This is one of the first direct consequences of the case Khashoggi. And it comes from the Old Continent. Finding the explanations of saudi Arabia on the death of the journalist of saudi arabia ” inadequate “, Angela Merkel announced Sunday evening that his country was suspending its arms exports to destination of the kingdom. “I agree with all those who say that arms exports can not intervene in the situation in which we find ourselves, even if those sales are of a limited scale “, said to the press the German chancellor from the headquarters of his party, the centre-right (CDU). Between January and September 2018, Berlin has authorized 416,4 million euros of arms exports to saudi Arabia, sales including radar surveillance systems for the artillery of saudi arabia.

The same day, Germany has ostensibly raised the tone against Riyadh, this time in concert with France and the United Kingdom. In a joint communiqué, Berlin, Paris and London have called on Riyadh to ” clarify what happened exactly on 2 October “, the assumptions made in the investigation into the death of Jamal Khashoggi to be ” supported by facts to be accepted as credible “. The three european countries added that they “will determine in the last resort based on the credibility of the explanations” made by saudi Arabia. According to initial explanations for the official advanced on Saturday by the pétromonarchie, more than two weeks after the fact, the contributor of the Washington Post, was killed in a “brawl” at the consulate of saudi Arabia in Istanbul, that while more items have appeared in the american media, and turks over the last few days are going more in the direction of a grisly murder premeditated.

The Quai d’orsay kick into touch

Without even waiting for the new items claimed to be Saudi, Germany is thus the first and only country to have announced retaliatory measures, especially as the issue of arms sales to saudi Arabia had already provoked a lively debate within the fragile coalition in germany. And Berlin has pressed the nail on Monday in calling on all european countries to emulate as Riyadh has not made any light on the death of Jamal Khashoggi. “It is as if all european countries agree that this will impress the government in Riyadh,” said the ZDF, the German Economy minister, Peter Altmaier. “There is no positive effect if we remain the only ones to stop the exports, and if, at the same time, other countries fill the hole. “

therefore, France is ready to follow Germany’s lead and suspend to turn its arms sales to saudi Arabia as long as the uncertainties around the death of Jamal Khashoggi are not lifted ? When asked about this during the press briefing this Monday, the Quai d’orsay has always preferred to kick it into touch. “Our policy for the control of sales of weapons is strict and is based on a case by case analysis, in the framework of the inter-ministerial Commission for the export of materials of war [that evaluates each sale to the gaze of the common position of the european Union and the treaty on the arms trade to the UN, ED.],” said the French ministry of foreign Affairs. “The export of arms to saudi Arabia are examined in this framework. “

“said Macron does not correspond to the reality” (Amnesty)

The 12 last October (ten days after the disappearance of the journalist of saudi arabia to Istanbul, editor’s NOTE), the president of the Republic Emmanuel Macron had gone even further, deeming it ” wrong to say that saudi Arabia is a great customer today for France, in any field whatsoever “. “We have with saudi Arabia and the united arab Emirates a partnership of trust and confidence in the region, which is important, that is not commercial, which is strategic, said the head of State to the channel France 24. Because we share common interests in the region, because the stability of the region is important to us, because the fight against terrorism is also done with these States. “

“What says the French president does not at all correspond to reality,” said Aymeric Elluin, advocacy officer weapons and international justice at the NGO Amnesty International. “Just look at the annual report to the Parliament of the ministry of the Armed forces. “According to the document published in July 2018 on the website of the department of the army , Paris was delivered last year’s 1.38 billion euros of arms to saudi Arabia, which makes it the second largest customer of France in this sector after Egypt. In addition, Paris has recorded in 2017 626 million euros of orders on the part of Riyadh, behind Kuwait, Qatar and the Uae. In total, over the period from 2008 to 2017, the kingdom of the house of Saud remains the second largest customer of the French industry of armament, with 11.1 billion euros of purchases.

French Weaponry in Yemen

According to Aymeric Elluin, the question of arms sales in france to saudi Arabia is particularly problematic regarding the use that could be made in Yemen. Since march 2015, Riyadh is leading a coalition of arab countries to resettle in power president Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi, recognized by the international community, and driven out of the capital Sana’a in September 2014 by the rebels, yemeni houthis, supported by Iran, sworn enemy of saudi Arabia. Three years later, the conflict is in the impasse and has led to, according to the UN, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. At least 10 000 people including 9 500 civilians, have been killed, including in aerial bombardments of saudi Arabia and the united arab Emirates, who are guilty of many errors. For their part, the rebels houthis are also accused of ” war crimes “. In particular, they have referred to several times, the saudi territory with the help of missiles believed to have been delivered by Iran.

based on the internal publications of the French army, of the evidence of French industry as well as information for specialized sites, the Observatory of armaments, lists 17 references armaments for the French which might have been used in the context of the conflict in yemen. “The French army has recognized the use of guns Caesar by saudi Arabia,” said Tony Fortin, in charge of studies at the Observatory of armaments. “There are also frigates the French who make up nearly all of the navy saudi arabia, as well as light armored vehicles Acmat Bastion. In addition, adds the specialist, the France team and form the special forces in saudi arabia. “

France in The illegality ?

However, if the presence of these weapons French in Yemen was proven, it ” could constitute a likely violation by France of two international instruments that it has signed, writes the law firm Ancile in a report published in march 2018 and commissioned by the NGO Amnesty International and Acat (Actions by christians for the abolition of torture). This is the treaty on the arms trade treaty (ATT), ratified in 2014, and the common position of the european Union in 2008, these two treaties on which the inter-ministerial commission (cited above) by the Quai d’orsay, editor’s NOTE) is based precisely to allow or not allow the export of war material.

” according To these two treaties, it is not necessary to obtain evidence of violations of human rights to put an end to the export “, says Aymeric Elluin of Amnesty International. “If the risk is proven, then the latter must not occur. “Nevertheless, these two texts, theoretically legally binding, does not have any sanction in the event of breach by one of the signatory States.

Defense of saudi Arabia

Interviewed on France 24 about the risk of find of French weaponry in Yemen, the president of the Republic had assured the 12 October last year that France was ” not part of the suppliers of these materials-the saudi Arabia of this conflict “, not without specifying that Paris ” has a policy extremely rigorous in the matter.” For his part, the minister for the Armed forces, Florence Parly, pointed out at the end of August that” no weapon that is sold by France, it was used against civilians ” in Yemen. “The Arabia uses the weapons that we provided to defend themselves,” she added in reference to the missiles regularly fired against the pétromonarchie by the rebel houthis.

” One can have doubts about this version, however, considers Tony Fortin, of the Observatory of armaments, because the transfer of French weaponry to saudi Arabia, exploded shortly before the conflict in Yemen, and since then. “After the last annual report to the Parliament of the ministry of Armed forces on the arms exports, with the French, France has delivered in 2014 643.7 million euros of equipment to saudi Arabia. A figure which rose to 899,8 million in 2015 (the year of the beginning of the war in Yemen), with 1 086 billion in 2016 and, therefore, to 1,382 billion in 2017.

On the same subject, Luc de Barochez – shock-saudi-arabia

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.