Iraq Moves Missiles

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WASHINGTON: The Pentagon late yesterday warned that Saddam Hussein had been moving his missiles around and contravening U.N. resolutions, despite the apparent movement towards a diplomatic solution of the Iraq crisis. But TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson says the Iraqi moves are business as usual: “It’s been happening for a couple of weeks. He regularly moves his missiles, in violation of cease-fire but the Pentagon usually maintains it’s not enough to warrant a response,” Thompson explained. “It’s probably making the news now because everyone’s paying more attention to Iraq.”

Earlier today, Iraq followed days of threats, warnings and pavement scrawlings by flagrantly refusing to shoot down a U-2 surveillance plane flying over its territory. "It's flown and everything went well," said one excited Pentagon official Tuesday.

It had been the first U-2 flight since Saddam Hussein ordered U.S. weapons inspectors out of Iraq last Friday, and the fact that it passed without incident was a sign of emerging détente. What Madeleine Albright described as a "little carrot" for Saddam — allowing Iraq to sell more oil in exchange for food in return for allowing the inspectors back — was being discussed by American, British, French and Russian officials.

Despite tough talk in public, both sides appeared to be touting compromise solutions and avoiding provocative acts, indicating a greater willingness to go that extra mile for peace.