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

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.


 


Afghanistan suffers record 4,300 civilian casualties in three months — UN

Updated 51 min 19 sec ago

Afghanistan suffers record 4,300 civilian casualties in three months — UN

  • The tally was up 42 percent from the same period last year
  • That made it the bloodiest period in the world’s longest-running war since UNAMA began collecting like-for-like figures in 2009

KABUL: A record 4,313 civilians were injured or killed in Afghanistan’s war against the Islamist Taliban between July and September, the United Nations said on Thursday.
The tally was up 42 percent from the same period last year — in a war that ebbs and flows with the seasonal weather — and included more than a thousand deaths, according to data from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
That made it the bloodiest period in the world’s longest-running war since UNAMA began collecting like-for-like figures in 2009. It brought the total of casualties for the first nine months of 2019 to over 8,000.
“Civilian casualties at record-high levels clearly show the need for all parties concerned to pay much more attention to protecting the civilian population, including through a review of conduct during combat operations,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, one of the UN’s top officials in Afghanistan.
Taliban insurgents fighting the US-backed Kabul government control more of Afghanistan than at any time since being ousted from power nearly two decades ago.
They have stepped up a campaign of suicide bombings in recent years as Washington tries to pull its forces out.
Around 62 percent of casualties were caused by what UNAMA called “anti-government elements,” though casualties caused by pro-government forces also rose 26 percent.
UNAMA said on Tuesday that 85 civilians had been killed and more than 370 wounded in violence linked to last month’s election.
The two presidential front-runners have both already claimed victory despite the count being delayed.