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Is that an excuse ?
"US pressured me", says Blix
March 10, 2004
The UN's former weapons inspector claims he was urged to help build a case for war against Iraq. Walter Pincus reports from Washington.
The United Nations' former chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has claimed that the United States tried to pressure him to tell the Security Council that Iraq was in violation of UN resolutions just two weeks before Baghdad was attacked.
On March 6, 2003, the day before Dr Blix was to make his last report to the Security Council, US Assistant Secretary of State John Wolf asked "in a rather discourteous tone" why Dr Blix did not conclude that the discovery of an Iraqi aerial drone and a cluster bomb for delivering chemical weapons were violations of Iraq's obligations, Dr Blix writes in his new book, Disarming Iraq.
Dr Blix said Mr Wolf "tossed photographs of a drone and a cluster bomb on my table", which further irritated the former Swedish diplomat because of the possibility that the pictures had been leaked by someone on his staff or that his secure fax system had been penetrated.
In Dr Blix's account, his inspectors had examined Iraq's pilotless aircraft, "and while Iraqi explanations had not been very satisfactory, we had not yet come to any conclusion about whether the drones were legal".
And although Dr Blix himself had not been briefed about the recently found cluster bombs, his staff later told him they were "copies of South African munitions imported by Iraq long ago... and appeared to be scrap from the past rather than something of current interest".
The exchange with Mr Wolf was one of several last-minute manoeuvres at the UN that were undertaken to head off the fighting that began on March 19.
"The policy of containment was abandoned in the case of Iraq and counter-proliferation was applied," Dr Blix concludes.
He compares the $US80 million annual cost of his 200 inspectors to the $US80 billion annual cost of the US-led invasion force of some 300,000.
Dr Blix repeatedly notes that until early 2003, he too believed that Iraq might have retained some chemical or biological weapons, or at least stockpiles of agents, based on inadequate accounting by Baghdad of weapons or agents that had been destroyed.
In a broader sense, Dr Blix writes that without the US military build-up beginning in the autumn of 2002, there would not have been a resumption of inspections.
But, he suggests, had a moderate build-up of US and British forces continued into 2003, and had inspections continued with no denials of access to sites or interviews with Iraqi technical people, "Iraq could have shown in time that there were no weapons of mass destruction".
If that had not been shown by July 2003, Dr Blix writes, "a majority of the Security Council might have been ready to authorise armed intervention".
- Washington Post : This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/03/09/1078594361094.html
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Anti War - Anti Racism
Let the downFall of Sharon be end to Zionism
By the Late, great political cartoonist Mahmoud Kahil