Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bearpark, Brand, and Kerik, again

Back in December, 2004 this blog was after the details of Bernie Kerik's brief, mouvementé tour of duty in Iraq. We discovered that, essentially, he did nothing constructive, posed with South African mercs, and vanished into the distance after the first big carbombs, leaving the mess to DCC Douglas Brand of South Yorkshire Police and a couple of MOD Plod volunteers to clean up.

A little more information trickled out this week in a Grauniad story by Patrick "Unseasonably Mild" Wintour. It seems that he had a chat with Andrew Bearpark, the British civil servant who was the CPA's Operations Director, having once been Margaret Thatcher's private secretary. Bearpark strongly criticised the US leadership of the CPA, and bears out the account in that post of Kerik's departure and Brand's elevation.

Namely, Doug Brand was summoned from the job of policing Sheffield to replace Kerik as chief police advisor for all of Iraq, but the US refused to accept this and insisted on limiting his role to one CPA region (North), a job in which he was the only policeman in Iraq who didn't carry a gun. I do, however, slightly doubt Bearpark and Sir Jeremy Greenstock's accounts of events at the CPA. After all, they must have been responsible for something, and..well...he worked for Maggie Thatcher, which does sound a tad like the Heritage Foundation selection process for US CPA men. This may be a little unfair, actually - he was Paddy Ashdown's No.2 in Bosnia as well, and he's a proper civil servant rather than a spad.

It is true, though, that various US panjandrums have regretted that "two of the finest civil servants I have encountered...were not brought into full participation by the American side.

2 comments:

dd said...

Bearpark's version of events is pretty much exactly consistent with Andrew Alderson's book "Bankrolling Basra", about his experiences as financial controller of CPA South. In particular, the Americans trying to keep tight political control over everything and sidelining anyone who wasn't a member of the Republican Party.

Dan Hardie said...

You are being unfair to Bearpark, and the standard of research in this post is unimpressive. Most of Bearpark's career (well over 20 years) was with the old Overseas Development Agency, which became DfID- he is a development specialist, and his familiarity with how policy is made at top levels was an asset. The Thatcher Foundation was not comparable to the Heritage style loons when Bearpark worked there, and I suspect still isn't: I knew someone who worked for them and they basically concentrated on backing small-scale economic development projects in Eastern Europe, which happens to be a field where Bearpark is an expert.

Another good friend of mine, personally honest and with left-of-centre politics, was appointed to an important CPA post on Bearpark's recommendation. Most of the British personnel assigned on Bearpark's orders as CPA 'Governors' or 'Assistant Governors' in fact had leftish politics: Mark Etherington being the exception, and even he had considerable operational experience in 'post-conflict situations'.

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