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Blix Suspects Iraq May Have Had No Weapons of Mass 0aDestruction
The Associated Press
The Khaleej 0aTimes
Friday 23 May 2003
BERLIN - The chief UN weapons inspector said he was starting to 0asuspect Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and that his teams remain ready 0ato help in the country if required, a newspaper reported on Friday.
I am obviously very interested in the question of whether or not 0athere were weapons of mass destruction - and I am beginning to suspect there 0apossibly were none, Hans Blix said in an interview with the Berlin daily Der 0aTagesspiegel.
If that were the case, he said, Iraq s evasive behavior in recent 0ayears could be due to Saddam Hussein s fixation with Iraqi honor and wish to 0adictate the conditions under which people could enter the country.
For that reason, he said no in many situations and gave the 0aimpression he was hiding something, added Blix, whose inspectors left Iraq just 0abefore the beginning of the US-led military campaign to oust Saddam Hussein s 0aregime, told the Tagesspiegel daily.
Blix noted that Lt. Gen. Amer al-Saadi, 0awho officials say led Iraq s unconventional weapons programs, surrendered to 0aUS-led forces last month
The fact that al-Saadi surrendered and said there were no 0aweapons of mass destruction has led to me to ask myself whether there actually 0awere any, Blix said. I don t see why he would still be afraid of the regime, 0aand other leading figures have said the same.
A key US argument for 0aattacking Iraq was the claim that Baghdad was hiding its weapons of mass 0adestruction, or programs to make them, from UN inspectors.
Washington is carrying out inspections of its own but has 0aresisted a resumption of the UN inspections. A UN resolution approved Thursday 0athat ended sanctions against Iraq left their future uncertain.
The resolution reaffirms that Iraq must meet its disarmament 0aobligations and says the council will discuss the inspectors mandate later. It 0agives no timeframe.
Given the tense security situation, it would not at present be 0apractically feasible to send UN inspectors to Iraq, Blix said. I also have the 0aimpression that the negative attitude toward UN inspectors ... is turning into a 0agenerally defensive attitude toward the United Nations.
If the Security Council decided that UN inspectors should verify 0aevidence, findings and reports alongside the allies , our organization would be 0aprepared to do that, he said.