'Baghdad Will Blink'

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Despite its saber-rattling, Iraq will likely beat a hasty retreat from its ban on Americans in U.N. inspection teams, says TIME correspondent Ed Barnes.

Baghdad’s hardball gambit was based on a recent Security Council vote in which France, Russia and Kenya went against the U.S. “Iraq made terrible strategic mistake in thinking that vote signaled the end of the coalition. There was never any disagreement over weapons monitoring, so Iraq’s action, if anything, actually re-solidified the coalition. What the coalition partners have learned from this is that Iraq will try and drive a tank through any sign of divisiveness.”

Barnes believes the unified condemnation of the U.N. will force Baghdad to back down. After all, Iraq’s priority is getting sanctions lifted, which is why it sought to divide the U.N. coalition in the first place.