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Libyan Writer Dr. Abdelrahim Saleh

Thursday, 13 March, 2003

US-Libya Relations 1969-2002: A Descriptive Account

By: Abdelrahim Saleh

Summary. Libyan-US relations have been plagued by a series of incidents between American and Libyan armed forces, Libyan policies of allegedly supporting terrorism, Libya's search for chemical and nuclear weapons, and Libyan meddling in other nations' internal affairs. Despite the fact that Qadhafi implemented his own vision of the so-called "people's participatory democracy", it is clear that Qadhafi, his siblings and the remaining members of the "Revolutionary Command Council" (RCC), created after the 1969 coup, and their cohort of the so-called Revolutionary Committees continue to exercise dictatorial authority over the Libyan society.

The US has vigorously pushed the United Nations Security Council to pass a few resolutions that placed sanctions on Libya until it surrendered for trial, on 5 April 1999, two operatives of the Libyan Intelligence Agency suspected of bombing Pan Am flight 103 in 1988. The UN suspended the sanctions the same day on which the suspects arrived to the Netherlands. US sanctions against Libya remain in place.

Qadhafi has used his military in a 1977 border dispute with Egypt, in 1972 and 1978 attempts to buttress Idi Amin in Uganda, in several costly attempts to influence events in Chad, and in a token deployment in Lebanon and several other African nations. The US and other Western countries in their dealing with the totalitarian regime never acknowledged or paid any attention to the suffering of the Libyan people or their lack of basic human rights.

Most Recent Developments. According to recent reports, Libya offered $2.7 billion to the kin of the 270 Pan Am 103 victims and may accept responsibility for the vicious bombing act as the Americans insisted from the beginning. It is likely that this arrangement may prevail if Libya met its obligations demanded by the US. Although a Libyan government spokesman disavowed the story when it appeared on May 2002, on June 2, 2002, another lawyer for the victims repeated the story that each family would receive $10 million in compensation. The press reports said the funds would be paid in increments: $4 million when the United Nations removed its sanctions against Libya, $4 million when the United States dropped its sanctions, and the final $2 million when the United States removed Libya from the terrorist list.

The Libyan payments reportedly will be in addition to the $500 million paid to the victims' families by insurance companies. Finally, on 30 October, 2002, lawyers representing Libya have signed the latest version of an offer to compensate relatives of the 270 people killed in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, according to a letter made available at that time. Reuters reported that the letter, circulated to the families by the New York law firm Kreindler and Kreindler, made minor changes to the June 2002 offer mentioned above but this time it had the signatures of five lawyers representing Libya. Under the offer, relatives would receive up to $10 million for each person who died in the explosion, in three installments linked to the lifting of sanctions against Libya. The lawyers signing for the Libyan side are Robert Mirone, Anne Sefrioui, Mohamed Abdul Jawad, Azzam Eddeeb and Ali Dawi. Indeed, it certainly looks like a deal may be in the making for blood money in 2003.

A Brief Overview of Libya-US Relations

This overview is intended as a descriptive account and thus is presented more like a chronology of events. The reader is of course entitled to form his/her own analysis. Due to the Cold War, the United States did not oppose the 1969 coup change in Libya because the RCC was anti-Soviet. There are even those who claim that American intelligence helped covertly the takeover by the young officers. Even the RCC determination to hasten the scheduled British and U.S. departure from Libyan military bases and the RCC pressure on US and other foreign oil companies to concede higher royalties and shared production ownership did not foul US-Libyan relations. But, by 1973, when the United States withdrew its Ambassador to protest Libya's support for "revolutionary" and "terror" groups, Libyan-US relations had turned sour and have not recovered ever since.

1973 Libyan Territorial Water Claim. On October 11, 1973, Libya notified the US State Department that the Gulf of Sidra was to be a closed bay and part of Libya's territorial waters. Under international practice the opening across a closed bay can be no more than 24 miles; the Gulf of Sidra opening claimed by Libya was over 300 miles across. Also, under international practice, Libya must have demonstrated continuous and open control over the bay that was recognized and accepted by other nations, conditions not met in the Libyan claim. The United States rejected the Libyan claim on February 11, 1974.

In 1978, US banned military equipment sales to Libya in retaliation for Libyan support of terrorist groups. However, On March 2, 1979 Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Morris Draper informed Congress that the Sate Department, having received assurances that planes would be used only for the Libyan national airline, has approved sale of three Boeing 747s and two 727s to Libya (New York Times, 3 March 1979, p. A5). In response to such an approval, Republican Representative Millicent Fenwick of New Jersey sponsored an amendment to the Revised Export Administration Act that was accepted and enacted by Congress. In accordance with this amendment, State Department names Libya, Syria, Iraq, South Yemen as countries that, because of support for terrorism, may not receive certain U.S. products; and exports of some other goods is made contingent upon congressional approval.

1979 US Embassy Burned. On December 2, 1979, a suspicious demonstration, apparently inspired by the Iranian seizure of the US embassy in Teheran the month before, attacked and burned the US embassy in Tripoli; no US citizens were killed or injured. The press reported that Libyan authorities might have a lot to do with instigating the whole thing and did nothing to stop the mob. The embassy was closed permanently in May 1980, after a series of assassinations of Libyan dissidents in Europe. And on September 16, 1980, a Libyan fighter aircraft fired at but missed an U.S. EC-135 reconnaissance plane over the Mediterranean. The United States took no retaliatory action.

On March 1981, Secretary of State Department at the time, Alexander M. Haig Jr., became the first American high official to declare that the U.S. has evidence that "Libya is running training camps for terrorists". This declaration signaled the intent of the Reagan Administration to apply pressure on the Libyan military regime. On May 6, 1981, the United States ordered the Libyan diplomatic mission (called the Libyan People's Bureau rather than embassy) in Washington closed because it was suspected that Libyan diplomatic personnel were involved in a wide range of illegal (or at least undiplomatic) activities, including support for international terrorism and intimidating Libyan dissidents in the United States (New York Times, 7 May 1981, p. A1).

1981 Air Battle. On August 19, 1981, two Libyan SU-22 aircraft fired an "Atoll" air-to-air missile at two US F-14 aircraft from the carrier Nimitz over the Gulf of Sidra. The Atoll missed but the F-14's did not; the US Navy pilots shot down both Libyan aircraft. On October 15, 1981, the United States deployed two AWACS planes to Egypt to patrol the Egyptian-Libyan border area (New York Times, 20 August 1981, A1). On 28 October 1981, US imposed controls on exports of small aircraft, helicopters, aircraft parts, and avionics to Libya to "limit Libyan capacity to support military adventures in neighboring countries".

On November 1981, US Exxon Oil Company abandons its Libyan operations. (Wall Street Journal, 11 December 1981, p. 3). The murder of U.S. defense attaché in Paris, on 6 December 1981, was linked by some observers to a possible Libyan involvement. And on 7 December 1981 President Ronald Reagan claimed that US has evidence that Libyan leader has sent assassination teams to murder top US officials (Washington Post, 11 December 1981, p. A28). Immediately after that the Reagan administration called on 1,500 Americans residing in Libya to leave "as soon as possible," citing "the danger, which the Libyan regime poses to American citizens." US passports were declared invalid for travel to Libya (Washington Post, 11 December 1981, p. A1; Wall Street Journal, 11 December 1981, p. 3).

1981 Assassination Attempts. Shortly after the August 1981 aircraft incident, the press widely reported that Libyan "hit squads" had entered the United States to assassinate top American officials including President Ronald Reagan and Qadhafi was labeled "the most dangerous man in the world". And on October 25, 1981, U.S. Ambassador to Italy Maxwell Rabb was withdrawn from his post after U.S. intelligence sources discovered a plot either to kidnap or assassinate him. In November, someone fired at U.S. Ambassador to France Christian Chapman. Secretary of State Alexander Haig told a congressional committee that he suspected it was Libyans that fired the shots. It is worth mentioning here that an earlier suspected Libyan assassination plan reportedly targeted US Ambassador to Egypt Hermann Eilts was discovered in 1977. Also in November 1981, it was suspected that Libya was responsible for explosives that was found in music speakers to be used for an American embassy sponsored dance in Khartoum, Sudan. On December 10, 1981, President Reagan banned US travel to Libya and requested that all US citizens leave Libya to avoid a hostage situation similar to what happened in Iran in 1979.

In response to the call of the American government, US oil firms agreed to withdraw US personnel but announced that they will be replaced with other foreign technicians. (Washington Post, 12 December 1981, p. A1). On 21 January 1982 Libya is reported to have rebuilt 400 heavy-duty trucks (sold to Libya by Oshkosh Trucks) to carry tanks and for other military purposes, despite written guarantees that the vehicles would be used solely for agricultural purposes (New York Times, 21 January 1982, p. A1).

Reagan embargoed, on 10 March 1982, crude oil imports from Libya, invoking section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, and drawing on same national security findings made in the case of Iranian oil in 1979. The presidential proclamation stated: "Libyan policy and action supported by revenues from the sale of oil imported into the United States are inimical to United States national security." In addition, US restricted exports of sophisticated oil, gas equipment, and technology but did not impose retroactive controls or embargo export of items that were available abroad (Wall Street Journal, 9 November 1982, p. 39). In November of the same year US State Department warned oil companies (notably Charter Oil, and Coastal Corp.) against selling refined products derived from Libyan crude in US. At the same time Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) mounted opposition to Libyan occupation of Chad and embarked on assisting Libyan exiles that opposed the Libyan regime. CIA Director William J. Casey said at the time, these activities might lead to "ultimate" removal of Qadhafi." (Newsweek, 8 November 1982, p. 55; Wall Street Journal, 9 November 1982, p. 39). And in December 1982, US barred Boeing sale of 12 commercial jets to the Libyan Arab Airline for $600 million (New York Times, 26 August 1983, p. A24).

1983 Air Incident and Air Surveillance. On February 1983, the United States dispatched four AWACS planes to Egypt to watch the Libya-Sudan border and monitor Libyan flights toward Sudan. Two US Navy F-14 fighters intercepted two Libyan fighters over the Gulf of Sidra in June 1983, but neither side fired shots. In August, President Reagan deployed two AWACS planes and eight F-15 interceptors to defend the AWACS to Sudan in order to monitor Libyan flights. In August 1983, Libya began sending troops into Chad in the hope of overthrowing the government of Hissen Habre. Although France supported Habre, officials of the Reagan administration were divided over export license application for shipment of $40 million marine mooring system to Libya (New York Times, 19 August 1983, p. A1, A6; 26 August 1983, p. A24). In response to alleged Libyan bombing of Umm Durman, Sudan on 18 March 1984, US sent two AWACS surveillance planes to Egypt (Facts on File 1984, p. 197).

On 3 October 1984, US charged Libya with complicity in laying of mines in the Red Sea (Facts on File 1984, p. 807) and on 3 November 1985, the Washington Post reported that President Reagan has authorized covert operation to undermine the Qadhafi regime. The decision apparently was based on a June 1984 CIA assessment that "no course of action short of stimulating Qadhafi's fall will bring significant and enduring change in Libyan policies." (Washington Post, 3 November 1985, p. A1). Furthermore, on 15 November 1985, US barred imports of refined petroleum products from Libya, which have increased following the opening of Ras Lanuf petrochemical complex earlier that year (GAO 1987, p. 18).

1985 Rome and Vienna Airport Attacks. On December 27, 1985, 20 civilians, including five US citizens, were killed and 110 people were wounded by simultaneous terrorist attacks at the Rome and Vienna airports. American officials asserted that Libya was involved in these operations. These coordinated airport attacks were soon linked to Abu Nidal, the head of a Palestinian faction, claiming he had received "a considerable amount of assistance" from Qadhafi. White House and State Department officials called on other governments to exert economic pressure on Libya to halt its support of terrorism (Washington Post, 31 December 1985, p. A1). In addition, President Reagan invoked, on 7 January 1986, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to implement comprehensive trade and financial controls against Libya. The Executive Order barred most exports and imports of goods, technology, services (except for humanitarian purposes), all loans or credits to the Libyan government, transactions "relating to travel by a United States citizen or permanent resident alien to Libya, or to activities by any such person within Libya". However, Treasury regulations permit re-exports of US goods to Libya that are substantially transformed in a third country. Given the unwillingness of European allies to join in sanctions against Libya, Reagan sent personal letters to Western leaders asking them "not to undercut US sanctions against Libya by replacing American oil companies and workers being ordered out of that country". Administration officials admitted, however, that they did not consult with allies before taking action (New York Times, 8 January 1986, p. A6; 9 January 1986, p. A1; and 10 January 1986, p. A6; Wall Street Journal, 8 January 1986, p. 2; Washington Post, 8 January 1986, p. A1; and 10 January 1986, p. A30; GAO 1987, p. 11).

On 8 January 1986, President Reagan ordered to freeze all Libyan government assets in US banks, including hundreds of millions of dollars of deposits held in foreign branches of American banks, as well as real estate property and other investments. Actions were taken to preclude Libyan withdrawals, to deter Libya from collecting on performance bonds placed by US companies doing business with Libya and to guard against Libyan expropriation of US assets (New York Times, 9 January 1986, p. A1; Wall Street Journal, 9 January 1986, p. 25; New York Times, 11 January 1986, p. A4). Until now the US Department of the Treasury is monitoring Libya's moves in capital markets and keeping an eye on foreign investments and secret bank accounts worldwide.

Amount of Country Assets Blocked by the United States January 2001(*)

  Country   Amount of Blocked Assets as of 2002
  Cuba   $193.5 million (prior to § 2002 payment)
  Iran   $347.5 million
  Iraq   $1587 million
  Libya   $1072.2 million
  North Korea   $24 million
  Sudan   $33.3 million
  Syria   $249 million

(*) Source: Calendar Year 2000 Annual Report to the Congress on Assets in the US Belonging to Terrorist Countries or International Terrorist Organizations, (January, 2001), OFAC, Department of the Treasury.

As part of the intensive lobbying efforts against Qadhafi, Deputy Secretary of State John C. Whitehead began a scheduled visit to nine NATO countries, 15 January 1986, in order to seek their support for US sanctions against Libya (Washington Post, 14 January 1986, p. A11). However, on 7 February 1986, US revised sanctions to allow oil companies to continue operations in Libya temporarily to avoid "abandonment of contracts or concessions [which] would result in a substantial economic windfall to Libya". The revision allowed sale of Libyan crude at Libyan ports, but barred drilling for, extracting, distributing, or marketing Libyan oil. In addition, companies are expected to dispose of their Libyan holdings "as soon as practicable on fair and appropriate terms," but no deadline is set (New York Times, 8 February 1986, p. 33; Washington Post, 25 March 1986, p. A1; New York Times, 26 March 1986, p. A1).

1986 Air and Sea Battle. The U.S. Navy began a naval exercise on January 23, 1986, in the Mediterranean north of the Gulf of Sidra. The US reported that it followed accepted international procedures and notified all interested countries, including Libya, of the exercise. During the week of February 11-15, 1986, Libyan and US aircraft had more than a dozen encounters, although neither side fired shots. On March 24, 1986, Libya fired six SA-5 high altitude, long range, slow speed, surface-to-air missiles and two SA-2 low altitude, short range, high speed surface-to-air missiles at US aircraft but all missed their targets. A-7 aircraft from US carriers knocked out the SA-5 installations, and repeated the attack four hours later after the installation resumed activity. Also, A-6 carrier based aircraft attacked and sank or damaged four small Libyan attack boats that approached the US ships. On 24-25 March 1986, US Sixth Fleet had effectively challenged Qadhafi's claim to territorial waters in Gulf of Sidra and had crossed his so-called "Line of Death." (Washington Post, 15 April 1986, p. A1; New York Times, 15 April 1986, p. A1).

1986 US Attack on Libya. A terrorist bomb killed three people (two of whom were US Army personnel) and wounded 200 (60 of whom were U.S. citizens) in the LaBelle nightclub in Berlin on April 5, 1986. At his April 9 press conference, President Reagan said there was "considerable evidence" that Libya was responsible for the explosion. On April 15, some 100 U.S. aircraft — including US Air Force (USAF). F-111s from the United Kingdom, carrier based A-6, A-7, F/A-18, and F-14 aircraft, communications, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare aircraft, and refueling tankers — attacked two military complexes, two air bases, and a port in Libya. Libyan sources said 70 people were killed in the attack, including Qadhafi's adopted infant daughter. Two USAF officers were killed when their F-111 was shot down. Later on April 15, Libyan patrol boats fired two missiles at a US Navy communications station on the Italian island of Lamedusa, but the missiles fell short and the station suffered no damage. In a message to the nation following the April 15 raid, President Reagan cited, as the justification for the US air raid on Libya, intercepted radio messages between Libya and the Libyan embassy in East Berlin discussing the April 5 Berlin nightclub bombing. Reagan stated that "evidence is direct, it is precise, it is irrefutable" (Washington Post, 15 April 1986, p. A1; New York Times, 15 April 1986, p. A1).

Although in hopes of forestalling US military response to the West Berlin bombing, the European countries, on 14 April 1986, agreed to reduce the size of Libyan embassies and restrict movements of Libyan diplomats in Europe, the Americans went ahead with the attacks. While UK allowed US to use British airfields for the exercise, France denied over-flight rights for US planes reflecting the disunity in the European position (New York Times, 15 April 1986, p. A12; Washington Post, 15 April 1986, pp. A1, A23; New York Times, 15 April 1986, p. A1). Moreover, the US succeeded on 5 May 1986, to convince the leaders of the seven major industrial countries at the Economic Summit in Tokyo to cite Libya for its support of international terrorism, and to list a broad range of measures from which each of them could choose to act against countries supporting international terrorism. The list included ,inter alia, arms embargoes, limits on diplomatic missions, improved extradition procedures for accused terrorists, and closer cooperation among law enforcement agencies (Washington Post, 6 May 1986, pp. A1, A14). On 5 May 1986, State Department officials announced that special exemptions for US oil companies in Libya will not be extended beyond 30 June. Companies noted that US action would result in sale of their assets at "fire-sale" prices, but that such losses will be minor since Libyan operations are small share of their total business (New York Times, 6 May 1986, p. A14).

The Libyan Arab Foreign Bank filed suit in London seeking payment of funds blocked by Bankers Trust London under US assets freeze on 13 May 1986. By 23 June 1986, the US Treasury Department amended regulations on Libya to bar re-export of goods incorporating US products from third countries destined for Libyan petroleum industry (GAO 1987, p. 12). And on 30 June 1986, the US Treasury revoked special exemptions for US oil companies but authorized them to enter into standstill agreements with Libyan authorities to maintain their ownership rights for three years while they continue to negotiate the sale of their assets to Libya. In the meantime, the oil companies have no claim to current oil production, nor are they obligated to pay current operating expenses. Of more concern to the companies, they also have no claim under the agreements to future reserves and would be locked out if additional reserves were discovered in Libya while bilateral relations remain hostile (GAO 1987, pp. 16-17).

In August 1986, some OPEC officials reported that France has begun boycotting imports of refined Libyan oil products. In a further attempt to destabilize the Libyan regime, the Reagan administration sponsored a misinformation campaign in opposition to Qadhafi (Wall Street Journal, 6 August 1986, p. 20). However, on 2 September of the same year, the High Court of Justice in London ruled in favor of Libya and ordered Bankers Trust London to transfer to Libyan Arab Foreign Bank $131 million, plus accrued interest that has been blocked by US assets freeze. US Treasury authorized payment on 9 October 1986.

In late 1988, Reagan administration accused Libya of producing chemical weapons at plant near the village of Rabta, south of Tripoli. Although Libya claimed that the plant produces only pharmaceuticals, production activities at the factory ceased for over a year (New York Times, 8 March 1990, p. A17).

Pan Am Flight 103. On 21 December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. Early suspicions, according to press accounts, fell on the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command or the government of Iran; the latter was suspected of seeking revenge for the US Navy shooting down of an Iran Air flight over the Persian Gulf in July 1988. However, after a lengthy and costly investigation, UK officials and US charged Libya with masterminding the bombing (US Department of State 1995, Background Notes - Libya). Immediately after this accusation, Qadhafi was reported to cut back funding to numerous rebel movements and to ask them to close their offices in Libya. Then, in an interview with the Egyptian magazine Al Mussawar, Qadhafi admitted to having supported terrorists in the past, but "when we discovered that these groups were causing more harm than benefit to the Arab cause, we halted our aid to them completely and withdrew our support." The Libyan leader action paralleled a drop in Libyan foreign reserves to under $3 billion in first quarter of 1989 (Washington Post, 5 September 1989, p. A15; New York Times, 26 October 1989, p. A8).

In January 1989, Just before the 3-year standstill agreements were to expire, Reagan allowed US oil companies to return to Libya via their European subsidiaries. Qadhafi, however, refused to allow them to return, in effect continuing the standstill arrangement and leaving US oil investments in limbo. And on 19 September 1989, a French airliner, UTA Flight 772, exploded over Niger, killing all persons aboard. French investigators later uncovered evidence implicating Libyan intelligence agents.

In March 1990 and within days of US intelligence reporting that chemical weapons production has resumed at Rabta, Qadhafi blamed West German agents for an alleged fire at the plant that he claimed has caused extensive damage. US intelligence agencies later concluded that such fire was an elaborate hoax, that Rabta plant was intact and is capable of resuming production (New York Times, 16 March 1990, p. A3; Washington Post, 19 June 1990, p. A17). Qadhafi in May 1990, intervened with Abu Nidal to obtain release of three Western hostages two of whom were French and one was a Belgian. As a result, Qadhafi received "the personal thanks" of French President François Mitterrand (Washington Post, 27 May 1990, p. A35).

In June 1990 a heavily armed group of Palestinians was captured off the coast of Israel. The Israelis claimed that they were trained in Libya, transported in Libyan boats, and accompanied by a Libyan adviser. A few months later, Qadhafi expelled the radical Palestinian group responsible for the failed planned attack (Washington Post, 7 June 1990, p. A30; and 5 November 1990, p. A19).

Pan Am 103 Indictments. On the morning of Thursday, 14 November 1991, US, UK, and France issued a joint declaration calling on Libya to surrender for trial those recently charged in the Pan Am and UTA bombings. On 2 December 1991, the European Community called on Libya to comply with the joint demands and raised the possibility of sanctions if it does not. Libya reportedly began to move its liquid assets out of Britain and France to Switzerland and the Arab Gulf States. But, on 4 December 1991, Libya arrested two men suspected in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 but refused to extradite them to the US or the UK. And in January 1992, in an effort to stave off a British-backed resolution in the United Nations Security Council imposing sanctions, Qadhafi moved to offer to surrender the Pan Am suspects to an international tribunal. However, the Security Council on 31 March 1992, rejected the Libyan offer as inadequate, and imposed a total air and arms embargo in response to Libya's continuing refusal to extradite the suspects in the bombings (UN Security Council Resolution 748). The resolution also restricts the number of diplomats Libya can maintain abroad (Washington Post, 12 November 1993, p. A39).

On 14 May 1992, during remarks at a Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Indonesia, Libyan Foreign Minister, at the time, Ibrahim Mohammed Beshari claimed that Libya would abandon terrorism. However, Libya continued to refuse to release the two suspects in the Pan Am 103 bombing. (Financial Times, 15 May 1992, 6). And in May 1993 Libya claimed that UN travel sanctions have caused the death of over 800 people and cost the country $2.2 billion in lost exports. Qadhafi appealed to his North African neighbors to help broker a UN agreement and hinted that Libya would try to open its borders to greater investment and tourism in an effort to end its international isolation (Financial Times, 10 May 1993, p. 6). However, given Libya's continuing intransigence, the UN Security Council voted on 11 November 1993 to ban the sale of petroleum equipment to Libya and to freeze non-petroleum-related Libyan government assets abroad. The sanctions fall short of a US effort to prohibit the export of Libyan crude, a move opposed by Germany and Italy. Russia reluctantly voted for the resolution for fearing the lack of payment on its $4 billion military debt to Libya. While China, Pakistan, Morocco, and Djibouti abstained. The resolution stated that sanctions will be lifted if Libya agrees to extradite to the UK two suspects in the Pan Am 103 bombing. Libya offered to send the two agents to stand trial in Switzerland, but both London and Washington refused (Washington Post, 12 November 1993, p. A39).

In April 1995 the State Department, in its annual terrorism report, charged Libya with continued support of international terrorists and involvement in overseas attacks against Libyan dissidents (US Department of State 1995, Background Notes - Libya). Libyan government meanwhile began, in September- October, expelling foreign workers, citing the 1995 economic hardship incurred as a result of the 1992 UN trade and travel sanctions, and requested permission from the UN to charter flights to repatriate migrant African workers in the country. Tripoli hoped that these expulsions would put pressure on the UN to relax its sanctions program (Financial Times, 19 October 1995, p. 8).

Legal, Diplomatic and Congressional Actions. On 11 December 1995, the UK expelled a Libyan diplomat from the special interests section of the Saudi embassy on charges of espionage. Libya retaliated by sending home a British diplomat from the interest section of the Italian embassy in Tripoli. (Financial Times, 12 December 1995, p. 7). In the US, the Senate overwhelmingly approved, on 20 December 1995, the Iran Foreign Oil Sanctions Act of 1995 to impose secondary sanctions on companies that invest over $40 million in Iran's oil and gas industries. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) managed to add a last-minute amendment to the bill that extends sanctions to Libya. (Inside US Trade, 22 December 1995, 6). In response to congressional pressure to pass legislation to impose sanctions on Libya's investment partners, the White House called on the United Nations to enact tighter sanctions on oil equipment exports to Libya on 21 December 1995 (Wall Street Journal, 22 December 1995, p. A4). The European Union (EU) immediately replied on 22 January 1996 with a letter to Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS), strongly criticizing US efforts to impose extraterritorial sanctions in relation to Iran and Libya. (Inside US Trade, 9 February 1996, 17). Thus, in frustration American Administration officials, citing, on 8 May 1996, the potential for angering European allies and undermining the UN effort to isolate Tripoli, pressed Congress to terminate efforts to impose secondary sanctions against foreign firms that invest in Libya. (Inside US Trade, 10 May 1996, p. 16).

In May 1996, relatives of the victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing filed suit against the government of Libya, taking advantage of the opportunities opened by the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1996, which allows victims of terrorist acts abroad to sue foreign countries in US courts (Washington Post, 7 May 1996, A13). And on 23 July 1996, Congress passed the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA). The legislation mandates sanctions when companies: invest more than $40 million in gas and oil development in Libya, or export goods or technology prohibited by UN resolutions which would help Libya acquire weapons, or boost Libya's aviation capabilities. In response, the president must impose two or more of the following six sanctions:

  1. Denial of credits from the US Export-Import Bank.
  2. Denial of export licenses for controlled goods or technology.
  3. Prohibition of loans of more than $10m from US financial institutions for a 12-month period.
  4. Prohibition of foreign financial institutions from dealing in US government debt or US government funds.
  5. Prohibition against participation in any US government procurement project.
  6. Import restrictions.

These sanctions were required to be in effect for up to two years, and in "no case" can they be applied for less than one year. But the bill allowed the President to waive "all or part" of the sanctions against a foreign company if doing so is deemed to be in the national interest. The bill has a sunset provision that terminates it five years after enactment (Financial Times, 25 July 1996, p. 4; Inside US Trade, 26 July 1996, p. 4; PL 104-172)

Second day on 24 July 1996, the EU expressed outrage at the passage of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act. The European Commission announced that a regulation being drafted to retaliate against US sanctions on foreign companies trafficking in expropriated US property in Cuba (the Helms-Burton legislation) could also be used to retaliate against the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (New York Times, 25 July 96, p. A14)

On 31 July 1996, the UN Security Council issued a warning to Qadhafi not to defy UN sanctions, and declared that his expressed intention to fly anywhere he wishes, is in violation of the air ban and is unacceptable (Journal of Commerce, 1 August 1996, p. 5A). And on 5 August 1996, President Clinton signed the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act at a ceremony attended by relatives of victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 (New York Times, 6 August 1996, p. A1). Two days later, on 8 August 1996 French President Jacques Chirac warned the US of "immediate retaliation" if French companies are to be targeted under the new Iran and Libya Sanctions Act. French energy firms Total and Elf have expressed interest in increasing investment in Iran and Libya (Journal of Commerce, 8 August 1996, 2A).

On 19 August 1996, German authorities arrested two men on suspicion of smuggling high-technology equipment to Libya to enable it to manufacture lethal nerve gas (Journal of Commerce, 20 August 1996, p. 3A). And on 21 August 1996, the EU announced that it would appeal to the World Trade Organization if the US punishes any European companies for doing business with Iran or Libya (Financial Times, 22 August 1996, p. 3).

After a trip to the Middle East and Libya in August 1996, Louis Farrakhan applied to the US Treasury Department for permission to accept a $1 billion donation from Qadhafi (Wall Street Journal, 26 August 1996, p. A1). However, on 28 August 1996, US Treasury denied Farrakhan's application. Congress later passed a broad legislation to prohibit such transactions in the future (Financial Times, 30 August 1996, 5). The US even criticized Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan for visiting Libya on 7 October 1996 and signing a new bilateral trade pact. Erbakan countered that his primary objective was to secure repayment of an outstanding debt of $300 million (New York Times, 8 October 1996, p. A5).

The Heavy Impact of Sanctions. On 14 October 1996, Libya announced that UN sanctions are taking a "tragic toll" on the country, costing $19 billion and causing as many as 21,000 deaths in the past three and a half years. Libya claimed that agriculture is the hardest-hit sector, with losses estimated at $5.9 billion (International Herald Tribune, 14 October 1995, p. 13). Following the Libyan report on the heavy impact of sanctions, Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI), Italy's state oil company, announced, on 5 November 1996, that it signed a deal in June 1996 to develop Libya's natural-gas resources and build a pipeline to Italy for an estimated $3 billion. (Wall Street Journal, 5 November 1996, p. A19).

On 1 January 1997 Libya sentenced to death six men accused of passing defense secrets to foreign governments. According to Egyptian experts, this case may be related to a military coup attempt in October 1993 (Financial Times, 2 January 1997, p. 2; International Herald Tribune, 3 January 1997, p. 3). And on 10 March 1997, in defiance of US efforts to isolate the Qadhafi regime internationally, the Vatican established full diplomatic relations with Libya to "recognize recent positive results in the area of religious freedom." (International Herald Tribune, 11 March 1997, p. 6). Again on 5 May 1997, a group of US senators led by Edward M. Kennedy urged US ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson to introduce a Security Council resolution for an oil embargo, calling it the only sanction likely to bring about Libyan compliance with UN demands (Journal of Commerce, 5 May 1997, p. 3A). Three days later, on 8 May 1997, Qadhafi violated UN sanctions by flying to Niger to meet President Ibrahim Barré Mainassara (Agence France-Presse, 13 May 1997; USA Today, 9 May 1997, p. 6A). And on 17 August 1997, four African leaders-the presidents of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Niger-issued a statement calling on the UN to look into the impact of economic sanctions on Libya. They met with Qadhafi and jointly called on each country to "develop their economic relations and reinforce the mechanisms of cooperation with the goal of reinforcing stability in the region." (Agence France-Presse, 17 August 1997). Furthermore, on 21 September 1997, in defiance of UN sanctions against Libya, the Arab League approved a resolution urging Arab countries to "take measures to alleviate the sanctions on Libya," including allowing Qadhafi to travel by plane to member states. The resolution also authorized humanitarian flights and encouraged member countries to release Libyan non-oil funds frozen in Arab banks (New York Times, 22 September 1997).

According to the Seattle Times of 19 October 1997, the Libyan government took the initiative to send letters to families of victims of Pan Am 103, urging them to accept a financial settlement and to oppose sanctions (Seattle Times, 19 October 1997, p. A17). Also despite US opposition, South African President Nelson Mandela traveled in October 1997 to Libya for a diplomatic visit; complying with UN flight ban, he flew to a border town and arrived by road. Mandela, who is grateful for Qadhafi's support in the fight against Apartheid, is the most influential visitor to Libya since the 1992 flight ban. He presented Qadhafi with South Africa's "Order of Good Hope", the country's highest award for a foreigner (Washington Post, 23 October 1997, p. A27; Washington Post, 30 October 1997, p. A30).

On 2 December 1997, the New York Times reported that a massive Libyan underground pipe project, the Great Man-Made River Project, could serve as a conduit for troops and military vehicles. The pipeline, made of pipes 13 feet in diameter, has large underground storage facilities every 50 or 60 miles and runs through a mountain where intelligence sources report Qadhafi is constructing a chemical and biological weapons plant (New York Times, 2 December 1997, A1).

On 26 February 1998 US District Judge Thomas Platt ruled that families of the victims of Pan Am 103 bombing can sue the Libyan government. Lawyers argued that frozen Libyan assets could be used to pay award damages to the families. The decision was appealed by Libya (Newsday, 4 March 1998, p. A28). In the following day, 27 February 1998, acting on Libya's March 1992 complaint, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that it has authority to decide whether Libya must surrender two of its citizens for trial over the Pan Am 103 bombing in 1988. The UK, France, and US had unsuccessfully argued against ICJ involvement, on the grounds that the UN Security Council's 1992 and 1993 resolutions precluded the court's involvement. Libya argued that under the 1971 Montreal Convention against aviation terrorism it is not required to extradite the two agents and has the right to try the suspects itself or send them to a neutral country for trial. Calling the ruling a victory, Libya claimed the UN sanctions should be declared null and void (New York Times, 28 February 1998, p. A4; Financial Times, 28 February 1998, p. 4). On 20 March 1998, at the request of the Libyan government, the UN Security Council held a debate on sanctions against Libya. In response to Libyan claims of injury, US Ambassador Richardson argued that "if Libya suffered economically, it is certainly not because of UN sanctions," and pointed out that UN sanctions "are targeted sanctions, imposed to address aspects of Libyan involvement in international terrorism, but specifically designed to prevent suffering among the Libyan people." (Agence France-Presse, 6 March 1998; US Information Service, 20 March 1998; Washington Post, 21 March 1998, p. A18).

Libya agreed, on 12 April 1998, to let Germany question its agents about a discotheque bombing that killed two US servicemen and a Turkish woman in 1986 (Washington Post, 12 April 1998, A20). And on 8 June 1998, the heads of state of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) called on African nations to suspend compliance with the UN air embargo on Libya for all religious, humanitarian, or OAU-related flights. The OAU also asserted that it will ignore all sanctions on Libya starting in September if the US and the UK have not agreed by then to try the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects in a third country. State Department spokesman James Rubin stated, "We are extremely disturbed by this short-sighted action, which constituted a direct assault on the authority of the Security Council" and called on OAU member states to ignore the OAU resolution (US Department of State, 10 June 1998; US Information Service, 12 June 1998).

On 24 August 1998 Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook unveiled a proposal to hold the trial of the two suspects in the Pan Am 103 bombing under Scottish law in a court in the Netherlands. If convicted, the suspects are to serve time in British prison. Albright stressed that the deal is a "take-it-or-leave-it proposition" and that the US will push for additional sanctions, including an oil embargo, if Libya refused the offer (Washington Post, 25 August 1998, pp. A1, A11; Financial Times, 25 August 1998, p. 5). The following day, 25 August 1998, the Arab League, Egypt, Sudan, and South African President Nelson Mandela expressed support for the US-UK proposal (Scotsman, 26 August 1998, p. 2; New York Times, 26 August 1998, p. A7).

The UN Security Council voted, on 27 August 1998, to suspend sanctions on Libya if Qadhafi extradited the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects for trial in The Hague and cooperated with the French investigation into the 1989 bombing of UTA Flight 772. The Security Council threatened additional measures if Libya does not surrender the suspects for trial. Libyan acceptance of the offer, however, will not necessarily end unilateral American sanctions (Agence France-Presse, 6 September 1998; US Information Service, 28 August 1998; Financial Times, 26 August 1998, p. 4; and 29-30 August 1998, p. 4; New York Times, 25 August 1998, p. A9)

On 27 August 1998, having accepted the proposal in principle a few days earlier, Qadhafi asked for a variety of guarantees to ensure fair treatment of the suspects before he will surrender them for trial in the Netherlands (Washington Post, 28 August 1998, A26). In September 1998, the presidents of Niger, Chad, Mali, Eritrea, and Sudan defied the UN air embargo and flew to Libya to celebrate anniversary of Qadhafi's accession to power in 1969 (Agence France-Presse, 6 September 1998). And on 29 September 1998, in a speech to the UN General Assembly, Libya's UN ambassador, Abuzeid Dorda, described the US-UK offer on the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects to be "honey with a dose of poison." Dorda demanded guarantees that the suspects will not be extradited to the US or the UK and that if convicted they would serve their sentences in a third country or in Libya (Washington Post, 27 October 1998, p. A16; Washington Post, 30 September 1998, p. A20). But, the American and British officials maintained that Libya's demand for the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects to serve any sentence outside the US and the UK is not acceptable. The US official said that "if Libya continues to press its demand, there can be no agreement." (Washington Post, 27 October 1998, p. A16).

On 5 December 1998 UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who met with Qadhafi in Libya to try to break the deadlock on transferring the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects; described their discussions as "fruitful and positive." (Washington Post, 6 December 1998, p. A35). At a memorial service marking the tenth anniversary of the Pan Am 103 bombing on 21 December 1998, President Clinton stated that if Libya does not surrender the suspects for trial before the UN reviews the sanctions against Libya in February, the US will press for harsher sanctions (New York Times, 30 January 1999, p. A3; US Information Service, 21 December 1998).

On 26 February 1999, the US and Britain reiterated that unless Qadhafi releases the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects for trial within 30 days, they will press for more sanctions in the UN Security Council. However, they failed to convince the Security Council to impose a precise deadline (New York Times, 27 February 1999, p. A3; Washington Post, 27 February 1999, p. A13). Finally after talks in Tripoli, South African President Nelson Mandela announced on 19 March 1999 that Libya agreed to hand over the suspects for trial on or before April 6, 1999 (Financial Times, 20-21 March 1999, p. 1).

The French Airliner Case. Although this case relates more to the Libyan-French relations, UTA 772 and Pan Am 103 became rather linked in a bizarre long tale of murdering innocent civilians in cold blood. On March 10, 1999, an anti-terrorism French court convicted Qadhafi's brother-in-law and five other Libyans in absentia and sentenced them to life in prison in the 1987 bombing of a French passenger jet. Libya had refused to hand over the suspects in the attack that killed 170 people, making the French trial largely symbolic.

UTA Flight 772, en route to Paris from Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, exploded over Niger, killing all the crew and passengers. The debris was scattered over 50 miles of the Tenere Desert. The six convicted included Abdallah Senoussi, a brother-in-law of the Libyan leader. At the time of the crash, Senoussi was the No. 2 man in Libya's intelligence agency.

Investigators who reconstructed the aircraft in Paris concluded that a suitcase loaded with explosives blew up in the baggage compartment. In 1992, as we have stated earlier, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Libya to try to force the North African nation to surrender suspects in the UTA bombing as well as two Libyans wanted in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.

The sanctions limit diplomatic contacts, prohibit arms sales and ban flights to and from Libya. France's top anti-terrorism judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, spent about eight years investigating the bombing of the French jet. In 1996, he traveled to Libya to question Libyan nationals whose names had been implicated in the probe, and was given a suitcase similar to the one thought to have been used in the explosion.

The other defendants convicted in absentia were Abdessalam Hammouda, Senoussi's top aide, suspected of supervising the attack from Tripoli, the Libyan capital; Abdallah Elazragh, a Libyan diplomat in Brazzaville suspected of giving the suitcase to a passenger; Ibrahim Naeli and Musbah Arbas, two suspected members of the Libyan secret service; and Abdessalam Shibani, the alleged buyer of detonators in Germany.

While refusing to hand over the suspects, Qadhafi said in 1996 he had no objection to them being tried in absentia and would be willing to pay damages to the victims' families.

While at the same time, on 5 April 1999, the two Pan Am 103 bombing suspects, 47-year-old Abed Basset Ali Al-Megrahi and 43-year-old Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, were delivered from Libya to The Hague for trial. Three Scottish judges will decide the case. If convicted, the men will serve their sentences in a Scottish jail under UN supervision. Britain reportedly assured Qadhafi that no witnesses would come from Libya and that all witnesses would have immunity from arrest. Britain also reportedly told Qadhafi that the evidence was only against Al-Megrahi and Fhimah, and not against higher members of the Libyan government. UN Secretary-General Annan announced that UN sanctions against Libya will be suspended, and can be lifted after 90 days. Annan gave Qadhafi assurances that a new resolution would be needed to reinstate the sanctions. The unilateral US sanctions, however, remained in force. State Department spokesman James Rubin said the US wants "additional concerns alleviated." (CNN.com, 5 April 1999; Wall Street Journal, 6 April 1999, p. A28; Financial Times, 15 February 1999, p. 1; 6 April 1999, 12; 7 April 1999, p. 11).

On 29 April, 1999 Reuters reported that the United States, in a major shift, will ease its sanctions policy to permit food and medicine sales to Libya, Iran and Sudan so these items are not used as a foreign policy "weapon'', officials said. The decision -- long sought by farm state members of Congress and businesses -- would permit case-by-case consideration of food and medicine sales to Libya, Iran and Sudan rather than banning them outright, American officials said.

On the same day Qadhafi said the recent hand over of two Lockerbie bombing suspects could lead to direct talks with the United States and Britain, a Saudi Arabian newspaper reported on 29 April 1999. Qadhafi was speaking in an interview published in the Saudi Okadh newspaper. Asked if the recent hand over of the Libyan suspects would lead to talks with the United States and Britain, Qadhafi said this had been agreed with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

On 30 April, 1999, former White House officials John Poindexter and Oliver North are among nine Americans named in a Libyan indictment related to the 1986 bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi that was released at the United Nations. A 17-page letter by Libyan United Nations representative Abuzeid Dorda was circulated as a UN document to coincide with the 13th anniversary of the US raid. President Ronald Reagan, who was not among those indicted, ordered the attack on April 15, 1986, in retaliation for Libya's alleged involvement in the bombing of a West Berlin discotheque that killed two people, including a US serviceman.

The Pan Am 103 Trial Preliminaries. Due to the importance of the Pan Am 103 case, the following is a brief review of the development before, during and after the trial. The United States and the United Kingdom rejected 1993 and 1994 Libyan offers to send the two men to the Arab League or a neutral site for trial, such as Egypt, Switzerland, or the Netherlands. In August 1994, Libya accepted a proposal offered by an Edinburgh law professor that the two be tried at The Hague by Scottish judges following Scottish procedures and law. On August 24, 1998, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the families of some victims accepted the Libyan offer for a trial in The Hague under Scottish law. Libya reconfirmed its agreement on August 26.

After extensive negotiations, which at times included Egyptian, Saudi, South African, and other national leaders, UN Secretary-General Kufi Annan delivered assurances to Libya on February 17, 1999, that the trial would be limited to the two suspects and would not address the issue of Libyan government involvement, that the two suspects would not be interrogated by British or American authorities, and that the two men, if convicted, would serve their terms in Scottish jails under UN monitoring. (The assurances were reported in the press; Secretary-General Annan's letter was not released to the public until August 25, 2000.) Some people representing the victims apparently believed that the letter proved their contention that the United States, Britain, and Libya struck a deal to limit the trial to the two men, which in turn amounted to granting immunity for Qadhafi and the government of Libya.

Libya accepted the assurances, and the two men were transferred to the Netherlands for trial on April 5, 1999. The same day, the United Nations suspended, but did not drop, the sanctions against Libya pending Libyan cooperation with the court. The Secretary-General reported on June 30, 1999, that Libya was cooperating but did not recommend permanently dropping the sanctions. On December 9, 1999, the Judge ruled against a defense motion to drop the murder conspiracy charge because the alleged conspiracy did not take place in Scotland. The judge ruled that the conspiracy existed despite national borders. The two defendants pleaded not guilty on February 3, 2000. The judge granted a defense motion to delay the trial and set the trial date for May 3, 2000. On April 25, 2000, the judge denied a prosecution request for delay of several weeks to allow time to investigate the list of 119 witnesses presented by the defense.

The Trial. The trial began on May 3, 2000, before a three-judge panel, and no jury. A fourth judge attended in case one judge became incapacitated. Under Scottish law, the judges may find the defendants guilty, not guilty, or not proven, the last a verdict that frees the defendants without declaring them innocent. Camp Zeist, a former US military base south of Amsterdam was declared temporary Scottish territory while the trial was in progress, and 200 Scottish policemen guarded the site. Counsel represented each of the defendants, and there were two prosecutors, the Lord Advocate and the Senior Counsel. The trial was conducted in English with Arabic translations for the defendants. The trial was televised to remote locations in Scotland, London, New York, and Washington, where victims' families followed the proceedings.

In September 2000, the defense attacked the credibility of prosecution witness Abd al-Majid Giaka, a former Libyan intelligence agent who also worked for the CIA, who claimed that he saw the defendants with explosives and a suitcase at the Malta airport. In mid-October, the prosecution turned over to the defense evidence that reportedly implicated the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) in the Pan Am 103 bombing. The defense, which has maintained since the trial began that the PFLP-GC was behind the bombing, asked for and received a delay in the trial to study the new evidence. On November 20, the prosecution rested its case, after 232 witnesses and 72 days of testimony. The court rejected a defense plea that there was no case to answer on November 28 and recessed the trial until January 2001.

The trial resumed on January 4, 2001, but the defense rested after only three days of testimony and three witnesses. Apparently, the defense, making a huge error, believed that the three judges would determine that the prosecution had not presented a convincing case. In the opening argument on January 9, 2001, the prosecution asked that only the murder charge be considered and that the other charges be dropped. The defense began closing arguments on January 11 and completed its arguments on January 18. On January 31, 2001, the three judges declared Al-Megrahi guilty, and Fhimah not guilty. Fhimah left the court immediately to return to Libya.

After receiving two extensions, Al-Megrahi filed an appeal on June 10, 2001 that was accepted by a judge in chambers. The prosecution does not have the right to appeal the Fhimah not guilty verdict. Al-Megrahi's appeal, heard by a five-judge panel, began in the Netherlands on January 24, 2002. On February 6, 2002, the five judges agreed to hear new witnesses concerning allegations that someone broke into Heathrow Airport prior to Pan Am flight 103 and could have placed a bomb on board the aircraft. On March 14, 2002, the five judges rejected the appeal, and Al-Megrahi was transferred to a Scottish prison where he will serve his life sentence.

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said "the United States government welcomes the decision of the Scottish High Court sitting in the Netherlands to uphold the conviction of Al-Megrahi" for the bombing of the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 that crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland. "This decision affirming the conviction of a Libyan agent for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 represents a vindication of efforts by successive United States administrations. It also underlines the unshakable determination of the United States not to forget, but to hold terrorists accountable for their acts."

Fleischer also said that the government of Libya should now move quickly to satisfy its remaining obligations under UN Security Council resolutions related to the bombing. The government of Libya, he said, needs "to pay all appropriate compensation to the families. They are in discussions with the lawyers for the families. That's the appropriate mechanism for the determination of the level of payment to be arrived at. They have to acknowledge responsibility in this matter, and to pay the reparations as negotiated. Those are the obligations that they have to fulfill under the United Nations Security Council resolutions."

It is worth noting that in September 1999 - The European Union decided to lift the sanctions imposed against Libya in 1992 in connection with the Lockerbie bombing, further tightened in 1986 on the allegation that Tripoli was supporting terrorism. The decision was unanimously adopted in Brussels by the foreign ministers of the 15-member EU countries, which said the embargo on arms sales to Libya was maintained. The other sanctions included restrictions on the movement of Libyan diplomatic and consular staff, reduction of staff in Libyan diplomatic and consular missions, as well as restrictive provisions on the delivery of visas to Libyan nationals. The decision followed a report by UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, on the Libya's decision to renounce terrorism and respect UN resolutions. The EU is to propose to other partners in the Euro- Mediterranean process in Barcelona that Libya be admitted as a full member of the process, which is the mechanism for co- operation between European and the Mediterranean countries.

It is estimated that the Lockerbie trial cost about $80 million, lasted 85 days, recorded over 10,000 pages of testimony, and heard 235 witnesses, only three of whom were called by the defense. The appeals process has cost an additional $38 million, beginning in January 2001. The families of the Pan Am 103 victims filed civil suits against Libya, and the United States and the United Kingdom will continue to seek compensation for the victims.

A Final Concluding Thought. After Bin Laden's horrific attacks on America on 9/11/2001, Qadhafi has offered intelligence information to the CIA and British secret services. He attempted to capitalize on the tragedy to project himself as a fighter against extremism and tried to use it to tarnish some Libyan opposition figures abroad. Fearing similar developments to those against Saddam Hussein of Iraq, the regime's rhetoric has turned milder and Qadhafi is slowly walking the fine line between a complete capitulation to the US and the West and his own political survival as the leader-for-life to the "Great Jamahiryah"! Is this change temporary or permanent? Only time could tell.

March 12, 2003
rahim@enter.net


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