2019-09-16 Africa North||Russian mercenaries are helping Haftar in eastern Libya
[Libya Observer] The Daily Beast has examined a tranche of internal communications from deep inside Russian Wagner Group Head Prigozhin’s Libya operation, always referred to simply as "the company."|
These files, originally obtained by the Dossier Centre, offer documentary proof that Russia’s military role in Libya is far more extensive than has thus far been reported, the report added.
The report says that the files show that, quite apart from running guns for hire and arranging Facebook propaganda campaigns, Russian operatives lately got into the business of "government-in-a-box" political consultancy for Khalifa Haftar
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...Self-proclaimed Field Marshal, served in the Libyan army under Muammar Qadaffy, and took part in the coup that brought Qadaffy to power in 1969. He became a prisoner of war in Chad in 1987. While held prisoner, he and his fellow officers formed a group hoping to overthrow Qadaffy, so it's kind of hard to describe him as a Qadaffy holdover. He was released around 1990 in a deal with the United States government and spent nearly two decades in the United States, gaining US citizenship. In 1993, while living in the United States, he was convicted in absentia of crimes against the Jamahiriya and sentenced to death. Haftar held a senior position in the anti-Qadaffy forces in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. In 2014 he was commander of the Libyan Army when the General National Congress (GNC) refused to give up power in accordance with its term of office. Haftar launched a campaign against the GNC and its Islamic fundamentalist allies. His campaign allowed elections to take place to replace the GNC, but then developed into a civil war. Guess you can't win them all...
in eastern Libya.
"The Russians appear willing not only to arm but also do PR work for a variety of dubious‐and rival‐factions in Libya, yet they harbor no illusions as to the popularity or leadership qualities of any of these proxies." The report adds.
The Daily Beast says the Russians openly advocate rigging elections, for instance, to help Haftar in the likely event he runs for the Libyan presidency.
"Wagner Group accuses the warlord of using his publicized relationship with Russia as a bargaining chip with other actors to raise his stature‐all the while failing to cooperate with or even hindering Company personnel." The report says
"Haftar, Prigozhin’s men allege, consolidates territory not by winning battles but by bribing tribal leaders and officials for the right to plant the LNA flag, using a total of around $150 million provided by the United Arab Emirates." It adds.
The report indicates that in one memo, written on April 10 this year, Haftar even spread disinformation about the presence of 300 mercenaries from the Wagner Group, going as far as having Libyan National Army troops stick paper copies of Russian license plates to their vehicles in order to give the impression of Russian support.
"Company employees were dispatched to peel off these fakes." The report remarked.
According to the report, the most significant disclosure in these files is the naming of a current Russian military officer operating in Libya.
"An April 6 briefing report states that the Libyan National Army (LNA) had suffered heavy losses as a result of precision artillery deployed by forces loyal to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord using advanced munitions. Representatives of the LNA appealed to the commander of the Russian group, Lieutenant General A.V. Khalzakov, with a request to deploy a Russian UAV to identify the location of these guns and enable the LNA to capture or destroy them, which was denied." The report explains.
It further explains that the files refer to Lt. Gen. Andrei Vladimirovich Kholzakov, a deputy commander of Russia’s Airborne Assault Forces, although the document doesn’t state where exactly in Libya he is deployed or what his specific functions are.
|Posted by Fred 2019-09-16 00:00||
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