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[casi] FW: Blix suspects there are no weapons of mass destruction,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

"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 turning
into a generally defensive attitude towards the United

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

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."

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