The world can count a small victory Wednesday. One day after Iraq’s parliament voted unanimously to reject the resolution ordering compliance with United Nations’ directives, Saddam Hussein conceded.

He would not have done so without enormous pressure from the United Nations and the United States. While the victory is good, it won’t last if this shared pressure subsides.

Saddam and his parliament do not want arms inspectors in their country. They don’t want to disarm their weapons. They have made that perfectly clear, not just in past months, but for years.

And although they say they welcome the world’s aggression, Saddam’s concession signals otherwise.

That’s why it’s so important to keep up the pressure. Not just U.N. and U.S. pressure on Iraq, but U.S. pressure on the U.N. to stand firm.

For too many years the United Nations sent sternly worded letters to Iraq, requesting compliance, but never followed up with significant action. The letters went unheeded.

Only after the United States, with President Bush in the lead, promising — not merely threatening — military action has Saddam responded. And only after repeated warnings.

“The world expects Saddam Hussein to disarm for the sake of peace,” Bush said, and if he refuses, “we will have a coalition of the willing with us” to force inspections and disarmament.

Saddam has a history of trading acquiescence for resistance. We now have his attention. To keep it, the pressure must remain high and the world must be ready to move if he falters.
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