Activist Explains How French Weapons End up in Saudi Hands Warring in Yemen
AP Photo / Saudi Press AgencyMiddle East21:44 16.04.2018Get short URL
Yemeni human rights activists have charged Mohammad bin Salman, accusing him of aiding in “acts of torture” during the campaign in Yemen. Paris is being put under pressure, due to the fact that French weaponry is used in the conflict by the coalition. Tony Fortin, member of the board of the Observatory for Arms told Sputnik how this happened.
Fortin said that one of the most controversial deals is the selling of French arms on the DONAS contract. According to it, Saudi Arabia paid for weapons that must have been delivered to Lebanon.
“Part of the weaponry, which was delivered to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, were originally intended for Lebanon. Companies that created it worked under the DONAS contract,” Fortin said. “In 2015 [the government] asked them to adapt their weapons to Yemeni conditions. Some of the companies were surprised that the weaponry they were creating would be used in the bombing of civilians,” he added.
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Despite the concerns, sounded by the human rights advocates and experts, no international committee has been created to analyze how such deals should be regulated under international law. A group of French members of parliament suggested creating a parliamentary committee to check the armaments supply contracts for the last three years.
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According to Fortin, one of the main problems with the arms deals with Saudis is their non-transparency due to a large number of broker companies, although such practices will be banned in the near future. The Challenges media outlet has recently reported that one such company, called ODAS will be eliminated. It is controlled by the French government and military industry giants, and was used in deals between Paris and Riyadh.
“Broker companies in military contracts are an apparent problem, both due to the fees they take and their legal status, as their activities are highly non-transparent, as well as their contracts,” Fortin said. “We know nothing of what was shipped in the annual report for the parliament, there is no information on the numbers and specifics of the weapons sold […] That is why the elimination of this company — is a good news,” he added.