French Arms Sales to Saudis Jumped 50 Percent in 2018

Govt's calls for Saudis to end Yemen War didn't hurt arms sales

An annual French government report on arms sales showed that their overall sales rose 30% in 2018, with the largest percentage increase coming in sales to Saudi Arabia, where they went up some 50% from the previous year.

France had been deeply critical of the Saudi-led war in Yemen, but that criticism doesn’t seem to be hurting the sale of weapons and other equipment to wage that war any. France sold around 1 billion euros of gear to the Saudis in 2018.

The bulk of French arms sales to the Saudi government were patrol boats meant to help the Saudis enforce their naval blockade of Yemen, which has severely limited access to food and medicine across much of the country.

Saudi purchases have been surging across much of the world as they continue to escalate the Yemen War, with the expectation that even in countries like France where there is some nominal criticism of the war crimes committed, enough arms deals on the line will keep them from making too big of a fuss.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of