The State Department attempted to spin the results of the Inspector General investigation into the bogus emergency that Pompeo declared to expedite arms sales to the Saudis and the UAE last year, but the full report included some damning details about Pompeo’s disregard for civilian life in Yemen:
The State Department did not fully consider the risk of civilian casualties when it approved more than $8 billion in arms sales to Middle Eastern countries last year, according to a redacted inspector general report released Tuesday.
An unredacted version of the report, obtained by POLITICO, also raised questions about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertions that an emergency situation existed, allowing him to greenlight the sales over congressional objections.
The risk to civilians from the weapons that the U.S. has been selling the Saudis and the UAE is the main reason why these arms sales have encountered such strong resistance from Congress. It is not surprising that Pompeo’s State Department did not weigh this risk seriously, because their priority has been to get the weapons to the Saudi coalition no matter what the coalition does with them. That is why Pompeo previously certified that the Saudi coalition was seeking to reduce harm to civilians when all of the evidence and the majority of his own officials said the opposite: he wanted to protect current and future arms sales at any cost. The purpose of abusing the emergency declaration last year was to avoid Congressional scrutiny, because it is undeniable that the Saudis and the UAE have been and would be using these weapons to commit war crimes against innocent people in Yemen. Because the Trump administration could not defend its indefensible Yemen policy, they sought to go around Congress by abusing this provision in the law governing arms exports.
It is significant that the IG report does not give an evaluation of Pompeo’s decision to declare an emergency, so the report does not and cannot exonerate Pompeo on the most important question. The Post reports:
Because the Arms Export Control Act does not define the word “emergency,” the report said, the IG did not evaluate whether Pompeo’s stated reason – aggression from Iran – constituted one. But in making the emergency declaration, it said, the State Department did not meet other requirements to “fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties and legal concerns associated with the transfer of” precision-guided munitions.