The move may bring Ghaddafi closer to a victory -- he managed to get the U.S. and Britain to back down on the demand that they try the suspects, and to agree to lift U.N. sanctions once the accused arrive in the Netherlands. But it's also a victory for the families of the 270 people who died in the attack -- 10 years later, they're closer than ever to having their day in court.
Muammar Ghaddafi is nothing if not inscrutable. On Monday, Britain and the U.S. thought they'd called the Libyan's bluff by agreeing to hold the trial of the accused Pan Am 103 bombers in the Netherlands. On Wednesday, Ghaddafi surprised them by agreeing not to block attempts to extradite Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah. Prosecutors will now have to persuade Libyan courts that there is sufficient evidence to warrant extradition. "The U.S. thought the offer would call Ghaddafi's bluff because once on trial, the Libyan agents could implicate their leader," says TIME intelligence correspondent Douglas Waller. "Washington wasn't expecting this."