Russia’s ally in Libya is battered by defeats. But Moscow has wider goals to expand its influence.
And, as in Syria, Russia’s interests in Libya include expanding its military and political reach in the Middle East and Mediterranean — while also waging a proxy battle with rivals such as Turkey.
Russia is eager for oil and construction contracts in Libya. But the Kremlin’s strategic objective, U.S. military officials believe, is to secure military bases on Europe’s southern flank.
Which side does Russia back?
Russia and Turkey back opposing sides in the Libyan civil war, part of a competition for future energy contracts and other deals worth billions in the oil-rich country.
Russia’s ally in Libya, rebel commander Khalifa Hifter, has suffered a string of defeats in recent months as his militias tried to oust the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli so he could install himself as Libya’s ruler.
On Friday, forces of the Tripoli government — supported by Turkey and others — seized control of Tarhuna, the last stronghold for Hifter’s fighters in the country’s west. The recapture of the city, …continued .
[Source: Washington Post]