2002 November 11 Monday
Does Hans Blix Have The Right Stuff?


Ultimately, the American decision on whether to go to war could come down to a single locked gate in the Iraqi desert, or one door to which the key could not be immediately located. Blix, understandably, might be loathe to spark a bloody conflict over that kind of detail. Some old hands insist, however, such delays - often lasting a matter of minutes - are all that Saddam's officials need to spirit away key elements of his weapons programmes. One Unscom alumnus says he watched satellite footage of an inspection, "and you can literally see the Iraqis moving the stuff out of the side entrance while Unscom was at the front", negotiating over an absent key.

"Blix doesn't want to be blamed for going to war," says David Albright, a former IAEA consultant who participated in the inspections and is now president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington. "But in my view, there's nothing wrong with having somebody there who can get through locked doors, and I'm not sure Blix would agree with that. You've got to use investigative techniques like the police do. Blix comes from an environment where the nation state is supreme, but this is a criminal state, Iraq, where you have to use lock-pickers, or people who can retrieve information from computers if it's just been erased."

The more interesting question is how will Bush respond when UNMOVIC carries out inspections in ways that make it easier for the Iraqis to get away with their cat and mouse games? Will Bush publically criticise and even eventually to go so far as to state that UNMOVIC is unwilling to do what it takes? The test for Bush is coming up.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 11 01:53 PM  UN, International Institutions


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