Patrick Wintour / The Guardian – 2007-06-18 08:44:13
LONDON (June 16, 2007) — The US-led administration set up to run Iraq following the invasion in 2003 was a “dysfunctional organisation” which almost completely ignored the British, according to its director of operations.
Andrew Bearpark, probably the Coalition Provisional Authority’s central British figure, also revealed that when he asked for details of the plan to restore the Iraqi power supplies, he was given a one-page piece of paper with a list of a dozen Iraqi power stations and their potential output, amounting to what he describes as “a wish list”. “That was the CPA plan”, he said in an interview with the Guardian.
He described Britain as “being complicit in Iraq’s current position as a failed state due to its the failure to prepare a postwar plan.”
Mr Bearpark, an advocate of an early British troop drawdown, also backs the call for an official British inquiry into the failure of postwar planning — a call made this week by the Conservatives in a Commons debate, but rejected at least for the moment by the prime minister in waiting, Gordon Brown.
Mr Bearpark said: “If we are going to take upon ourselves the right to invade people’s countries and kill people – which is what we do with maybe the most laudable objectives – it puts an incredible moral responsibility upon us to do it as well as we possibly can.”
He said he was not interested in a “witchhunt”, or going over old ground about intelligence, but described “the absence of proper planning in Iraq as criminal negligence”.
Mr Bearpark, a veteran of reconstructions in Bosnia and Kosovo, was initially asked to operate as the deputy to Paul Bremer, the US CPA administrator. He asserts that it was obvious there were not enough troops to deal with “looting on an industrial scale” and also blames a lack of cooperation between the US military and the 3,000-strong civilian administration.
Mr Bearpark was asked to take on the job by the Foreign Office after the invasion and arrived in the country at the end of May, a few weeks after Mr Bremer, staying until July 2004, the entire span of the CPA.
He said throughout that the CPA was “incapacitated by short term planning and the need to get quick results. As a result, there was constant chopping and changing”.
He said there was never a consistent approach to police training. He revealed that in 2003, three different individuals were handed the responsibility for Iraqi police training, including Yorkshire’s chief constable, Doug Brand. The British had told Mr Brand he would replace the initial adviser on police training, Bernie Kerrick, the New York officer responsible for the city’s response to 9-11, but his elevation was blocked by the US.
Mr Bearpark said British attempts to be signatories to the formation of the CPA as a joint occupying power under the Geneva convention were brushed aside by the Americans. “Throughout its entire existence, CPA was a US government department and no agreement was ever signed between the British and the Americans, because the Americans refused even to consider it.”
He insists there was a window of opportunity in 2003, following the invasion in April, when the coalition had the support of the Iraqi people, but by the winter “we were losing them since we were unable to control security”. By January, the people realised the situation would not improve.
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