Iraq Hangs Tough

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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."

Special Report"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.