Sometime between early January and early March 1991, a decision will be made by the United States government to go to war in the Middle East (with or without the approval of Congress or the authorization of the United Nations). That is now the most probable scenario in the Persian Gulf crisis, unless a political solution is found.
A decision to take offensive action earlier is unlikely, being militarily and politically premature. A decision later would be very difficult, as it would run into the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the season of heat and windy sand storms on the Arabian Peninsula. While any incident could provoke hostilities at any time (and such an incident could even be contrived), the most likely time for war to begin is in the first 60 days of 1991.
The chilling reality must now be squarely faced -- if no political settlement to the Gulf crisis emerges, we will be at war within three months.
George Bush has made such an enormous military and political commitment in the Persian Gulf that U.S. withdrawl at this point is politically impossible. President Bush is escalating the public rhetoric against the Iraqi leader and psychologically preparing the nation for war. Saddam Hussein has also put his personal leadership and political future on the line and is similarly unlikely to back down. He is in a corner from which there is no easy escape and seems to be looking for a way out despite his bellicose public posture.