Posturing Over Lockerbie

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WASHINGTON: The U.S. has offered Muammar Ghaddafi nearly everything he asked for: The two suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland, if handed over by Libya, would be tried in a third-party country -- the Netherlands -- and by Scottish judges. But the U.S. isn't expecting Ghaddafi to accept. "This all may be for show," says TIME Washington correspondent Douglas Waller. "Ghaddafi must have ordered the bombings -- there are no rogue agents in Libya -- and it's hardly likely that he'll turn over two of his lieutenants."

So why bother bargaining? As Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Monday, the proposal is "a way to call the Libyan government's bluff," whether or not it results in a trial. "The U.S. is being pragmatic," says Waller. "If Ghaddafi accepts, then this is the best justice the U.S. -- and the victims' families -- are going to get. If not, the U.S. will use his refusal as fodder to convince the U.N. Security Council to keep the sanctions on."