Born in 1941, Bremer graduated with an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

He began his diplomatic career in 1966 and served as charge D’affaires at the US Embassy in Norway (1976-1979), then ambassador to the Netherlands (1983-1986).

Under President Ronald Reagan he was appointed Ambassador-at-Large for counter-terrorism (1986-1989).

In 1999, Bremer chaired the National Commission on Terrorism and in 2002 became a member of the Presidential Homeland Security Advisory Council in the same year.

Bremer took over from retired US Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner, who got fired shortly after his appointment, as his mission in Iraq never got off the ground.

No sooner had Paul Bremer assumed his office in Baghdad than he granted a unit of Halliburton Co, the Texas oil giant previously run by Vice President Dick Cheney, more than $800 million in work orders in Iraq.

Though some considered the appointment of Bremer, a former State Department official, as a kind of settlement to battles between the State and the Defence Departments over post-war Iraq, Bush made it clear Bremer would be reporting directly to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Ironically, it is said Rumsfeld himself had suggested the appointment of Bremer, who is close to the neo-conservatives.

Bremer has dissolved the Iraqi military, sacked hundreds of thousands of government employees and put the issue of an Iraqi provisional government on hold.