The Government Lied: French Weapons Are Used a Lot in Yemen

A recent investigation of “Disclose” reveals that weapons are being used in Yemen, contrary to what was recently confirmed by Florence Parly, the Minister of Defense. This is proof of the lies of the government and of the violence of French imperialism.

This is a new scandal for the [French – ed] government. Over the past few days a secret note of French intelligence regarding the use of French weapons in Yemen has been revealed by “Disclose” and the “France Info” investigative cell. Denying the Defense Minister’s recent comments that she was “unaware of the use of French weapons in Yemen”, the investigation shows that French weapons are indeed used in the conflict in Yemen.

As was explained in the “France Info” article published on the morning of April 15th: “The Directorate of Military Intelligence establishes a map of areas at risk in which Yemeni civilians are likely to be affected by the French guns. And yet 28 million Yemenis still live under bombing. Since the beginning of the conflict, more than 8,300 civilians have been killed (including 1,283 children), according to figures released in March 2019 by the Yemen Data Project, an NGO that collects and collates information on coalition strikes. Far from being there only for “defensive” purposes, as Florence Parly asserted, “The Directorate of Military Intelligence states that these guns deployed along the border with Yemen are ’48’, adding that they ‘support the loyalist troops, supported by the Saudi armed forces, in their progression on Yemeni territory’. In other words, French gunfire opened the way for tanks and armoured vehicles deployed in Yemen. So not just as a part of a defensive action.”

It would seem, as surprising as it may be, that the weapons massively sold by France serve … to kill! Beyond the now usual lies of the government, hypocrisy seems to be very much undisguised regarding the sale of weapons. Indeed, can we really be surprised by the use of weapons for the purpose of destruction? Do we just need to be aware of this fact to guess that weapons sold to one country that is currently waging war against another country are being used for destructive purposes?

War against terrorism, defensive weapons… the favourite alibis of the French government

The idea put forward by Édouard Philippe that these weapons would be sold with “vigilance” as to their use, seems in the same way almost provocative: what is vigilance on a battlefield? The defensive utility of these weapons is advanced in the same vein … More than hypocrisy, it is the imperialist support for an ugly war that expresses itself in this qualifier, not far from asserting the “self-defense” of a country that starves an entire population and kills thousands of civilians.

There isn’t a shortage of arguments, all of them more consensual and artificial than the others, to justify such a trade, starting with the fight against terrorism, a fetish alibi for all French governments for decades to justify its policies of violence and authoritarianism. From the prolonged state of emergency on the French territory, up to the sale of arms as an important source of profits, this argument is the favourite, if to judge by the remarks of the services of Édouard Philippe, evoking the “common security interests” of France and its great ally Saudi Arabia: “the fight against terrorism and the preservation of security in the Middle East”. Really, the guarantor of security in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia? This is a very original way of describing a war that consists of starving the population of Yemen.

“Matignon repeats that ‘French weapons are placed in the main defensive position’ and ensures not to have ‘knowledge of civilian casualties resulting from their use in the Yemeni theater’,” recalls France info. We recognise here the sweet euphemisms of imperialism of a government that names its Minister of Armies the “Minister of Defence”

Franco-Saudi trade and alliance, a glaring illustration of deadly French imperialism

The arms trade is thus a perfect illustration of the very nature of capitalism, for which millions of deaths are nothing to billions of profit. In this context, Saudi Arabia for the French state is an ally that is as important as it is embarrassing: an immense source of profit, to the extent of the length of the crack it inflicts on France’s ill-fated showcase as a “country of human rights”.

This scandal is indeed not the first to affect France and its unwavering support for the Saudi regime, one of the most reactionary in the region. A few months ago, the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey put in a very delicate position the Macron government, which has since continued to show one by one its authoritarian tendencies, starting with the violent police repression and the massive use of tear gas and “law enforcement” weapons, banned in all other European countries, against its population.

Once again, the spotlight is on the absolute hypocrisy of a French state that “defends democracy” throughout the world, which chooses as allies the most violent and undemocratic regimes in the world if it allows to protect its interests, and makes armaments one of the most productive and successful branches of its industry.

Olive Ruton, Revolution Permanente

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