"We think it's definitely possible to get the nine, and we feel we're making progress, but it's always dangerous to count the votes until they happen," said the senior U.S. official.
"What we have to figure out still is what the French and Russians will do.... Neither is likely to veto alone. And if they think we have the nine votes, it's doubtful either will veto."
Yet French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said Sunday that the resolution faces serious opposition.
"Do we need a second resolution? No. Are we going to oppose a second resolution? Yes, as are the Russians and many other countries," he said on ABC's "This Week."
In the third setback to U.S. policy, a heated Arab League summit issued a resolution Saturday demanding more time for weapons inspections and calling on the 22 Arab entities not to aid any military action.
"The United States was hoping for a more neutral statement and expecting a call for a high-level delegation to ask Saddam to step down. What it didn't expect was a condemnation, which sends a bad signal to everyone else," said Pollack.
U.S. officials countered that Arab League communiques are not binding and that several Arab states differ in what they are saying publicly and privately.
Meanwhile, Iraq destroyed six more of its Al-Samoud 2 missiles Sunday, bringing to 10 the total number eliminated over the weekend -- and adding impetus to arguments that weapons inspections are working and should be given more time.
But U.S. officials countered that the core issues -- Iraq's full compliance and the integrity of the United Nations -- have not changed and still provide a strong basis for rallying international backing.
Times staff writer John Hendren contributed to this report.