Blix regrets Iraq invasion

The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a “war of choice, not of necessity”, former weapons inspector Hans Blix said last night.

Mr Blix was in charge of the UN’s inspection programme which carried out over 700 inspections at 500 sites in the approach to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Speaking at the RSA in London last night, he expressed concern that the “willing” US-led coalition states which ousted Saddam Hussein went against the UN’s wishes.

“It is not fear of the UN which was holding them back,” he said.

“The US administration renounced the legal restrictions that the US had helped formulate in 1945.”

Mr Blix said the case of an invasion of Iraq would have been significantly undermined had he been allowed to continue his work for longer.

“The information gained by impartial international inspectors should not [have been] ignored,” he added.

“Had the inspections continued for another two months, it would have been much more difficult to start the war.”

Mr Blix, now chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, is worried the UN’s weakness will not help advance “stagnating” efforts to further nuclear disarmament.

He said the world faces a “cold peace” following the cold war, in which the “space race is a reality which goes on” and where legal barriers against the use of force remain “tardy” and “shaky”.

“The fear is that a return to traditional balance-of-power politics might prompt traditional responses,” he warned.