Can Iraq Break the Stalemate?

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In chess terms, it's an exchange of pawns. The U.S. concedes to a review of U.N. sanctions against Iraq, but the outcome of that review isn't what Baghdad expects. "The U.S. will cooperate on a comprehensive review, but that won't result in sanctions' actually being lifted," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. "While Iraq may be able to show they've complied with many of the U.N.'s requirements, the issues that remain unresolved -- such as biological weapons -- are serious enough to nullify any move to ease sanctions."

U.N. inspectors went out on a series of surprise inspections Tuesday, testing Iraqi compliance ahead of Richard Butler's report to the U.N. later this week. Iraq, however, may be planning a new, risky gambit. "Iraq is downgrading its presence at the U.N. and may at this point actually want a U.S. military strike to boost its campaign for international support against sanctions," says Dowell. In other words, an exchange of bigger pieces may be on the horizon.