Saturday, March 8
US war plans are not helped by Blix
Robert Fisk, The Independent, March 8, 2003

Oh, for the ice-cold Swedish eye on the Middle East. Ah, for the freezing Scandinavian vision of truth. Hans Blix, everybody's headmaster, delivered his school report yesterday with enough fairness to outrage both : pupil – Iraq – and parent, ultimately the US.

Yes, Iraq had provided the names of relevant scientists, but "only a few documents had come to light – a disappointment". And on Iraq's destruction of al-Samoud 2 missiles – a "substantial measure of disarmament" – a Swedish bon mot. "We are not watching the destruction of toothpicks," Mr Blix said. Toothpicks, indeed.

Words of truly Nordic neutrality followed: "reluctant co-operation", "soberly judged", "immediate co-operation" (which was not obtained), "a considerable volume of documents". The famous aluminium tubes turned out – if one believes Mr Blix, and why not – to have nothing to do with nuclear weapons (goodbye, the British intelligence file). And – if you believe Mohamed al-Baradei, and again why not – quite a number of other US documents are lies. But the words from this most intransigent of Swedes to most enrage the warmongers were: "We intend to continue our inspection activities."

You could almost hear the roar of fury from the Americans. [...]

The words were no help to US war plans. "Plausible ... verifiable ... progress," he said of his mission. All words the US would welcome if they wanted the inspectors to succeed.

Hence the statement from Joschka Fischer, the German Foreign Minister: "We see no need for a second resolution." Which, of course, was the view of the French and the Russians – and Mr Blix. So, Mr Blix, watch out
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