Blix Book

Former UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix has a book coming out, Disarming Iraq: the search for weapons of mass destruction. Based on this Blix interview in the Independent, Blix isn’t pulling any punches:

“… My gut feelings [at the start of renewed inspections], which I kept to myself, suggested to me that Iraq still engaged in prohibited activities and retained prohibited items, and that it had the documents to prove it” …

But Mr Blix’s doubts set in when the inspectors were allowed back into Iraq at the end of that month, exactly four years after they were pulled out, as the US/UK bombing campaign of Operation Desert Fox started. They inspected suspicious sites, acting on tip-offs from the intelligence agencies, but they found no credible evidence of WMD. ” I said, ‘If this is the best, what is the rest?'” In fact, he adds: “Considering how misleading much of the intelligence given us eventually proved to be, perhaps it was a blessing we did not get more.”

He tells of a conversation with Mr Blair, one month before the war, amid a controversy over the alleged presence of mobile biological weapons production facilities after the inspectors had been unable to confirm the intelligence claims.

“I added that it would prove paradoxical and absurd if 250,000 troops were to invade Iraq and find very little. Blair responded that the intelligence was clear Saddam had reconstituted his weapons of mass destruction programme. Blair clearly relied on the intelligence and was convinced, while my faith in intelligence had been shaken.”

[snip] … On the wall of Mr Blix’s study is a framed letter from Bill Clinton, congratulating him after his retirement on his 16 years at the head of the IAEA. “I don’t expect I’ll be getting one from Bush,” Mr Blix says drily.