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I think the EU is trying to exert soft power over Qaddafi, but I don't know how responsive will a leader like him be to such a strategy.

What I forgot to mention is that personally I believe that Qaddafi won't allow the deaths of these nurses unless he totally loses his marbles. They appear to be such a good bargaining tool, don't they? The Colonel is in a rather intricate situation himself - if he allows the death of the nurses, Libya will be largely shut off from international affairs; on the other hand, if he sets them free, he risks popular unrest. He probably chose the best option for himself by simply procrastinating the trial for years to go. In that light, I don't think the problem will be resolved soon unless some radical change in the pressures and attitudes occurs.

by Navaros (pshipkov@@gmail.com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 07:54:57 AM EST
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Like I said, commuting the sentence to life in prison is an easy out for him. It buys time for everyone involved.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 08:00:53 AM EST
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If Qaddafi sets the nurses and the doctor free, he not only risks spontaneous riots, but on the longer term, a loss of popular respect for/trust in both his judiciary and the medical services. This would be bad for him -- and bad for his bureaucracy, to make the picture depend on more than one person.

So either he finds a face-saving alternative, and the EU recognises it, doesn't bar it for him and presses him in that direction, or only a much much stronger confrontation would work (which the EU may not be up to even on the level of capabilities).

At any rate, on a broader view, getting off oil and gas is not only a question of climate change but moral politics.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2007 at 08:07:42 AM EST
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