Closing in on Kadafi


Libya's Muammar el Kadafi has been warned. The U.N. Security Council has told Libya to comply with U.S. and British attempts to try two Libyan intelligence operatives for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Scotland that took 270 lives, as well as with French arrest warrants for four more in the 1989 bombing of a French airliner in Africa. The last time a tin pot dictator of a small nation thumbed his nose at the U.N. -- his name was Saddam Hussein -- the U.S. smart-bombed and dumb-bombed Baghdad. World relationships have not been the same since.

Of course, the U.N. would start with economic sanctions. Libya sells oil to Europe, especially Italy but also Germany and Spain. Right now the world is awash in oil. Ordinarily, oil boycotts don't work, but if the U.N. (and Britain, France and the U.S.) told those nations to find their oil elsewhere, they probably could do so without undo expense and therefore might well comply.

But it should not come to that. The world is closing in on state-sponsored terrorism. The old Eastern European training and sanctuary no longer applies. The terrorists better hoard their supplies of Semtex, because the Czechs swear they've taken the explosive off the market. Now the Security Council -- the organ of the U.N. that can take action -- is moving in on the problem. That's a historic change, because the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China all agree and have stopped tripping each other up with vetoes.

Compliance would go against the grain of everything Colonel Kadafi stands for. But he is probably going to give these fellows up -- and then call them liars when they say he ordered them to do it. The terrorism game isn't what it used to be.

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