In whilst Fhimah was found not guilty of the

In this essay I will
explore the Scottish Governments decision in 2009 to release the Lockerbie
bomber from prison on compassionate grounds. I will juxtapose the insights of
Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) and different faces of power involved
throughout the case and show how these two theories offer different insights on
Scotland’s decision. I argue that IGR is essential in the case of the Lockerbie
Bomber and is complimented by Steven Luke’s three faces of power and highlights
the power struggle that occurs between different governments. After explaining
the Lockerbie bomber case I will engage with the two theories in turn, firstly
IGR and then the three faces of power, focusing on the concepts within these theories
that are useful in developing an understanding of this specific policy development.
Then I will further develop my argument and provide a brief conclusion. In this
essay I am particularly focusing on the way the different governments
interacted with each other and not solely on the actions that lead to the
decision to release the Lockerbie bomber in 2009.

On the 21st of
December 1988 a flight from London to New York exploded 31,000 feet over the
town of Lockerbie in Southwestern Scotland and killed 259 passengers on board
the flight as well as 11 people on the ground (BBC, 2015). United States and
British investigators found fragments of a circuit board and a timer and ruled
that it was a bomb and not a mechanical fault that had caused this explosion
(CNN, 2017), after this two Libyans, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifah
Fhimah, were tried for the bombing in Scottish Court Camp Zeist in the
Netherlands but on the 31st of January 2001 Al Megrahi was found
guilty and sentenced to a minimum of 27 years in prison whilst Fhimah was found
not guilty of the bombing. The agreement to try the two suspects required
approval from the UK, US and Libya as the bombing mainly involved victims from
the UK and US, this is mainly where IGR comes into play as three different
governments had to agree with each other on when and where to try these
suspects as well as the decision to try them in the first place. There is
thought to be four main decision points in the case between 2007 and 2009 in
the lead up to the release of Al Megrahi. On May 30th ,2007 the UK
government signed a memorandum of understanding with Libya, on November 17th,
2008 the UK government signed a Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Libya, the
Scottish Government rejects the transfer of Megrahi on August 19th,
2009 and they also decide to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds on the
same date (Kenealy, 2017). Megrahi was released from his prison cell in
Scotland as he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and it was implied that he
had very little time left to live, and he should be able to spend it with his
family in his own home, but it wasn’t until May 20th, 2012 that Al
Megrahi died.

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Relations can be explained simply as two or more governments or different
levels of the same government and how they interact with each other. According
to Kenealy (2017, pp.413-414) between June 2007 and August 2009 the UK,
Scottish, Libyan and US government were intertwined in a complicated diplomatic
process, this shows the continued use and possibly the bulk of when IGR was
crucial to the Lockerbie case. It was imperative for the four different
governments to work closely together to try and get the best result for this
case, many UK and US citizens had been killed including 11 on ground at the
crash site in Lockerbie. Libya had to agree to allow the suspects to be tried
in a Scottish court and held in a Scottish prison if found guilty as well as
compensate the victim’s families, otherwise they may have faced a severe
backlash. As well as this when the UK government signed a memorandum of
understanding with Libya in 2007 in which the Scottish government had not been
consulted in which highlights an instance where IGR did not work as it was
intended to and the different governments were not working well together. A
memorandum of understanding is a formal agreement between two or more parties
and is not legally binding, but it does carry a degree of seriousness and
mutual respect (Rouse n.d.). The UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Libyan
leader Colonel Gaddafi created the memorandum on prisoner transfer on May 29th,
2007 whilst Blair was on a trip to Libya but despite this it has been said that
‘at no stage’ was the Scottish government made aware of this memorandum (BBC,
2007). This is viewed to be the biggest point throughout the whole case where
IGR did not work well, and the governments were not working together as they
should’ve been which links into Steven Luke’s second face of power and verges
on his third against the Scottish government which will be discussed further
later in this essay. Kenealy states that from that point on, however, IGR were
better (2017, pp.420) and the remaining three decisions relied heavily on the
different governments working well together to finally close this case. The
prisoner transfer agreement was signed by the UK government with Libya on
November 17th, 2008. The UK government was involved in trying to
establish closer connections with Libya as an aim of their foreign policy and
rehabilitate Gaddafi whilst also negotiating with Scotland where the bombing
had happened and Al Megrahi was being held in prison. The Great Socialist
People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya wishes to refer to the treaty on the transfer
of prisoners signed with the United Kingdom on the 17th November 2008 (Alobidi,
2009). This shows that because of the agreement signed by the UK government the
Scottish government had to considered transferring Megrahi to a prison in his
home town, however on August 19th, 2009 the Scottish government
rejected the transfer despite IGR being used to make an agreement between the
UK and Libyan governments. IGR were used throughout the Lockerbie bomber case,
but it worked better at certain points in the case than others. The UK
government made agreements with Gaddafi and the Libyan government without the
consultation of the Scottish government which would have been essential to keep
good relations and the trust between the UK and Scottish governments, However,
whilst the negotiations for the prisoner transfer agreement were underway the
communications and information sharing between the UK and Scottish government
had improved greatly.

IGR helps greatly in the
understanding of how different governments communicated during the Lockerbie
case and how it is essential for governments to communicate and share
information, especially in the aftermath of a case that effected many different
countries. To further understand how the governments communicated it is also
useful to look at Steven Luke’s three faces of power and how these complement the
decisions made by each individual government and the actions taken by them that
lead to the eventual release of the Lockerbie bomber. Bachrach and Baratz’s
simple definition of power (1970, cited in Kenealy 2017) states power as a
concept is a close relative of concepts such as ‘influence’, ‘manipulation’,
‘force’ and ‘authority’. Each of these concepts can be seen to at least some
degree throughout the communications of the governments in the Lockerbie case,
predominantly between the UK government and the Scottish and Libyan
governments. At a simple level the first face of power, which is described as
when it can be seen clearly who has the power and where the decisions are being
made, can be seen at the start of the case. The suspects were tried under
Scottish law and letters were exchanged between the UK and US governments
agreeing that Al Megrahi and Khalifa Fhimah would serve their sentences in the
UK if they were found guilty. This decision was made and documented and it was
clear the it was the UK and US government that had the power to decide where
the suspects would serve their time in prison if found guilty. In this case we
can also see the UK government assert the second face of power as described by
Steven Luke’s against the Scottish government when they signed the memorandum
of understanding with Libya. The second face of power can be described as the
‘closed’ face or agenda setting and Luke’s’ said you have real power if you can
set the agenda. This is because you can decide what will be argued about,
therefore dictating the situation (Cook, 2011). Al Megrahi was held in
Barlinnie, a Scottish prison in Glasgow as it was a town in Scotland that he bombed,
and this therefore left the decision of whether to release him from his
Scottish prison cell or not down to the Scottish government. However, on May
30th, 2007 the UK government signed a memorandum of understanding with the
Libyan government whilst Tony Blair was on a visit to the country. The UK
government did not share this information with the Scottish government and as
it was never discussed the Scottish government never had a chance to stop this
happening. If the first and most open face of power had been used throughout
between governments relationships would have been stronger and a foundation of
trust would have been built. IGR and power work together hand in hand within
the case of the Lockerbie bomber, it was essential for the governments to work
with each other, but a power struggle will always exist to some degree when
governments from different countries must work together.

Policy development can be understood by looking at the Lockerbie bombing
case study through the insight of IGR and the different faces of power. IGR was
able to help in the understanding of this case as it provided an ability to
view how the different governments involved interacted and communicated with
each other. It also shows how the outcome of the case may have been completely
different had it been other countries involved as the actions taken would not
have matched those of the UK, Scottish, Libyan and US governments. IGR worked
better at some points during this case and despite continued calls for, and
promises to, revisit the functioning of IGR, very little has changed (Kenealy,
2017). Understanding the concept of power also helps in this case study as it
allows the power struggle between governments to be viewed and shows when they
worked well together in communicating and making decisions they all agreed on. If
only the first face of power had been used throughout the case, then it would
have been clear to each government involved what was happening at all points
and information would have been shared continuously. Al Megrahi was detained in
a Scottish prison and ultimately the decision of whether to release him or not
lay with the Scottish government. On August 19th, 2009 the Scottish
government decided to release Al Megrahi on compassionate grounds as he had
been diagnosed with terminal cancer. However, it is possible that the Scottish
governments decision was influenced by the UK and Libyan government. Megrahi
didn’t die from his disease until 2012 meaning he lived much longer than it had
been portrayed he would. The use of more closed faces of power and governments
trying to operate individually rather than together resulted in worsened
relations and failed attempts at using IGR effectively. It also means that the
public have no way of knowing exactly what happened during the Lockerbie bomber
case. IGR and Luke’s faces of power assist the understanding of policy
development through the Lockerbie case but it not possible to fully understand
the case and the relations between the governments without being directly
involved with the case. IGR has the potential to function better than it did
throughout this case study and closed faces of power are hard to view from the
outside. Throughout the Lockerbie case they worked well to aid understanding
and complement each other.