Oil trumps security for U.S. in Libya?

March 15, 2011 at 9:51 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- Washington sends a message that Americans are "oil-sucking hypocrites" without backing a no-fly zone over Libya, families of Lockerbie bombing victims say.

U.S. President Barack Obama said last week Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is on the "wrong side of history." Pentagon officials and top U.S. lawmakers are reluctant to back a no-fly zone for Libya, however, equating it to an act of war.

Family members of the victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 said oil companies have invested billions of dollars in Libya since U.S. sanctions were lifted five years ago.

"Oil interests therefore have a financial interest to let Gadhafi stay in power," they claim.

Former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted for the 1988 bombing, was released by Scottish officials in August 2009 on compassionate grounds because of a terminal prostate cancer diagnosis. Critics claim his release was tied to oil exploration plans for Libya.

The Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie group notes that a no-fly zone over southern Iraq in 1991 could have avoided the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. U.S. stonewalling, they say, sends a message to the world that Americans put oil before international security.

"If the U.S. does not act and Gadhafi wins, the U.S. will have restored an old enemy and sent a message to all democratic forces in oppressive regimes that we are indeed feckless, unreliable, oil sucking hypocrites," stated Paul Hudson, father of a Lockerbie victim and co-president of the Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie.

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