Troops reportedly accompanying UAE forces
Robert Harneis- TDO- (FRANCE)- According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, quoting unnamed French military sources, French special forces have been deployed to Yemen. The troops are said to be present with Emirati troops on the ground. It was not specified where in Yemen.
The French Ministry of Defense declined to comment specifically on the special forces report but did deny that any French troops are present in Hodeida port. They also insisted that the French military is not part of the Saudi-led coalition attacking Yemen.
The French government has not formally commented on ever having sent troops to Yemen in the first place. Earlier this week, French officials suggested they were open to demining operations in Hodeida, but only after the Saudi-led forces finishing conquering it.
It is interesting, however, that the French have been making so many statements denying involvement in the Saudi-led coalition, when it turns out they do have ground troops active in Yemen, embedded with the Emiratis, themselves top coalition members.
This mirrors similar denials from the Pentagon that the US is participating in the Yemen War, when US troops are operating along the border and the US is helping the Saudis select targets to bomb.
This is probably because the Yemen War is very unpopular internationally, and nations are anxious to avoid complicity in human rights violations. At the same time, they seem unable to resist the allure of joining the Saudi-led war and continuing to the Saudis billions in arms.
Since 2009 France has had land, sea and air bases in Abu Dhabi. The land base is occupied by elements of the French Foreign Legion and is involved in training infantry for fighting in desert and urban environments.