Madeleine Albright said Kofi Annan’s agreement was full of “questions and ambiguities” that she wants the Security Council to clear up. Annan himself ignored his critics, and started handpicking the diplomatic team that will accompany weapons inspectors into Iraqi palaces. The British called for a resolution to use force if the accord fails; Congress called for cost estimates of forces already in the Gulf; Tariq Aziz called for that force to be sent home. Clearly, all the main players were still jostling Tuesday for the best postcrisis position.
It’s not all diplomatic maneuverings and minor-league politicking. Vital issues are at stake over the next few days and weeks -- such as whether UNSCOM officials or attaches will have the upper hand in weapons inspections. Or whether the U.S. and Britain will have the right to attack Iraq if Saddam reneges, bypassing the whole diplomatic kerfuffle of the last month or so. One false move and the next crisis starts ticking.