Such telegenic stunts have replaced any serious attempts at diplomacy in Iraq's 20-day standoff with the United Nations. With most Arab countries — even Kuwait — expressing opposition to a U.S. air strike, Saddam is evidently maneuvering himself into the position of anti-American leadership he always sought. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz is pushing the image for all it's worth: In Morocco Sunday, he warned of a backlash by "Arab masses" in the event of military action.
The only question now is whether Madeleine Albright's whistle-stop weekend tour of surrounding Gulf states — Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia — has drummed up any support for U.S. action to punish Iraq. Without it, Saddam will turn an air-strike into the greatest pro-Iraq propaganda of all.