A leaked note produced by the Military Intelligence Branch of the Ministry of Defense of France in September 2018 revealed the deliberate use of French weaponry by the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen civil war.
The note, made public by the French journalists' group Disclose, evaluates the military actions of the Saudi-led coalition and the role on the ground of weaponry used by the coalition. The document was presented to French President Emmanuel Macron in October 2018 who has always insisted that French arms are only used in "defensive circumstances."
At the time of writing the classified note, the Saudi-led Coalition had entered a new phase of the conflict and launched an offensive called "Golden Victory" operation, with little success in the field. French military intelligence analyzed in the document that the coalition was not able to take back the strategic port of Hodeida, which led to intensifying attack between the Huthis and the coalition.
The note also show that the French Ministry of Defense reported 150,000 air missions of all types were conducted by the Saudi-led coalition, of which 24,000 were airstrikes, 6,000 of them took place in 2018.
Despite the massive use of deadly weapons by the Saudi-led coalition, former French President François Hollande and current French President Macron decided to continue to deliver weapons to two "strategic partners" of France in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and The United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Maps produced for the classified note show that about 437,000 people could have been affected by strikes (including French cannon fire Caesar strikes) in three different border areas between Saudia Arabia and Yemen.
Disclose media said that by crossing data with those of the U.S. NGO Acled, they could establish that 35 civilians died during 52 bombings between March 2016 and December 2018 in the field where French Caesar cannon fire operated. Several localities, in which Yemeni sources have directly found victims, was affected in 2018.
The classified document reported that bombs do not use French ammunitions. But they "could" be guided by French targeting pod called Damocles. They added that even though Saudi-led coalition benefits from a U.S. support regarding targeting issues, the close air support is not controlled correctly.
The French prime minister's office responded to the news leak saying that France acted in a "responsible and reliable" manner with partners with which the country has common interests such as the fight against terrorism.