Russia deepening influence in Libya
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.