about 56,000 Yemenis.
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France, the third-biggest arms exporter in the world, is a large provider of various kinds of weapons to the Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The French government has so far resisted pressure from rights groups to stop the lucrative arms trade with the two Persian Gulf countries, denying that the weapons were being used against the Yemenis.
The Disclose report, however, said according to the DRM note, which was provided to the government in October 2018, 48 CAESAR artillery guns, manufactured by the Nexter group, were being used along the Saudi-Yemen border by the Saudi-led coalition.
Nexter Systems is a French state-owned manufacturer of weapons, based in Roanne, Loire.
The document, containing lists of French-manufactured tanks, armored vehicles, fighter jets, helicopters, howitzers, ammunition and radar systems sold to both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, also revealed that Leclerc tanks, a main battle tank built by the Nexter and Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets sold in the 1990s to the UAE, have been used in the imposed war against Yemen.
The classified note assessed that French missile-guiding technology called DAMOCLES might have been deployed there.
It also said that Cougar transport helicopters and the A330 MRTT refueling plane have been used in 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 agency concluded.
The DRM document concluded that Cougar transport helicopters and the A330 MRTT refueling plane have been seen in action, and two French ships are serving in the crippling blockade of Yemeni ports which has led to unprecedented food and medical shortages in impoverished Yemen.
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The classified note also contains a map estimating that over 430,000 Yemenis live within the range of French artillery weapons on the Saudi-Yemeni border. It further estimated that French weapons have resulted in civilian casualties.
It also referred to a contract signed in December last year between Saudi Arabia and the Nexter Systems to deliver new armored vehicles between 2019 and 2024. Two months earlier, French Armed Forces Minister Francoise Parly assured there were no negotiations for new weapons deals with Riyadh in the works.
Furthermore, Parly said during an interview on the France Inter radio station in January that she was “not aware that any (French) arms are being used in this conflict.”
France, the United States, Britain and other Western countries have faced criticism over arms sales to the Saudi regime and its partners over consequences for a war that has affected 28 million Yemenis and caused what the United Nations calls “one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.”
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The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.