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Libya’s Internal War For Political Power: Why Is Russia Supporting Khalifa Haftar?

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Amid the crisis in Libya, Russia has recently declared that their troops will be leading the war against the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya. Before we move forward with the issue, we need to take a look at its root.

After the demise of the Gaddafi regime, two powers came up in the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya a.k.a Libya: the first, the military force of Libya, headed by Khalifa Haftar;  and the second, the GNA, approved by the United Nations (UN).

Khalifa Haftar


History Decoded:

The Muslim Brotherhood is one of the largest Islamist political party and militant group in Libya, known for its radical ideology.

It was established in Benghazi in 1949 by members of the Egyptian Brotherhood fleeing a government crackdown in Cairo. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi criminalised the Brotherhood after he came to power in Libya in 1969.

Throughout the 1980s, the Gaddafi regime hunted down and executed Brotherhood leaders and other members. After the end of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, the Brotherhood was quick to reestablish its presence in Libya.

In March 2012, Brotherhood activist Mohamed Sowan formed the Justice and Construction Party (JCP), a political party that sought to establish a Libyan Islamist caliphate.

Once in parliament, the JCP reportedly formed strategic alliances with independent seat holders to increase its political influence over the country’s secular and nationalist coalition, the National Forces Alliance (NFA).

From this we can conclude, the GNA is more or less a puppet of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood.

Stance of The Arab Nations on the Issue:

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The Emirates are seen as a trusted partner of Khalifa Haftar. A November 2019 UN Report suggests that UAE had supplied arms and weapons to Khalifa’s army.


President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power after a 2013 military coup, Egypt’s first democratically elected head of state. The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed that same year and declared a “terrorist” organisation by Egyptian authorities.

During a recent trip to Cairo, Haftar, who received part of his military training in Egypt, said he would take over Tripoli “within hours” if Egypt were to send troops to assist his forces.

Saudi Arabia

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Saudi Arabia has offered tens of millions of dollars to help Haftar’s Tripoli attack.

According to the US publication, the offer came during a visit by Haftar to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in late March 2019, days before the launch of his assault on Tripoli.


Turkey has been one of the GNA’s foremost supporters since its inception in 2015. Ankara has stepped up its military support for the GNA in the face of Haftar’s military campaign. In addition to armoured vehicles, the GNA has reportedly bought 20 Bayraktar TB2 drones from Turkey last summer.

Why are major western powers supporting Khalifa Haftar?

If the GNA emerges victorious in the Libyan crisis, it will be a victory for the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ in the region. The New Libyan Government will then continue to destabilize the region, which is a matter of concern for the USA and some other European nations. Thus, the US is silent on Russia’s intervention in the matter.

Why is Russia supporting Khalifa Haftar?

If the GNA emerges victorious, it will supply their rich resources of Oil and Natural Gas to Turkey, as per their MoU. This will end the dependency of European nations on Russia.

Russia wants Europe to depend on it, at any cost, for Natural Gas, or else it will disrupt their economy. This is the reason why Russia is directly interfering in the Libyan crisis.

Why is Turkey supporting GNA?

The maritime border delineation deal is a way for Ankara to affirm its position as a leading power in the region, according to analysts, who are quick to point out that drilling rights in the contested seabed only tell part of the story.

If Libya falls under Haftar, who is an ally of the UAE, which in turn is antagonistic to Turkey, that essentially puts all of Turkish maritime interests in the Mediterranean at the mercy of the UAE, Egypt and Greece.

The article was first published here.

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Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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