Blix : War Against Iraq Unjustified

Bangkok Post - Tuesday, February 08, 2005

World does not stand to benefit in a big way

International intervention was needed where states commit atrocities against their own people, as in the cases of Cambodia and Rwanda, but this did not extend to unilateral action such as the Iraqi war, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said in Bangkok yesterday.

The Iraq invasion was explained by ''witch-hunters as self-defence against a perceived growing threat'' but this was unacceptable and the war unjustified.

Mr Blix, who resigned from the United Nations in June, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq, was giving al lecture on ''Peace and Disarmament _ Prospects after Iraq'' organised by the International Peace Foundation at Chulalongkorn University.

''In legal terms, they argued that Saddam Hussein's regime had violated a number of UN resolutions and in political terms they said they would help establish democracy in the country. But in reality the UN inspectors found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction,'' he said.

The only benefit to be derived from the war was to get rid of a rogue regime and put an elected government in its place, which hopefully would bring peace and prosperity, but came at a very high price.

Critical thinking, thorough examination and accuracy of intelligence information were important factors for an efficient government as well as international organisations such as the United Nations when facing critical moments, he said.

Generally supporting the high-level panel chaired by former Thai prime minister Anand Panyarachun on reform of the UN Security Council, Mr Blix suggested the Council should include not only military powers but also economic powers like Germany and Japan. To get global opinion and public participation, India, Brazil, South Africa and Egypt could also be qualified in this case.

''Given the Iraqi war we even have to underline the importance of the Security Council. Although this reform is feasible, it will not come easily and what we can do now is for members to act on behalf of themselves and of the group that nominated them,'' said Mr Blix, now chairman of the newly formed International Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The UN was also expected to function as a common instrument in finding grounds for coordinating efforts on the setting up of an early tsunami warning system and other natural catastrophes, he said.

Poverty, human rights abuse and environmental hazards were also a threat to global security.

The global body should address these three issues in a more effective manner, Mr Blix said.

Achara Ashayagachat