Afghan President Hamid Karzai, right, whispers to U.S. Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke ahead of the starting a news event at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
Richard Holbrooke was understood to be, in private, frustrated with Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, who yesterday paid tribute to him.

World leaders mourn death of Richard Holbrooke

WASHINGTON // US officials and leaders across the world were yesterday mourning the death of Richard Holbrooke, the diplomat who spearheaded efforts to end the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and who was attempting the same in his role as US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mr Holbrooke, 69, died on Monday in Washington from complications after surgery to repair a torn aorta.

Barack Obama, the US president, praised him as "a true giant of American foreign policy who has made America stronger, safer and more respected. He was a truly unique figure who will be remembered for his tireless diplomacy, love of country, and pursuit of peace".

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, with whom Mr Holbrooke was meeting on Friday when he fell ill, called him a one-of-a-kind. "Richard Holbrooke served the country he loved for nearly half a century, representing the United States in far-flung war zones and high-level peace talks, always with distinctive brilliance and unmatched determination. He was one of a kind - a true statesman - and that makes his passing all the more painful."

A veteran of four Democratic administrations, Holbrooke was a diplomat to the core, even if his forceful style and no-nonsense approach also saw him bully though agreement at times. He helped shape US foreign policy for 40 years and through three wars, starting with Vietnam, where he was one of the authors of the Pentagon Papers, which detailed the US government's secret history of the war.

His defining moment, however, came in 1995, when he forged the Dayton Accords. Hammered out among warring rivals at a US air force base outside Dayton, Ohio, the agreement essentially ended the fighting in the former Yugoslavia that had cost 100,000 lives. It cemented his reputation as a presidential wartime troubleshooter, and many feel it should have earned him a Nobel Peace Prize. It was his role in that conflict that led Mr Obama to turn to him to help the administration in Afghanistan. His role there was far broader than it was in the former Yugoslavia. Holbrooke was tasked not only with finding an agreement to end the conflict, but - in charge of US civilian assistance to the country - to help restructure and build Afghan civil society.

Staffan de Mistura, the UN's special envoy to Afghanistan, yesterday described Mr Holbrooke as a "first class diplomat" who brought "energy, vision and drive" to his work addressing political instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His "efforts will always be remembered".

But his role there also saw him in frequent conflict with Afghanistan's leaders, and in typical style, he did not shy away from confrontation, holding the Afghan government to account on tackling corruption and providing public services. He was understood to be, in private, deeply frustrated with Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president.

Mr Karzai, who called Holbrooke's family as they held vigil at his hospital bed, said yesterday that Holbrooke had "served greatly the government and the people of the United States".

His relations with Pakistani leaders were much better and he has been credited with improving US relations with Pakistan since Mr Obama took office in January 2009.

"Pakistan has been deprived of a best friend," said Asif Ali Zardari, the president, in a statement.

Holbrooke worked tirelessly to persuade sceptical officials in Pakistan that the US was seeking a long-term relationship, rather than one that would end with the departure of US forces from Afghanistan.

Pakistani analysts were concerned that Holbrooke's passing could weaken support within the Obama administration for a negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan. His death came ahead of the scheduled announcement on Thursday of the Obama administration's revised strategy on Afghanistan.

Mr Holbrooke is survived by his wife, Kati Marton, two sons from his first marriage, two stepchildren, a brother and four grandchildren.

* With additional reporting by James Reinl at the United Nations


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


Directed by: Joe and Anthony Russo

Starring: Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo


Dr Amal Khalid Alias revealed a recent case of a woman with daughters, who specifically wanted a boy.

A semen analysis of the father showed abnormal sperm so the couple required IVF.

Out of 21 eggs collected, six were unused leaving 15 suitable for IVF.

A specific procedure was used, called intracytoplasmic sperm injection where a single sperm cell is inserted into the egg.

On day three of the process, 14 embryos were biopsied for gender selection.

The next day, a pre-implantation genetic report revealed four normal male embryos, three female and seven abnormal samples.

Day five of the treatment saw two male embryos transferred to the patient.

The woman recorded a positive pregnancy test two weeks later. 



'Falling for Christmas'

Director: Janeen Damian

Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Chord Overstreet, Jack Wagner, Aliana Lohan

Rating: 1/5

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
Expo details

Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia

The world fair will run for six months from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021.

It is expected to attract 25 million visits

Some 70 per cent visitors are projected to come from outside the UAE, the largest proportion of international visitors in the 167-year history of World Expos.

More than 30,000 volunteers are required for Expo 2020

The site covers a total of 4.38 sqkm, including a 2 sqkm gated area

It is located adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Swollen glands

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Director: James Wan

Starring: Jason Mamoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II 

Rating: 2/5


South Africa 66 (Tries: De Allende, Nkosi, Reinach (3), Gelant, Steyn, Brits, Willemse; Cons: Jantjies 8) 

Canada 7 (Tries: Heaton; Cons: Nelson)

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Know before you go
  • Jebel Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport or a six-hour drive from Dubai. It’s impossible to visit by car unless you have a 4x4. Phone ahead to the hotel to arrange a transfer.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your insurance covers Oman.
  • By air: Budget airlines Air Arabia, Flydubai and SalamAir offer direct routes to Muscat from the UAE.
  • Tourists from the Emirates (UAE nationals not included) must apply for an Omani visa online before arrival at The process typically takes several days.
  • Flash floods are probable due to the terrain and a lack of drainage. Always check the weather before venturing into any canyons or other remote areas and identify a plan of escape that includes high ground, shelter and parking where your car won’t be overtaken by sudden downpours.



Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Most Read
Top Videos

View from DC

The inside scoop from The National’s Washington bureau

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      View from DC