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Will blurring the line between war and peace help Russia in Libya?

19 7 10

The ongoing war in Libya took a dramatic turn recently exposing the extent of foreign involvement in the conflict, notably by Russia. Hundreds of Russian “military contractors” — aka mercenaries —were evacuated from the country last Monday after retreating from the fighting on the front lines near Tripoli. Following the announcement of this withdrawal, the US released photographs confirming earlier reports that Russia had dispatched eight warplanes to central Libya, apparently in a bid to support the Libyan National Army led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Russia continues to deny the reports.

In fact, though, the reports of Russia’s involvement in Libya are neither new nor surprising. The Russian army’s conventional “hybrid warfare” stems from what is called the Gerasimov Doctrine expounded in 2013 by General Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s Chief of the General Staff, in a relatively obscure Russian military policy journal. His article outlined his observations on a new, whole-of-government style of warfare, one that blurs the line between war and peace. Since then it has become known in the West as the Gerasimov Doctrine. This tactic has been applied to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine, intervention in Syria and now more recently in Libya.

It is clear that Russia will remain in the North African state. While Moscow is withdrawing its mercenaries from the war-torn country, the deployment of the aircraft to central Libya has brought to light Russia’s tactics on the ground.

READ: Should Russia really declare an oil price war against the Middle East?

The Russian Federation which succeeded the USSR is not a new actor in Africa. However, longstanding relations with many countries on the continent deteriorated after the collapse of the Soviet Union at........

© Middle East Monitor