The Gulf: Dance While You Can

Baghdad takes on a surreal haze as Iraqis muse about Saddam's fate and hostages party with diplomats into the night

The desert winds called hamis are blowing now, and with them Baghdad seems enveloped in a surreal haze: diplomats drop out of the sky to plead with Saddam Hussein for a solution before it is too late; hostages lounge by the pool and pin their hopes on each new arrival; ministers hint of divisions within the government; reporters interview the most recent terrorists to take up residence here; the Muzak in the state-owned hotel plays Hava Nagila.

Increasingly there is talk that Saddam may not survive the winter, that before an American-led military offensive occurs, his own generals may move against...

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