Libya

(...)
5. Russia is aligned with Egypt, KSA and UAE in supporting Khalifa Haftar as the “strongman” who can rule the country and which all see as the most pragmatic solution.

6. This alignment can go some way to “balance out” its alignment in Syria with Assad/Hezbollah/Iran all perceived to be against KSA/UAE interests
(...)
To what extent do you suspect that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt will get involved in Libya, keeping in mind how they are presently tied up in Yemen?

On the other hand, ignoring the widespread death, anarchy, and suffering in Libya which has been taking place there since the overthrow of Gaddafi isn't really a great option either, particularly for Egypt. This is fertile ground for the army of IS militants who are now finding Iraq and Syria less hospitable.
 
From the perspective of any authoritarian leader in the Middle East, you're a lot better off with the Russians on-side than the Americans. Don't think folk haven't noticed that Putin was willing to spend Russian blood and treasure to support long-term Russian client Assad in Syria - or that the Americans (and we and the French) will happily throw any Arab 'friend' under the bus if convenient.

From pretty much any perspective, Hafter and the LNA are the least worst alternative to the current pathetic anarchy, with three 'governments' (the original GAC in Tripoli, the HoR in Tubruq and the PC for around 300m radius of the ferry port just down from Tripoli Towers, plus God alone knows how many katibas, each with their own agenda and fluctuating allegiances.
 
OK here goes to start with:

1. Already indications that the Russians have been involved in some covert “Special Forces” insertions.
Heard info from other sources but generally just heard speculation on open source. I wouldn’t be surprised using bases in Egypt for staging.
2. Indications earlier in the year were that the above were already covertly staging through Egypt. Early March an inadvertent Ruskie got picked up transiting back out through Alexandria Borg el Arab Airport with a grenade in his bags, that hee'd forgotten about. A few days in the slammer, then quietly let go.
Roger re the grenade. I’ve heard of forgetting rounds but grenades? :)
3. Russia recently extracted a (reciprocal) agreement from Egypt to allow Russian military to use Egyptian airspace and Egyptian military facilities at five days’ notice.
I think there was something on the thread I posted a while back re Russian use of Egyptian bases
4. Russia regards its intervention in Syria as a major success and a very public “poke in the eye” of the US, which it could replicate in Libya, thus increasing even more its geopolitical standing.
That’s what it is selling it as and there’s many who will believe that hype. The fact that they previously wanted to pull out but Assad embroiled then again ......

A lot would depend on their permanent basing in Libya or Egypt. More money on infrastructure but if he gets a guaranteed port and airbase.....
5. Russia is aligned with Egypt, KSA and UAE in supporting Khalifa Haftar as the “strongman” who can rule the country and which all see as the most pragmatic solution.
Fair one albeit I don’t see KSA doing a great deal. UAE air strikes and obviously Qatar were involved but not much now tmk. I suppose if we need to ‘support’ a murdering scumbag strong man in the country, Haftar is probably the better option.
6. This alignment can go some way to “balance out” its alignment in Syria with Assad/Hezbollah/Iran all perceived to be against KSA/UAE interests
Allies of convenience
7. This can be presented as a “realpolitik fait accompli” and will weaken the international order (the UN) and US/European influence even further.
The GNA don’t appear to have much popular support but they are being supported especially re migration and strikes against IS
8. If Russia helps Haftar, it will expect some concessions to its interests.
Of course. ‘Good luck’ Haftar until you’re no longer useful
9. Haftar has just stated a few days ago that the Libyan Political Agreement has expired, thus setting the scene for increased and open hostilities.
Saw that. Not sure where the UN (and us) intend to go with the GNA at the moment
Thanks for the heads up. In general I believe Russia is ‘covertly’ supporting Haftar with some of his better (read social media aware) operatives and assisting his fight against IS and affiliates and who he (Haftar) says are IS and affiliates. I don’t think a great deal will happen until the Russian elections are over tbh. Syria wasn’t popular there and I doubt Libya would be either.

Happy to be proven wrong
 
On the other hand, ignoring the widespread death, anarchy, and suffering in Libya which has been taking place there since the overthrow of Gaddafi isn't really a great option either, particularly for Egypt. This is fertile ground for the army of IS militants who are now finding Iraq and Syria less hospitable.
To some extent, I feel there's a different question. French policy is alive an well in North Africa in terms of the Francophone hegemony , the Italians have ambitions there and whatever issues there are in Libya at the moment it's seen as a European issue. Now to what extent Russia can turn Arab Nationalism into communism is another matter. I suspect the Russians and the French given their latent underlying mutual liking for each other will probably do a deal to keep Russia out. On the other hand Ukraine offers far more opportunity for doing damage where it matters and is far more controllable.
 
UK apologises to Libyan ex-rebel and wife over role in 2004 rendition
Not good. 14 years and all that but it appears we were involved in this piece of 'extraordinary rendition'. Mrs May has written to the man and his (then preganant) wife:
Abdul Hakim Belhadj, a known opponent of Gaddafi’s regime, and his pregnant wife Fatima Boudchar were abducted by CIA agents in Thailand after a tip-off from British spies, then illegally transferred to Tripoli.

“It is clear that you were both subjected to appalling treatment and that you suffered greatly, not least the affront to the dignity of Ms Boudchar who was pregnant at the time,” Prime Minister Theresa May wrote in a letter to the couple made public on Thursday.
Quotes from the letter in the article below:
She was in the public gallery in parliament in London with her son on Thursday to hear a public statement about the case, during which May’s letter of apology was read out in full by Britain’s attorney general.

“The UK government believes your accounts. Neither of you should have been treated in this way,” the letter said.

“The UK government’s actions contributed to your detention, rendition and suffering ... On behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, I apologise unreservedly.

“We should have understood much sooner the unacceptable practices of some of our international partners.”
 
“We should have understood much sooner the unacceptable practices of some of our international partners.”

Understanding is not the same as condemning or ceasing to be partners with. Actions speak louder than words.
 
“We should have understood much sooner the unacceptable practices of some of our international partners.”

Understanding is not the same as condemning or ceasing to be partners with. Actions speak louder than words.
Yeah especially from the much Vaunted Labour front bench under whom this happened. Nothing from Kier Starmer the current voice.
 
That Ethical Foreign Policy malarkey was a bit of a chuckle, wasn't it?
 
While it doesn't make it right, Belhaj is a nasty piece of work in his own right. His own personal militia spent a couple of years squatting sullenly in the other half of the Radisson Blu in Tripoli after the revolution, the place was knee-deep in BO-ridden surly teenagers with pish beards. The technical parked outside was a thing of beauty, the twin 14.5mm on the flatbed had their breeches rusted almost solid.
 
I chuckled at the time.
I bet Gadaffi's blokes didn't use a 'tickling stick' on him.

Abdelhakim Belhaj - Wikipedia
It's all confusing really. The bloke is currently a serving Libyan MP. He's former Taliban. He fought against Gadaffi and our 'alleged' (nothing admitted) part was telling Gadaffi that he was in Thailand (scenery and cuisine?) “...were abducted by CIA agents in Thailand after a tip-off from British spies, then illegally transferred to Tripoli"

One minute Arrse likes Gadaffi, then it doesn't. It doesn't like the US obviously, but he wouldn't be where he is if Gadaffi hadn't been toppled. All very confusing but what's clear is he got what he wanted from the UK, an apology.
 
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I bet Gadaffi's blokes didn't use a 'tickling stick' on him.

Abdelhakim Belhaj - Wikipedia
It's all confusing really. The bloke is currently a serving Libyan MP. He's former Taliban. He fought against Gadaffi and our 'alleged' (nothing admitted) part was telling Gadaffi that he was in Thailand (scenery and cuisine?) “...were abducted by CIA agents in Thailand after a tip-off from British spies, then illegally transferred to Tripoli"

One minute Arrse likes Gadaffi, then it doesn't. It doesn't like the US obviously, but he wouldn't be where he is if Gadaffi hadn't been toppled. All very confusing but what's clear is he got what he wanted from the UK, an apology.
They are all the products of their times and the politics of Arab nationalism . They have no problem remaining in the 16th century of the ottoman culture as so much of the ME. Idris was just the same. Tribe and religious affiliation are paramount and that will never change until Islam has it's own reformation. The mistake is to somehow reconcile western mores in our political dealings . In some respects I was very fond of the people I met in Benghazi and Tripoli as a kid. But I was quickly disabused by my father, who had been in the ME off and on for 20 years, that they were ever like us. The apology was undoubtedly required, but from Blair and Brown et al. I have no doubt that silence in that quarter will be deafening
 
If true, it is the Sun after all. It won't come as any surprise. Haftar has employed a lot of ex old guard. Before the air defence sites were reduced to rubble by anti-radiation missiles they were all manned by Russian troops. Who were then arrested and held in prison by the local Militias.

The chances of Haftar moving such defences near to Tripoli is very small, he has no control in that part of the country.
 
If true, it is the Sun after all. It won't come as any surprise. Haftar has employed a lot of ex old guard. Before the air defence sites were reduced to rubble by anti-radiation missiles they were all manned by Russian troops. Who were then arrested and held in prison by the local Militias.

The chances of Haftar moving such defences near to Tripoli is very small, he has no control in that part of the country.
Possibly linked to a wider engagement.
Libya has been in talks with Russia over grain supplies and a railway construction project. Food security is a pressing concern, as it was a driver of the Arab Spring.
Military support was probably hidden in the background.
 

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