US envoy working on Qatar dispute Anthony Zinni resigns

Anthony Zinni, seen here in Kuwait in 2017, failed to make headway in mediating the dispute between Qatar and its neighbors. (AFP)
Updated 10 January 2019
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US envoy working on Qatar dispute Anthony Zinni resigns

LONDON: The US envoy working on the Qatar dispute Anthony Zinni has resigned from his position with the State Department.

The retired US Marine General announced his resignation after a “viable mediation effort” to solve the dispute between Qatar and other Gulf and Arab countries failed to materialize, CBS News reported.

Zinni had originally agreed to work as a special adviser to the then secretary of state, Rex Tillerson in 2017. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt launched a boycott of Qatar in June that year over Doha's linkes to extremist groups. 

The US, which sees Saudi Arabia as one of its its closest allies in the region but also has thousands of troops stationed at a vast military base in Qatar, has been keen to resolve the dispute. But attempts both by Washington and Kuwait to mediate a way forward have failed.

A State Department spokesman thanked Zinni for his work, which included discussing with regional leaders a regional military organization similar to NATO called the Middle East Strategic Alliance.

Zinni is the latest high ranking general to exit Donad Trump's administration. Defence Secretary Gen James Mattis said last month he would resign after Trump announced he would withdraw US troops from Syria.

Zinni formely served as commander of US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East. Following his military career he served as the US special envoy to Israel and the Palestinian Authority during the George W. Bush administration.


 


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 23 March 2019
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Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.