Who is Hans Blix?
November 15, 2002 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Who is Hans Blix? A 74 year old Swede with a long career in international law, he was recently featured as Time person of the week and is, obviously, something of a key figure in U.S.-U.N.-Iraq interaction. You can also examine his brief U.N. Bio (linked in title), a BBC Profile for an introduction, and a number of his past speeches and remarks (link to another CV on that site, too). Is he the man for the inspection job, or a a man who has and will again be fooled by Hussein?
posted by namespan (5 comments total)
And is he a man given to snarky comments? Consider this excerpt from a press interview:
QUESTION: What are you going to tell the Security Council?

HANS BLIX: I am going to give a much more detailed briefing than the one you get.
Made me laugh. : )
posted by namespan at 11:32 AM on November 15, 2002

Sending in a dupe to disarm Saddam is a similar article about why Blix may not be the best person for the job. It's written by Per Ahlmark, who is a former deputy prime minister of Sweden and has known Blix for over 40 years.
posted by wrffr at 1:24 PM on November 15, 2002

The last article I linked to didn't suggest the problem was really so much with Blix as it was with inspecting a Hussein regime. "But there's also nothing to inspire confidence that any weapons inspections will work with Saddam" was a closing quote. It simply says Blix is unexceptional and unlikely to stand out in such a situation.

On the other hand, the above articles, taken collectively, point out that Blix was burnt badly once, and may be as likely as anyone to be sufficiently suspicious -- as well as diplomatic. In that sense, he might have the right balance. He also apparently sees the role of weapons inspectors as a source of information, not decision makers, and so will leave responsibility for action up to others...

Don't get me wrong about either defending or defaming Blix. I don't want to do either, really. I think it's simply interesting (and possibly useful) to learn about a guy who now plays a key role in shaping policy...
posted by namespan at 1:57 PM on November 15, 2002

A well-balanced USA Today article {cut the snark, and read it; they do good journalism}, which suggests that although the Bush administration had its doubts, they have confidence in him for the time being.
posted by dhartung at 11:45 PM on November 15, 2002

namespan : It's a good post.

The Security Council's decision on Dr Blix's appointment to head the Iraq Inspections Team was made back in January 2000. US welcomed the appointment and had this to say about Dr Blix in 2000 : Dr Blix "is excellently suited to fill this important position" and his "career demonstrates the objective criteria we have emphasized -- including technical disarmament expertise, independence, professionalism and managerial ability -- and we expect him to be effective in implementing the Council's resolutions on Iraq."

It's probably not going to be smooth sailing from Day 1, and someone like Dr Blix who's not overtly aggressive is probably a good thing as otherwise his bad temperament or behaviour will be a red herring or excuse by SH regime not to co-operate.
posted by taratan at 1:12 AM on November 16, 2002

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