Russia seeks to influence in Libya

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From Deutche Welle:

“Moscow last week hosted Libyan warlord Khalifa Hifter, who has requested military aid and political support. What are Russia’s political and economic interests in the Libyan conflict?

Hifter visited Moscow to meet with Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov, seeking a potential arms deal. In return, rumor has it that Moscow would receive permission to build a military base in Libya, granting it greater leverage to exert political influence on the country. A deal would also likely be a game changer for Hifter, who seeks to take back the country from Islamist militants. Moscow thus far has denied allegations of going forward with any deal.

Libya has been split into two rival governments: one based in Tripoli and the other based in the eastern city of Tobruk. The government in Tripoli is backed by the United Nations, while the government in Tobruk supports Hifter. In December 2015, a unity government, called the Government of National Accord (GNA) was founded. The GNA is the latest political solution promoted by the UN to end the civil war which began in 2014.

Many believe Hifter aspires to be a leader that can unite Libya, as his Libyan National Army (LNA) clears out Islamists in cities such as Benghazi. Others dislike Hifter, due to his military experience under longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi – some see him as a remnant of the old regime. Gadhafi was killed in a NATO-led intervention in 2011.”

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