"Iraq has made it very clear that they don't intend to budge unless more pressure is applied," says TIME correspondent William Dowell — which puts the situation back to where it was in November, except that diplomacy will have been shown to have failed. "There's a massing of military force in the Gulf right now, enough to make Saddam blink," says Dowell. "If he doesn't back down, there will be a strong argument for using it."
It's not going to happen this week, which is unfortunate for those tempted to introduce the "Wag the Dog" analogy -- a president bedeviled by scandal turning to war as a diversion. However, adds Dowell, "the pieces are clearly falling into place for a confrontation."