French activists successfully obstructed Saudi vessels due to load weapons for the barbarous war in Yemen for the second time
By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 04.06.2019, www.thecommunists.net
In the last few weeks, French activists have succeeded on two occassions in blocking Saudi ships from collecting weapons and ammunition. These are highly encouraging solidarity actions that should be emulated in other countries!
For a long time, the French government has denied that it would support the reactionary war of the Saudi monarchy against the Yemeni people. In January, French Armed Forces Minister Francoise Parly claimed that she was unaware of “any French arms being used in the conflict.” However, three journalists – Geoffrey Livolsi and Mathias Destal, co-founders of Disclose, a Paris-based investigative news organisation, as well as Benoît Collombat, a reporter from Radio France – have now published a report sourcing a “classified document” that has documented France’s direct complicity. The classified French intelligence note – provided to the government in October 2018, according to Disclose - said that 48 CAESAR artillery guns manufactured by the Nexter group were being used along the Saudi-Yemen border.
In response, these journalists were summoned for questioning by France’s secret service – the General Directorate for Internal Security. If found guilty, the reporters could face five years in prison and a €75,000 ($83,900) fine. (1)
This has impelled multiple progressive groups to launch a campaign to stop the government selling weapons to the Saudi dictatorship. The Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT) sought to block the loading of weapons onto the ship through a legal filing. When the court threw out their complaint a coalition of activists – including members of the Communist Party and the NPA – resorted to direct action in order to block the loading of arms onto the Saudi vessels. In two cases: first, in northern port of Le Havre and then followed by actions in the southern port of Fos-sur-Mer, the activists were successful and the Saudi ships had to leave port empty-handed. In Le Havre, dockers supported the solidarity action and threatened to block the ship. (2)
The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) strongly welcomes these solidarity actions. We have consistently warned that the Saudi monarchy is waging an arch-reactionary war of aggression against the Yemeni people. Contrary to many pseudo-socialists who denounce the Yemeni civil war as reactionary on all sides, we have unconditionally supported the Yemeni resistance from the beginning of the war in March 2015.
Such support for the military struggle of the Yemeni resistance against the Saudi-led alliance doesn't mean support for the political leadership of the Houthis. Quite the opposite: we strongly reject the petty-bourgeois nationalist-Islamist agenda of the Houthi leadership. However, together with our comrades in the RCIT in Yemen we stress that it is the duty of democrats, anti-imperialists, and socialists in Yemen and the Arab world, as well as internationally, to support the Yemeni people’s struggle for national independence.
We call on activists around the world to follow the example of their French brothers and play a principled role in obstructing the reactionary war of the bloody Saudi monarchy against the Yemeni people.
(1) Journalists face prison for exposing French complicity in Yemen conflict, 19 May, 2019 https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/5/19/journalists-face-prison-for-exposing-french-complicity-in-yemen
(2) See on this e.g. Second Saudi ship leaves French port without arms cargo -rights group, May 30, 2019 / https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-france/second-saudi-ship-leaves-french-port-without-arms-cargo-rights-group-idUSKCN1T02I4; French activists hail anti-war victory after blocking second Saudi arms shipment, 31 May, 2019 https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2019/5/31/french-anti-war-activists-celebrate-after-blocking-saudi-arms-shipment; John Irish, Benoit Tessier: Amid outcry over Yemen war, Saudi ship leaves France without arms cargo, May 10, 2019 / https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-france-arms/amid-outcry-over-yemen-war-saudi-ship-leaves-france-without-arms-cargo-idUSKCN1SG15N; Amid protests, Saudi ship leaves France without arms cargo, 2019-05-11 https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/protests-saudi-ship-leaves-france-arms-cargo-190510132443277.html; Second Saudi ship leaves French port without arms cargo -rights group, May 30, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-france/second-saudi-ship-leaves-french-port-without-arms-cargo-rights-group-idUSKCN1T02I4
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The RCIT has published a number of statements and articles on the civil war in Yemen which can be read on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/
In particular we refer readers to:
After the Death of Saleh: Continue the Defense of Yemen against the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! 12.10.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-after-the-death-of-saleh/
Yemen: The al-Hadi Puppet Government Calls for an Imperialist Invasion! Victory to Yemen! Defeat the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! 8.5.2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/assault-on-yemen/