Will Iraq Snub Kofi?

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Back to you, Kofi: Iraq has refused to cooperate with Richard Butler, and on Thursday it stopped a U.N. team from conducting inspections. The big question now is whether Baghdad will play ball with Kofi Annan. "The February agreement that averted a military confrontation specified that the Secretary General would be the final mediator in disputes between Baghdad and the U.N. weapons inspection team," explains TIME reporter Stuart Stogel. "If Iraq refuses to abide by Kofi's ruling in the matter, we'll be back in a crisis situation."

The Security Council condemned Iraq's action after a briefing by Butler on Thursday, and urged Annan to find a mutually acceptable solution to the breakdown. Iraq may not, this time, be able to count on its traditional Security Council supporters Russia, China and France to restrain U.S. pressure. The reason? Evidence that Iraq put chemical warheads on missiles. Says Stogel: "Some of Iraq's backers are saying privately that once this evidence is confirmed, there's very little they can do for Baghdad."