The Brits may be optimistic, but the mood at home is a little more wary. "It may be a move to more concessions," says TIME Washington correspondent Douglas Waller, "but right now the U.S. think's it's a cheat and retreat tactic which Saddam has tried before." Indeed, the State Department has little patience with Iraq — and such diplomatic stalling, adds Waller, "may even hurry up a military attack."
Which won't please Boris Yeltsin. After stating Wednesday that President Clinton faces a "world war" if he attacks Iraq, the Russian leader added that he would "under no circumstances accept" a strike on Baghdad. Clearly, Saddam still has a friend in the Kremlin — indeed, one to whom he owes approximately $10 billion. The only question is whether this friendship will help or hinder Iraq's willingness to negotiate its way out of war.