The former U.N. weapons inspector, who sparred with the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war, is once again warning the United States against rushing to action.
Hans Blix told the Global Viewpoint Network that the United States and its allies should wait for U.N. inspectors to finish their analysis of allegations that chemical weapons were used in Syria before taking any action.
“As we've seen before, the political dynamics are running ahead of due process,” he said. “I do not go along with the statement by the U.S. that “it is too late” for Syria now to cooperate. That is a poor excuse for taking military action.”
“Then, too, the Americans and their allies asked for inspections for mass destruction weapons,” he said. “Then, too, they said, 'Forget it, we have enough evidence on our own to act. We are the world police. Our publics are demanding immediate action!'”
Even Blix did not dispute that Assad's regime seems culpable of an attack that rebels say killed more than 1,300 people last week, however.
“The indications are certainly in the direction of the use of chemical weapons,” he said. “Also, the circumstantial evidence points to the Assad regime carrying out the use of such weapons.”
Blix went on to express disappointment at President Obama. He said the president should not act without the approval of the U.N. Security Council, where Assad ally Russia is almost guaranteed to veto any military action.
“In the wake of the Iraq war, Obama, in his Nobel lecture, also argued that military action should not be taken against other states without U.N. Security Council approval,” Blix said. “That was then, I guess. Now is now.”
In his 2009 acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, however, Obama made it clear that while he did not favor unilateral U.S. action, he would not rule it out.
“I – like any head of state – reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation,” Obama said at the time. “First, in dealing with those nations that break rules and laws, I believe that we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to actually change behavior – for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something. Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable.”