Can This Deal Work?

To everyone's relief, Kofi Annan strikes a bargain in Baghdad. Will Saddam keep his word this time?

American warplanes were practicing bombing runs from their carriers in the Persian Gulf. In Baghdad the long-suffering citizens of Iraq were resigning themselves to yet another aerial whacking. In Washington, Bill Clinton was staring at a pair of unpleasant options: bomb and be damned, or back down and be ridiculed. If ever there was a call for high diplomacy, this was it.

On Friday, Feb. 20, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan flew to the Iraqi capital aboard a Falcon 900 jet lent to him by French President Jacques Chirac. The deceptively soft-spoken Ghanaian listened for two days as the Iraqis pressed their...

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