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Blix 'curious' about unconventional arms in Iraq

U.N. inspector says he doubts Baghdad would use WMD

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix led the four-month inspection mission in Iraq.
Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix led the four-month inspection mission in Iraq.

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•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden (CNN) -- Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Friday that he would be interested to learn whether Iraq has chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

Disarming Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of such weapons was one reason the United States and Britain gave for invading the Persian Gulf nation.

"Now we are curious, we are the most curious of all to know, are the Americans and Brits and others going to find some weapons of mass destruction?" Blix said after speaking at a seminar on postwar Iraq.

Blix led a team of U.N. weapons inspectors that searched Iraq for alleged weapons of mass destruction under the authority of Security Council Resolution 1441, passed unanimously by the council in November. It called on Iraq to declare its chemical, nuclear and biological weapons and to give the U.N., team unfettered access for its inspections. The inspectors searched Iraq for four months before the war began.

"That is the $64 billion question today. We were the $64 million question, because that was what we cost per year," he said, referring to the U.N. weapons inspection team.

"And with 200,000 men there and $64 billion, I hope [the coalition] finds [weapons], if there are any," Blix added in a reference to the approximate amount that President Bush asked Congress to provide for war funding. (Full story)

If Iraq does have weapons of mass destruction, Blix said, he doesn't believe Baghdad would use them against coalition troops.

start quoteWith 200,000 men there and $64 billion, I hope [the coalition] finds [weapons], if there are any.end quote
-- Hans Blix, weapons inspector

"My guess ... is that they would not because ... there are many people who were critical towards the war and felt that this was too sudden or that it was too brutal, and if [Iraq] did use any chemical weapons now, people would say, 'So, they were liars. They lied about this and there was a justification for the intervention,'" Blix said.

Friday, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks of U.S. Central Command said Iraqi forces might have pulled chemical or biological weapons "into the Baghdad area" to unleash on U.S. forces, which are now massed to the southwest and southeast.

Iraqi officials insist that they have no such weapons.

Brooks said coalition forces found boxes of an unidentified powder, liquid and other materials in an industrial facility near Baghdad, and Special Forces also found a site in western Iraq that appears to have been a training facility for handling chemical and biological weapons.

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