Libya, the new Afghanistan?

Increases in 'unofficial' Russian military involvement in the Libyan basket case. The Wagner Group gives Putin a flexible, deniable (to the gullible) means to extend the Kremlin's influence without the embarrassment of government-sponsored body bags coming back to Mother Russia if anything goes wrong.

'Russian private military contractor Wagner Group has up to 1,200 people deployed in Libya, strengthening the forces of eastern-based military leader Khalifa Haftar, according to a confidential United Nations report seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The 57-page report by independent sanctions monitors, submitted to the U.N. Security Council Libya sanctions committee, said the Russian contractor deployed forces in specialized military tasks, including sniper teams.

'Haftar launched a war a year ago to grab the capital Tripoli and other parts of northwest Libya. Since 2014, Libya has been split between areas controlled by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord in Tripoli and the northwest, and territory held by Haftar’s eastern-based forces in Benghazi. Haftar is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while the government is backed by Turkey. The U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Libya in 2011 amid an uprising that ousted longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

'The sanctions monitors said that while they could not independently verify the scale of the deployment to Libya by Wagner Group, “based on open source reporting and the limited sightings assesses that the maximum number of individual private military operatives deployed to be no more than 800 to 1,200.” “Their deployment has acted as an effective force multiplier for (Haftar),” the sanctions monitors wrote.

'When asked in January if the Wagner Group were fighting in Libya, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that if there are Russians in Libya, they are not representing the Russian state, nor are they paid by the state. Wagner Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Across Wagner Group, personnel are predominantly Russian, but also include citizens of Belarus, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine, the report said. It also said they have been identified using equipment typically reserved for Russia’s armed forces.

'When asked about the use of private military contractors in Libya on Wednesday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it was a matter of concern for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “It is of no help to the people of Libya who are in dire need of political reconciliation so peace can return to their country,” Dujarric told reporters.'


 
Increases in 'unofficial' Russian military involvement in the Libyan basket case. The Wagner Group gives Putin a flexible, deniable (to the gullible) means to extend the Kremlin's influence without the embarrassment of government-sponsored body bags coming back to Mother Russia if anything goes wrong.

'Russian private military contractor Wagner Group has up to 1,200 people deployed in Libya, strengthening the forces of eastern-based military leader Khalifa Haftar, according to a confidential United Nations report seen by Reuters on Wednesday. The 57-page report by independent sanctions monitors, submitted to the U.N. Security Council Libya sanctions committee, said the Russian contractor deployed forces in specialized military tasks, including sniper teams.

'Haftar launched a war a year ago to grab the capital Tripoli and other parts of northwest Libya. Since 2014, Libya has been split between areas controlled by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord in Tripoli and the northwest, and territory held by Haftar’s eastern-based forces in Benghazi. Haftar is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while the government is backed by Turkey. The U.N. Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Libya in 2011 amid an uprising that ousted longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

'The sanctions monitors said that while they could not independently verify the scale of the deployment to Libya by Wagner Group, “based on open source reporting and the limited sightings assesses that the maximum number of individual private military operatives deployed to be no more than 800 to 1,200.” “Their deployment has acted as an effective force multiplier for (Haftar),” the sanctions monitors wrote.

'When asked in January if the Wagner Group were fighting in Libya, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that if there are Russians in Libya, they are not representing the Russian state, nor are they paid by the state. Wagner Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Across Wagner Group, personnel are predominantly Russian, but also include citizens of Belarus, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine, the report said. It also said they have been identified using equipment typically reserved for Russia’s armed forces.

'When asked about the use of private military contractors in Libya on Wednesday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it was a matter of concern for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “It is of no help to the people of Libya who are in dire need of political reconciliation so peace can return to their country,” Dujarric told reporters.'


And meanwhile in Venezuela, Silvercorp USA plaster their tactical brilliance all over the Internet ...
 
I'm sure we all know who's flying them, but I wonder whether they've been repainted, or are flying in Russian markings?

'Rival factions in Libya’s civil war both claim that Russia has transferred six MiG-29 fighters and two Su-24 attack jets to Al Jufra airbase in central Libya to support the Benghazi-based Libyan National Army (LNA) faction led by General Khalifa Haftar. Since 2014, the LNA has been locked in a civil war with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord faction, which is militarily supported by Turkey.

'The alleged transfer, first reported by Bloomberg News, hasn’t been confirmed by Moscow, but a satellite photo appears to show at least one MiG-29 deployed at al-Jufra. Russian military transports also appear to have been active in Libya recently. The aircraft reportedly departed from Hmeimim Airbase in Syria and were escorted at least part of the way to Libya by two Russian Su-35 jet fighters.

'The LNA’s airforce chief Saqr al-Jaroushi boasted to Bloomberg that the jets will be used in the “largest aerial campaign in Libyan history in the coming hours,” and added, “All the objects and interests of Turkey in all occupied cities are a legitimate target.” Ankara in turn has warned that it drones, air defense batteries and warships are ready to retaliate against any attacks on its forces in Libya.'


 
The 1960s wants its 'dogs of war' back.

'A short-lived mission uncovered by U.N. investigators offers a glimpse into the world of those who have thrived off Libya’s chaos.

'Two former British marines piloted their boats, a pair of military-grade inflatables, across the Mediterranean from Malta. Six helicopters were flown in from Botswana using falsified papers. The rest of the team — soldiers of fortune from South Africa, Britain, Australia and the United States — arrived from a staging area in Jordan. To anyone who asked, the mercenaries who slipped into the war-pocked port of Benghazi, Libya, last summer said they had come to guard oil and gas facilities. In fact, United Nations investigators later determined, their mission was to fight alongside the Libyan commander Khalifa Hifter in his all-out assault on the capital, Tripoli, for which they were to be paid $80 million. It quickly went wrong. A dispute erupted with Mr. Hifter, a notoriously mercurial leader, over the quality of the aircraft. On July 2, after just four days in Libya, the mercenaries scrambled for their speedboats and roared out to sea, headed for the safety of Malta.

'Although short-lived, the botched mission offers a telling illustration of the melee in Libya, where a war driven by powerful foreign sponsors — principally the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Russia and Egypt — has created a lucrative playground for smugglers, arms dealers, mercenaries and other profiteers who flout an international arms embargo with little fear of consequences. Libya is a singular magnet for its combination of oil wealth and scrappy standards of combat. With Russian, Syrian, Sudanese, Chadian and now Western mercenaries drawn to the fight, it has the rare distinction of being a mercenary-on-mercenary war — sometimes, in the case of Syrians, with men from the same country fighting each other. “It’s a free-for-all,” said Wolfram Lacher, a Libya expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. “Everyone is bringing ever more absurd types of weapons and fighters into Libya, with Syrians on both sides, and nobody is stopping them.”


 
I hear the SBS are short of money?
 

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