As investigators search the western Pacific Ocean for signs of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, a new documentary is set to air Tuesday evening on Al-Jazeera in which an Iranian defector blames Iran for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The defector, Abolghasem Mesbahi, is considered highly credible: his evidence proved Iran was responsible for the bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina in 1994.
For many years, the Libyan regime of Muammar Gadhafi was blamed for the Lockerbie bombing, and Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted by a Scottish court for having placed the explosives on the aircraft. He was released in 2009 on humanitarian grounds, without much objection from the Obama administration, ostensibly because he was dying of cancer. He received a hero’s welcome on his arrival and lived until 2012.
Now, as David Horovitz of the Times of Israel argues, “ever larger leaps of faith have been required to sustain the credibility of Megrahi’s conviction.” Horovitz notes that the Lockerbie bombing was suspected of having been carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, and was intended to take place over the Atlantic Ocean, where the wreckage of the flight would have been far harder to retrieve.
The eerie parallels of the Lockerbie bombing to the mysterious explosion of TWA fight 800 in 1996, and to the ongoing Malaysia 370 disaster, raise questions about whether there might be some common cause among the three. Iran remains a terror threat, and was caught only last week smuggling dozens of advanced Syrian surface-to-surface missiles to Palestinian terrorists. The Al-Jazeera documentary will raise new and timely questions.