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> Hans Blix has just appeared on TV, talking on BBC TV's Breakfast > programme saying that Iraq (not the Iraqi govt) was refusing to > meet Security Council demands over weapons inspections. > > Are people like this incredibly naive or heartlessly cynical? Do > they suppress the truth or do they genuinely believe the half > truths that they sell us? > > What can people tell me about Hans Blix? Blix, like a lot of people involved in this issue, is in a difficult position. The Security Council has appointed him to run Unmovic on its behalf. The Security Council's resolutions call on Iraq to disarm unconditionally in a number of areas, and give Unmovic broad powers to pursue Iraq's disarmament. So, Blix' job is to bring this about. I think that he understands that this involves diplomacy. Since taking office in 2000 he has, as far as I can tell, tried to send consistent signals to the Iraqi government that he is interested in a fair deal. For example, he has held technical meetings in which Unmovic has tried to clarify its questions and procedures. The intent here seem to have been to give the Iraqi government a sense that they, although not yet in Iraq, were doing what they could to professionally prepare for their job. More interestingly, when Gwynne Roberts reported last year that the Iraqi government may have tested a nuclear bomb (something discussed on this list), the final word on the subject seems to have been Blix' rebuttal. On 11 June, 2001, Reuters reported Blix to have said that, "the information is totally wrong". The story noted that, on the basis of "evidence in [Unmovic and IAEA] files, from overhead flights and previous ground inspections 'there had been no nuclear tests' nor a tunnel under the lake" ("Did Iraq conduct a clandestine nuclear test?", Evelyn Leopold). What seems interesting to me about this, is that Blix did not need to address this issue. In doing so, however, he indicated that Unmovic was committed to fairness with respect to Iraq's weapons. Given the corruption of Unmovic's predecessor, Unscom, I think that this approach is exactly the right one. So far, so good, but there's more to this. The US government is committed to overthrowing its Iraqi counterpart, which sharply reduces the Iraqi government's incentives to lay down its weapons in advance. Thus, Iraqi government offers on weapons inspections have been hedged: they want talks on inspections; they want talks on other issues as well; they want questions answered. In my view, I cannot understand how they could be expected to act otherwise under the circumstances. Nevertheless, their position falls short of full co-operation. Blix, I am sure, is aware of this. There is a school of thought that holds that getting inspectors back into Iraq offers the best hope of stopping a new war as it further stacks world opinion against one. I don't know what Blix thinks of that position. In some ways, it is irrelevant: his job is to run Unmovic on the Security Council's behalf. It is not his job to modify Security Council policy. Best, Colin Rowat work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham | Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | web.bham.ac.uk/c.rowat | (+44/0) 121 414 3754 | (+44/0) 121 414 7377 (fax) | email@example.com personal | (+44/0) 7768 056 984 (mobile) | (+44/0) 7092 378 517 (fax) | (707) 221 3672 (US fax) | firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk