The Gulf Options for Peace

By promising to free the hostages, Saddam tries to undercut the case for an imminent fight and pressure Bush to negotiate a settlement

For Saddam Hussein, the hostage card proved recyclable last week. When he first made captives of thousands of foreigners trapped in Iraq and in occupied Kuwait, he reckoned he was reducing the chances of an attack against himself. He was wrong. When he promised to send all the hostages home last week, he made the same calculation. This time he may have got it right.

From a military angle, the release of the hostages makes a war against Iraq more manageable. With these innocents out of the line of fire, Saddam's opponents have a clearer shot at him. But, as the...

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