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ACA’s journal, Arms Control Today, remains the best in the market. Well focused. Solidly researched. Prudent.

– Hans Blix,
former IAEA Director-General

Blix Discusses UNMOVIC Experience As Controversy Over Iraq's Weapons Continues
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For Immediate Release: June 20, 2003
Press Contacts: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107; Paul Kerr, Research Analyst, (202) 463-8270 x102

(Washington, D.C.): Although the United States has stepped up its search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD), no such weapons have yet been found. As a result, Congress is holding inquiries into the use of pre-war intelligence on Iraq's prohibited weapons by the Bush administration. Investigating this intelligence, however, is only part of the larger task of evaluating the effort to deny Iraq nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and how to deal with other states intent on acquiring WMD.

Hans Blix, outgoing Executive Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), shared his perspective on a number of Iraq disarmament issues during a June 16 interview with Arms Control Today editor, Miles Pomper, and ACA research analyst, Paul Kerr.

Regarding the fact that U.S. forces have not yet found prohibited weapons in Iraq, Blix told Arms Control Today: "I would not say I am surprised, but nor would I have been surprised if they had found something. Our position was always that there was a great deal that was unaccounted for, which means that it could have been there and the Iraqis had not explained what had happened to it. Except to say in a general way that it was all destroyed in the summer of 1991." He added, "We warned, and I warned specifically and explicitly, against equating 'not accounted for' with 'existing.'"

Blix answered questions on other issues, including:

  • UNMOVIC's experience performing WMD searches in Iraq;
  • The future role for UNMOVIC in Iraq;
  • The role of international weapons inspections elsewhere; and
  • Why U.S. inspectors have not found prohibited weapons and why Iraq was not more forthcoming.

Excerpts from the Blix interview will appear in the July/August issue of Arms Control Today, which will include two feature articles on the role of national intelligence in combating weapons proliferation:

Greg Thielmann, a recently retired senior State Department intelligence official, details how a 1998 commission chaired by Donald Rumsfeld manipulated threat assessments on foreign ballistic missile development to justify proposals for the rapid deployment of a national missile defense.

Gregory V. Treverton, a senior RAND analyst and former Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, questions whether U.S. intelligence alone can support a policy of preemption to take out nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs in states of concern.

The full Blix interview is available at http://www.armscontrol.org/events/blixinterview_june03.asp.

More information resources on Iraq are available online at http://www.armscontrol.org/country/iraq/.

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The Arms Control Association is an independent, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies to address security threats posed by nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as conventional arms.

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Posted: June 20, 2003