In partnership with EU observer, journalists at Lighthouse Reports along with Arte and Mediapart reveal how French companies continue training mission-critical skills to Saudi soldiers despite the raging war in Yemen.
Among them is French majority state-owned DCI Groupe, which is carrying out artillery training for members of the Saudi Arabian National Guard at a military school in Draguignan, a town in southern France.
French multinational Thales and a French branch of the Swiss-based RUAG are also involved in training the guard, offering the simulation equipment needed to operate the Caesars that could potentially target almost half million people in Yemen.
Disclose, a media outlet, revealed the cargo ship was expected to load munitions for Caesar howitzers. It also revealed that France is set to deliver the Saudis well over 100 Caesars between now and 2023.
The Caesars are produced by the French government-owned weapons manufacturer, Nexter Systems. Some 48 were stationed at the border with Yemen by the Saudi Arabian army in late 2018.
Yet a leaked internal document from France’s military intelligence agency, the DRM, warned of the risks against civilians in Yemen posed by the Caesars already in 2018.
“The population concerned by potential artillery fire: 436,370 people,” notes the document, dated 25 September, 2018.
The same document says the Caesars also play a role in supporting “loyalist troops and Saudi armed forces in their progression into Yemeni territory.”
The following year artillery shells from the coalition forces slammed into a Yemeni market near the Saudi border, killing 89 civilians.
And in September, a report by the United Nations Human Rights Council on Yemen, warned that such transfers of weapons only help to perpetuate the conflict.
“But for the arms trade and the arms transfers, the war would not be persisting the way it is, the war would not continue ravaging the people of Yemen in the way it has,” said Ardi Imseis, one of the authors of the report.
British media had previously revealed similar details about the wide participation of UK companies in managing air strikes and preparing aircraft, weapons and ammunition, and the same is the case for the US, whose participation has become public and documented.
This information confirms that the aggressive Saudi-led “coalition” was from the outset nothing but a cover for Western powers that directly manage the various operations targeting Yemen.