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Russia’s rising dawn over Libya, or is it another Syria in the making?

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Russia’s role in the Libyan crisis has been rather slow to develop, because Moscow was deeply busy with Syria’s civil war. Sometimes, Russia even appeared disinterested in Libya from the start. In 2011, as the West prepared to intervene militarily in the North African country, it needed a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution, and Moscow was expected to vote it down. Its ambassador to Tripoli had already urged his president, Dimitri Medvedev, to intervene. Instead, he was fired and Russia abstained, allowing Resolution 1973 authorising the use of force against Libya to pass; hence NATO’s intervention.

But the Russian anger and feelings of being tricked by the West in Libya never went away. Vladimir Putin, after returning to his presidency in 2012, in repeated angry outbursts, accused the West of destroying Libya, murdering Muammar Gaddafi and overpassing the mandate of Resolution 1973, which called for the protection of civilians, not a change of regime.

Nobody expected Moscow to keep watching while strategic Libya— an old friend too — is being slaughtered by Western-encouraged militias, or even worse, handed over to the West. Russia might have taken longer than expected to reconfigure its strategy in North Africa, and whether its model of intervention in Syria can be duplicated in Libya. During that period, Moscow went along with the UN-sponsored efforts to mediate the conflict. It even voted for UN Resolution 2259, establishing the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and recognising it as the only legitimate authority in Libya. As the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad was secure and Khalifa Haftar appeared on the........

© Middle East Monitor