Go ahead, do your worst. Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz
had been expected to hold out an olive branch at an international press
conference Thursday; instead, even as U.S.
forces streamed into the Gulf region, the angry and defiant Iraqi spokesman said Baghdad would make no concessions. "Iraq has accepted a U.S. attack as a fait
accompli," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. "They see it as
the next step in their battle against sanctions. Iraq believes it can
withstand U.S. attacks, and that pressure from Arab countries will
eventually force Washington to back down."
"Iraq believes it's in a win-win
situation," adds TIME Middle East bureau chief Scott MacLeod. "Their
objective is to get sanctions lifted, and they believe that if there's a
diplomatic solution or if they're attacked, they gain either way." So the
future of the conflict may now depend less on whether or not Iraq is
bombed than on what happens after it's bombed.