Monday, Jul 14, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Hasan Suroor
Mr. Blix, who was involved in a tense stand-off with Britain and the U.S. in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, said unlike the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, he never believed that the evidence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was strong enough. He was particularly critical of the British claim that Iraq had the capability to deploy its WMDs within 45 minutes.
"They over-interpreted the intelligence they had," he said in an interview to the Independent on Sunday.
About the 45-minute claim, which has since become a subject of a bitter row between Mr. Blair and anti-war MPs, Mr. Blix said it was a "fundamental mistake" to have included it in an official dossier produced by the British Government last September to highlight the `threat' from Mr. Hussein.
"I don't know exactly how they calculated this figure of 45 minutes in the dossier. That seems pretty far off the mark to me.... and it seems to me highly unlikely that there were any means of delivering biological or chemical weapons within 45 minutes," he said.
Mr. Blix, who retired last month as head of the U.N. mission on weapons inspections, suggested that right from the start, Mr. Blair appeared to have `convinced' himself about the existence of WMDs in Iraq. "I talked to him several times and I never had any other impression. In fact, I was the one who was sceptical and critical and said that I didn't think that the evidence was so strong and said so to the Security Council," he said and dismissed as a lot of speculation the suggestion that Iraq might have moved its weapons to Syria or Iran.
His remarks came amid a rare Anglo-U.S. rift, as Britain challenged the CIA's claim that British intelligence about Iraq's attempt to buy uranium from Niger for its nuclear programme was not correct.
A day after the CIA publicly admitted that the British claim should never have been included in the President, George W.Bush's State of the Union Address in January, London insisted that its information was based on "reliable intelligence" which it had not shared with the U.S. for "good reasons."
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of