US military: Russia planning geostrategic stronghold in Libya beyond Haftar’s support

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) welcomes Khalifa Haftar (L) during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, 14 August 2017. [EPA/SERGEI ILNITSKY]
The US military believes a Russian introduction of warplanes into Libya may not tip the balance in the country’s stalemated civil war but could further help Moscow eventually secure a geostrategic stronghold in North Africa.

The US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of US Africa Command’s Intelligence Directorate said Friday Russian military personnel have delivered 14 MiG 29 and Su-24 fighter jets to the Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar in Al-Jufra airbase.

The US General told a small group of reporters the Russian aircrafts’ flight path originated in Russia and passed through Iran and Syria before reaching Libya.

Gen. Hadfield said the aircraft had not been used yet but could add new capability for Haftar’s terrorist militias, who have so far failed in their year-long effort to capture Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

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