(Adds British reaction, changes
LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Britain denied on Wednesday it was hatching a deal to free the Libyan agent convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, after the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said he was confident of his early return.
Saif al-Islam told French newspaper Le Monde there was a link between the case of the jailed agent, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, and Libya's freeing last month of six foreign medics convicted of deliberately infecting Libyan children with HIV.
"We will soon have an extradition agreement with
"Any decision on Mr Megrahi would be a matter for the Scottish courts and the Scottish authorities. There is no deal being done," the spokesman said.
Megrahi was found guilty in 2001 of the bombing of a Pan Am flight
over the Scottish town of
Gaddafi's son Islam told Reuters in an interview earlier
this week that
I find this well informed analysis of Gaddafi entirely credible, and a real rapprochement devoutly to be hoped for.
If the 2nd appeal does overturn Megrahi's verdict then George W. might see the possibilities for peaceful progress.
Another aspect of Gaddafi's adaptability
may be over water. He invested unimaginable sums in the '
There are rumours
that the reservoir will not provide supplies for all that long, at projected
rates of use, besides, some of the reservoir is probably under
By Benjamin R. Barber
But the real drama is not in Sarkozy's agile grandstanding (the French did get a lucrative arms deal) or in the protracted negotiations involving Bulgaria, the European Commission and Gaddafi's gifted son, Saif al-Islam. Rather, the release points to deep changes in the Libyan regime that began in 2003, when Libya gave up its nuclear program voluntarily, and that continue today with gradual shifts in Libyan governance, its economy and civil society that have been largely ignored by the West.
The real architect of the release was
I say this from experience. In several one-on-one
conversations over the past year, Gaddafi repeatedly told me that
In all my public and private conversations with Gaddafi,
including a roundtable moderated by David Frost and televised by BBC
in March during which Gaddafi responded to unrehearsed questions, Gaddafi
acknowledged his history of enmity with the West and did not deny
This isn't mere bluster. Gaddafi has taken grave risks in the name of change: offending the Benghazi clans that engineered the nurses' arrest; giving up his nuclear program while rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea use theirs to blackmail the West; holding open conversations over the past year with Western intellectuals, not just progressives such as Robert Putnam of Harvard and me but neocon pundit Francis Fukuyama and the tough New Democrat defense expert Joseph N. Nye. Moreover, in seeking to modify the banking industry and economy, he has rattled the existing elite who benefit from the status quo.
Surprisingly flexible and pragmatic, Gaddafi was once an
ardent socialist who now acknowledges private property and capital as sometimes
appropriate elements in developing societies. Once an opponent of
representative central government, he is wrestling with the need to delegate
substantial authority to competent public officials if
Such a thought may seem absurd to Western observers who remember only Gaddafi's insurgent past and the heinous terrorist act over Lockerbie. Yet Gaddafi also wrote a direct democratic manifesto ("The Green Book") in the 1970s and convened hundreds of "People's Conferences" where women and men have met regularly for the past 30 years. Have they wielded much actual power? No. Could they be built upon? Yes.
Completely off the radar, without spending a dollar or
posting a single soldier, the
Cynics will disregard all this; but after
Benjamin R. Barber, the author of "Jihad vs. McWorld" and "Consumed," is a senior fellow at Demos, a New York-based think tank focused on the theory and practice of democracy.
Dr Jim Swire (firstname.lastname@example.org)