The UN 'extradition' resolution may be disguising the US's agenda
IN November 1991, the United States and Great Britain each requested that Libya extradite two Libyan officials accused of involvement in the bombing in 1988 of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. France requested Libyan cooperation in investigating a similar 1989 attack on UTA Flight 772, a French civil aircraft in Africa. The Libyans refused the requests, asking the three countries to cooperate instead in Libyan investigations and offering to submit the legal issues to the World Court in the Hag ue to determine Libya's obligations.
The US, Britain, and France ignored that response and instead referred the matter to the United Nations Security Council. The Security Council, on Jan. 21, adopted Resolution 731. The wording of the resolution departs so far from what the United States, Britain, and France are reported to have wanted that current public statements and press accounts reporting an American diplomatic triumph and UN pressures on Libya seem incomprehensible.
In the Arab world the rumor is that the new pressure on Libya is part of a bargain. In return for token Syrian troops and Iranian neutrality in the Gulf war against Iraq, and for their help in freeing the Western hostages that had been held by their client militias in Lebanon, President Hafez al-Assad of Syria and the mullahs of Iran are absolved of responsibility for the two bombings. American embargoes against Syria and Iran as states that support "terrorism" must then be removed. In the Arab world, Sy ria and Iran gain as outwitting the West, and Colonel Muammar Qaddafi is demeaned.
An equally plausible, or implausible, suggestion is that the US and its two European friends are seeking a legal basis for some military strike at Libya that might help an incumbent president or prime minister nearing election time. Creating a legal basis for military action might be significant in holding down the outrage that would otherwise be expected from people who prefer the long-range political advantage of legality and moral stature in their leaders to the spasmodic use of military power.