According to the BBC the Saudis are denying the veracity of the New York Times story (Dec 29) which claimed that the Saudis would allow the bases to be used. And the Debka File reports that Syrian President Assad picked up a message while he was in London (from PM Tony Blair), a final ultimatum, from President Bush to Saddam Hussein, and delivered it to Hussein on December 21 or 22. The nine points listed make clear that unless certain things happen by mid-January war cannot be avoided. Interesting. May this explain Iraq’s recent willingness to allow scientists to be interviewed, Prime Minister Sharon’s assertion that MWD’s have been moved to Syria, and the latest Saudi flap? There is an implication in all of this that Saddam Hussein may be willing to give in, even be willing to go into exile, and that various Arab states are putting on the pressure for him to do so. Complicated.