February 13, 2003


Blix douses plan to add inspectors: Says the real issue is Iraqi co-operation; comments lend support to U.S. case for war (Steven Edwards, 2/13/03, National Post)
In a statement that appeared to bolster Washington's case for disarming Iraq by force, the United Nations' chief weapons inspector yesterday dismissed a Franco-German plan to do the job through beefed-up inspections.

Hans Blix, in charge of the hunt for biological and chemical weapons, said no amount of inspectors can disarm Iraq unless Baghdad co-operates fully. He said increasing the number of inspectors would be "useful" but is "not the essential thing."

"One can have more inspectors, but we do already mount quite a few inspection teams every day," he said.

"[It] still remains vital that you have good co-operation from the Iraqis on substance, not only on process."

Mr. Blix's remarks, combined with a statement earlier this week that Iraq has failed to account for chemical and biological weapons known to the UN, suggest he will give an unfavourable report on the extent of Iraqi co-operation when he next reports to the Security Council on Friday. [...]

Mr. Blix stopped short yesterday of saying there is a case for abandoning inspections, which resumed on Nov. 27 after a four-year hiatus imposed by Baghdad. "This is a little short to call it a day," he said.

However, he said he detected no "drastic change" in Iraq's attitude following meetings with leaders of the regime in Baghdad on the weekend.

"There were some more focused explanations on central issues like VX [gas] and anthrax," Mr. Blix said. "One original document was handed to us, and they informed us about a new commission that will try to find more documents in Iraq. But I think they had better work very fast."

NECN (New England Cable News) did a piece last night with a correspondent from Baghdad. He said the inspectors felt like they'd been humiliated. On Monday when they arrived they thought they had a prior agreement for U-2 overflights, private interviews with scientists, "Parliamentary legislation" disavowing the development of WMD, and release of paperwork explaining where the VX and other chemicals had gone. Instead, the records were a joke, the legislation is contemplated for some time in the future, several scientists just didn't show up for scheduled interviews, and the overflight agreement was conditional.

Folks who insist that Saddam is a rational actor, interested only in his own survival, rather than a megalomaniac, have some 'splainin' to do.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 13, 2003 12:26 PM

Stephen den Beste
had an interesting entry the other day, where he commented that he'd finally figured out why Blix kept surprising him:

Blix, unlike most of the UNniks, is actually sincere. While he wants a peaceful world under a UN mandate, he's honest enough to admit it as it becomes increasingly clear that the inspections are pointless.

Posted by: mike earl at February 13, 2003 1:46 PM

Personal humiliation is a great corrective.

Posted by: oj at February 13, 2003 3:00 PM