Thursday, 15 July 2010

Lockerbie bomber major source of irritation for Britain and US

The question of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, has again surfaced as a major source of irritation between the Americans and the British. In brief, al-Megrahi has lived almost a year since his original August 2009 liberation from jail in Scotland, when the prognosis was that he would die in the immediate future – i.e. within three months.

In early July 2010, a group of US senators demanded that there should be an investigation into whether al-Megrahi was rightfully released, given the awful death toll of 270 on PanAm flight 103 in 1988. The senators are eager to have al-Megrahi retained under prison conditions rather than enjoy the fruits of his association with the regime in a mansion in Tripoli.

This division of opinion will not help Libya, as continuing discontent in the US on this issue will prolong the period of antagonism between Tripoli and Washington.

The security situation is reported by diplomatic sources in Libya to be well under control. The scale of the arms acquisitions from Russia and parts of the former eastern bloc indicate that the mobile, armoured forces are being reinforced with equipment designed more for control of domestic circumstances rather than to counter the threat of foreign invasion.

It must be assumed that armaments at the disposal of the Security Brigades will remain at a higher standard than the renovated tanks and associated weaponry currently being imported. There are no challenges from abroad where the opposition is quiet and, as long as Colonel Qadhafi remains active, the domestic scene will also be under rigid control.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politcs & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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