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http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,962535,00.html Blix suspects there are no weapons of mass destruction Rory McCarthy in Baghdad and Jeevan Vasagar Saturday May 24, 2003 The Guardian The chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said yesterday that he suspected that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. He added that "in this respect" the war might not have been justified. "I am obviously very interested in the question of whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction - and I am beginning to suspect there possibly were none," he said in an interview with the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. Dr Blix, who retires next month, has previously condemned as "shaky" the evidence presented by British and American intelligence before the war, and said that it was "conspicuous" that they had failed to make significant discoveries after the war. But in yesterday's interview, he went further. He said: "The main justification for the war was weapons of mass destruction, and it may turn out that in this respect the war was not justified." He referred to Saddam Hussein's chief scientific adviser, Lieutenant General Amer al-Saadi, who surrendered last month and said in an interview: "Nothing else will come out after the end of the war." "The fact that al-Saadi surrendered and said there were no weapons of mass destruction has led to me to ask myself whether there actually were any," Dr Blix said. "I don't see why he would still be afraid of the regime. Other leading figures have said the same." Iraq's evasive behaviour could have been due to Saddam's desire to dictate the conditions under which people could enter the country. "For that reason he said 'no' in many situations and gave the impression he was hiding something." The White House, which accused Dr Blix of hindering its drive for international support for the war, has sent its own inspectors to Iraq. The security situation made it impractical for UN inspectors to rerurn and work alongside the US, Dr Blix said. Collaboration might also be tricky for political reasons. "I also have the impression that the negative attitude to UN inspectors...is turning into a generally defensive attitude towards the United Nations." Lieutenant General David McKiernan, commander of land forces in Iraq, insisted that the hunt for chemical, biological and nuclear weapon would continue. "We continue to get reports of locations and we go and exploit them," he said. "I am personally a believer that we have not fully developed the intelligence on locations." Most of the intelligence was now coming from the Iraqi people themselves. The US military task force hunting for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is due to leave next month. Its officers are reported to be frustrated by their failure to find Saddam Hussein's banned weapons . Mr Blix ended the interview with a touch of humour. Asked about his retirement plans, he talked of spending time on a small Swedish island where "I look forward to going hunting for wild mushrooms." __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo. http://search.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk