Iraq war: Blair faces another difficulty

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The Independent Online

Tony Blair will come under greater pressure over his role in the Iraq conflict this week, as one of the men who tried to slow the march to war in 2003 publicly raises questions over his judgement.

Hans Blix, who was in charge of the team of United Nations inspectors checking for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on the eve of the war, will lay bare his disagreements with Mr Blair and the former US president George W Bush in an appearance at the Iraq inquiry on Tuesday.

Last night, Dr Blix revived his differences with Mr Blair over Saddam Hussein's arsenal, claiming he always questioned the former prime minister's assessment of the threat posed by Iraq.

Dr Blix had warned Iraq of "serious consequences" if it attempted to hinder or delay his mission. But his failure to find evidence of WMDs and his scepticism about their existence brought him into increasing conflict with Mr Blair and President Bush. Dr Blix said last night: "I question their good judgement. I never gave up hope for a non-military development – until we were told to move our inspectors out. That was a few days before the military action started."

Dr Blix will appear during a significant week for the Chilcot inquiry, as former military chiefs General Sir Richard Dannatt and General Sir Mike Jackson testify, alongside Sir Ronnie Flanagan, as former chief inspector of constabulary, and Lord Prescott.