Rus­sia deep­en­ing in­flu­ence in Libya

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

IN RE­CENT months, Rus­sia has been ramp­ing up its in­volve­ment in the Libyan so­cio-po­lit­i­cal cri­sis, which has been on­go­ing since the re­moval of its ruler, Muam­mar Gaddafi, said re­tired Lieu­tenant-Colonel Michael Se­gal from Is­rael’s In­sti­tute for Con­tem­po­rary Af­fairs.

“Rus­sia has been strength­en­ing its ties with Field Mar­shal Khal­ifa Haf­tar, who heads the LNA (the Libyan Na­tional Army), one of the many mil­i­tary mili­tias oper­at­ing in Libya, and op­poses the coun­try’s of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment,” said Se­gal in an anal­y­sis piece.

Haf­tar has vis­ited Moscow twice over the past half-year and met the for­eign and de­fence min­is­ters in an ef­fort to ob­tain weaponry.

Rus­sia views Haf­tar as a main means to deepen its in­volve­ment and in­flu­ence in Libya, which it re­gards as a spring­board for es­tab­lish­ing its mil­i­tary naval pres­ence in the Mediter­ranean Basin and gain­ing a foothold in North Africa.

His LNA mili­tia con­sti­tutes the main ac­tive mil­i­tary force and one of the best or­gan­ised in Libya, said Se­gal. Sev­eral of Haf­tar’s peo­ple say they aim­ing to “lib­er­ate” and unify Tripoli.

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