Having achieved success on the Syrian track in Moscow, more attention pays on Libya. This country is one of the most affected by the “Arab spring”: after the assassination in 2011 of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, she was plunged into unadulterated chaos, has still not identified even a single center of power. For this title fight groups of Faiz Saraga (Tripoli) and Marshal Khalifa the Haftarot (Tobruk). Russia maintains contacts with both policies, but direct intervention is not transferred. What are the main interests of our country in Libya? Not and whether Moscow decides to apply to Libyan territory, “the Syrian scenario”, responding to the wishes of the Haftarot (he has repeatedly expressed interest in Russian help)? This “MK” asked the experts.
Dmitry EGORENKOV, Deputy Director of the Institute for strategic studies and projections of PFUR:
“Given the geopolitical and geostrategic position of Libya and its processes, Russia has a wide range of problems in this country. The first, and probably the most important – prevent further sliding of the state in the chaos into which it was plunged through the fault of our Western partners. Over the years, Libya has become a hotbed of terrorism, organized crime, slave trade, drug trafficking, etc.. of Course, in Moscow understand that this is done. Because the unresolved problems on the North African coast leads to the fact that they are very easily and quickly transferred to Europe, and this is the area directly close to Russia. In addition, do not forget about the global challenge of combating terrorism. Representatives of the Russian authorities repeatedly underlined, that in one place to defeat the terrorists is impossible, it must be done everywhere at once. In this sense, solidarity with Moscow Haftarot.
The second problem is connected with the economy – the events of the “Arab spring” of 2011 have hurt the business interests of Russia in Libya. Before that we had a long and fruitful history of economic interaction, multi-billion dollar projects, etc., these factories were built under a large railway project in Benghazi-Sirte. While Haftar, for example, very strongly suggests that Russian business interests in Libya will be considered in the future. And our state was very beneficial to return to this market. A separate unit it is worth to mention military-technical cooperation, also tweaked over the years. Between soldiers of the two countries have close contacts, and it should be used.
This direct military intervention of Russia in the Libyan conflict, in my opinion, is practically impossible. Maybe the Libyans in particular, the Haftarot, and would like such developments. But this need are simply not there. Haftar while doing fine on their own. I admit that there are any consultation processes with Russia, but in General he quite well knows the situation: he was able to negotiate with a number of internal political forces. Haftarot, I think, need not direct intervention of Moscow, and the opportunity to build on it, knowing that the support is somewhere near. But direct intervention, neither he nor Russia is not required.”
“Russia’s interests in Libya can be divided into two main categories: economic and those related to geopolitical security. The first group includes not only oil and gas but also the restoration of the infrastructure of Libya (in particular, the construction of the railway), the development of water projects. But geopolitical interests are more important. If Libya will be a stable state (most likely, it will be dictatorship), in addition to control over the refugees, we get the calm situation in the region. Because until this country is a source of instability not only for the Libyan people but also for neighbors. Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco – the entire Maghreb from Libya is in a dangerous, turbulent condition. Tunisian or Algerian opposition can quite easily hide on Libyan soil – much easier than it was under Gaddafi, strictly control the border.
As for the possible military involvement of Russia in the Libyan settlement of the (Syrian script), it is a very sensitive issue. I am personally against this. It is known that the Libyans insisted Moscow to intervene. While our country diplomatically refuses, preferring to do other methods of assistance: Libya provides information, talks about the supply of, for example, drones… do Not miss an important point concerning the legitimacy of the Libyan authorities. What is the center of power – Tobruk or Tripoli – law? Even the UN security Council is not fully determined on this issue. The second important question: what the Libyan side will pay, for example, our military supplies? Money from Libya is not, and we cannot, like the Chinese in 1990-ies, change howitzers to the diamonds or the drones of oil. For Russia, under the sanctions pressure from the West, such a transaction, which will emerge sooner or later, dangerous, very dangerous unwanted scandal.
Fortunately, this is well understood in Moscow. So while Russia actually refuses Libya in this kind of assistance. Our country is focusing on political settlement of the internal Libyan conflict. By and large, he will end under two conditions: when agree among themselves external actors (in this case, Paris and Rome, which can then put pressure on Doha and Riyadh), and when to some sort of agreement will come in force in the country. There is a great temptation to assume that internal agreements will be reached after the external. But this is not so.
Of course, Rome, and Paris, and Cairo, and other players will have an impact on settlement in the country, but only a certain, but not decisive. And Sarraj and the Haftarot are willing to take the money offered to them from the outside, going around the world, but do not consider themselves “soldiers” of any foreign state. This is an experienced politician, pursuing primarily their own interests. So you need to Sarraj and Haftarah agreed to agreed tribes – only this will provide the basis for a sustainable state. However, there are several options to reach agreement. Some are inclined to believe that it is necessary, such as Saudi Arabia, all buy: agreed – here’s a bonus. But the problem is that once the money from the sponsors of this process will end and the parties become accustomed to agree just for the money. So, obviously, we need a different way – perhaps by the use of sanctions. And to convince the warring parties to find a compromise – partly by bribing them, partly pushing sanctions. But all this at the moment and interfere with personal ambitions Caraga and the Haftarot, each of which sees itself in the future only the Libyan leader. To eliminate each other, they can not, both are protected by foreign intelligence services.
Our climb is absolutely not necessary. However, it is necessary to prepare for stuffing, like the reports of Russian special forces in Libya – but it will all be complete nonsense. Because Moscow understands: now there is a hell, worse than in Afghanistan of the 1980s, it’s just wild pitch. And our government there not going to send anybody, but to provocations and stuffing should be ready.”