The Lockerbie case has entered the beginning of its final phase. This stage will begin with a meeting in London on Thursday, June 6, between representatives from Libya, America and Britain. American sources were quoted as saying that this meeting will be decisive and may be the last chance for the Libyan authorities to settle the issue once and for all.
The meeting was preceded – as usual – with the leaking of conflicting information about the positions of the negotiating parties. The Libyan authorities leaked through the lawyers of the families of the victims an offer conditional on their willingness to pay blood money of two billion seven hundred million (2.7 billion) dollars to compensate the stricken families. This was followed by official statements that the Libyan state had nothing to do with the matter, and that the amount was donated by a team of Libyan businessmen!! Spokespersons for the families of the victims responded that the Libyan offer is rejected (that is, it should at least be doubled!) and that what is required is to determine who is responsible for the crime first, and then just compensation (!!) without conditions or restrictions.
The US authorities responded by insisting that the basic condition for any settlement – in addition to compensating the families of the victims – is that the Libyan authorities officially acknowledge full responsibility for what happened in Lockerbie on the night of December 22, 1988.
The statements issued by the Libyan officials are of no value. No one in all the spaces of the globe – but the spaces of the entire vast universe – believes what they say. Despite all the concessions and attempts to whiten the face in front of the White House, the credibility of the Libyan state abroad is zero, and there are still doubts about its support for terrorism and its possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Moreover, the Libyan state admitted its responsibility from the moment Colonel Muammar Gaddafi decided to hand over Al-Megrahi and Fahima for trial in the Netherlands. The role of Libyan officials at every stage of the case is documented and known. If these statements are for domestic consumption, then the Libyan officials should know that their results are completely counterproductive and will only increase the Libyans’ anger and grief. Last year, Libyan officials (Libya’s ambassador in London and Libya’s representative to the United Nations, for example) acknowledged what international law expressly states that “a state bears responsibility for the actions of its nationals and officials.”
The important element that Libyan officials must be aware of is that the issue has two sides: a humanitarian aspect concerning the families of the victims, and a political aspect concerning the relationship between the Libyan state on the one hand and America, Britain and the United Nations on the other.
The families of the victims either reject the principle of financial compensation in the first place, or insist on greater compensation and an official recognition from Libya of responsibility for the crime. The problem is that the acknowledgment will open to Colonel Gaddafi personally and the Libyan state new doors of legal prosecutions in America in particular and elsewhere, whose intensity or results cannot be predicted!! Without this acknowledgment, the families of the victims – or the majority of them – will not accept compensation. Unless the families accept the compensation, the American authorities – and to some extent the British – will not be able to bypass them and reconcile with the Libyan regime on the terms included in its last offer.
And we should not forget that while United Nations resolutions stipulate compensation as a prerequisite for lifting the international embargo on Libya, and stipulate that Libya renounce its support for terrorism and its recognition of responsibility for the bombing, they do not refer to US sanctions at all. Lifting these penalties is subject to the consent of the families of the victims!! Thus, the issue returns to ground zero again, which is the position of the families of the victims, most of whom are Americans.
These days, the US administration is intensifying its pressure to compel the Libyan regime to reveal all its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological weapons. This is another stick that America is making famous in the face of Colonel Gaddafi, a settling of scores and a settlement of the outstanding loopholes.
The position of the colonel here is not very different from that of his brother, the fighter Yasser Arafat (with the main difference that Abu Ammar faces live bullets as well). Both are trapped. And each of them is required to give up his constants and take off his clothes piece by piece until his flaws are revealed and he appears transparent in front of everyone.. Otherwise!! Perhaps the margin of maneuver available to President Arafat was greater than that available to Colonel Gaddafi.
Here, we cannot but repeat what we have already mentioned before, which is that what is required of officials in Libya today is a clear and courageous stance in which they confront their mistakes and acknowledge responsibility for them, and show their readiness to correct what can be corrected from them. Then they have to present the people directly involved in those abuses and violations to face the judiciary and bear the responsibility of their actions.
Since the regime is ready to reconcile with the outside world, is it not better for it to reconcile with the Libyans inside Libya? And if the blood of the Americans, the English, the French, and everyone who has a horse and a bear has a value, is the blood of Libyans not worth anything in the standards of officials in Libya? Or is the blood of foreigners more honorable, purer and more precious than the blood of the sons of the homeland?
Thirty-three years of experiences and changes.
When will this revolution be completed? When does the incitement and physical liquidations end? When does the role of the revolutionary committees and the stage of protecting the revolution end? When will all political prisoners be released and the fate of those who have disappeared or who have no news of them be revealed?
When does stabilization begin? When will the real work begin to build the state and its institutions, establish infrastructure, and set long-term plans and projects? When does building generations and establishing the future begin?
These are urgent questions and issues for the regime that need to be confronted and addressed with wisdom, realism, fairness and a lot of courage. The American file is not the only file that needs a settlement.
Reconciliation with America is not the only sure way out of the predicament experienced by Al-Aqeed’s Jamahiriya.