War Crimes Risk Grows for U.S. Over Saudi Strikes in Yemen


But no updated civilian casualty mitigation strategy or legal analysis was carried out before the equipment was shipped, according to the inspector general’s report.

Released this August, the report said that although Mr. Pompeo did not violate the law in declaring an emergency, the State Department had failed to take proper measures to reduce civilian casualties and the associated legal risk.

Notably, the public section of the final report did not include a recommendation from an earlier draft: The department should “update its analysis of legal and policy risks” related to selling bombs to the Saudi coalition, according to text obtained by The Times. The language of that recommendation was edited and moved to the classified annex after pressure from department officials.

The day Mr. Pompeo declared the emergency, he also promoted Mr. String to be the State Department’s top lawyer. From that position, Mr. String tried to pressure Steve A. Linick, the inspector general, to drop his investigation, Mr. Linick said in congressional testimony this June. Mr. String’s office also handled the redacting of the report, while R. Clarke Cooper, the current head of Political-Military Affairs, pushed to classify the most significant material — after he had been an interview subject in the investigation. This May, Mr. Pompeo pushed Mr. Trump to fire Mr. Linick.

Since the emergency declaration, which applied to only the sales last year, the Saudis and their partners have sought to buy more American bombs. About $800 million in orders is now pending, held up in the same congressional review process that had frustrated Mr. Pompeo and the White House.

The Emirates announced last summer that it was withdrawing most of its forces from the grinding war in Yemen, but it continues to fight in the Libyan war.

From July to early August this year, at least three airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen killed civilians, including a total of nearly two dozen children, according to the United Nations, aid workers and Houthi rebels. One strike occurred during a celebration after the birth of a newborn baby, a human rights worker said. The boy, just 1 week old, did not survive.



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