Libyan Strongman Tours Russian Aircraft Carrier

Discussion in 'The Middle East & North Africa' started by Falcon, Jan 11, 2017.

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  1. Falcon

    Falcon Lieutenant Colonel Staff Member Social Media Team

    Oct 10, 2015
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    Libya strongman Haftar tours Russia aircraft carrier


    Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar was given a tour of a Russian aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean today, Russian media reported, a show of Kremlin support for the faction leader who opposes Libya’s UN-backed government.

    Russia’s courting of Haftar, who some Libyans see as the strongman their country needs after years of instability, has prompted some to draw parallels with Syria, where the Kremlin stepped into a chaotic civil war to prop up the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad.

    Haftar was welcomed on board the aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, as it was en route from the coast off Syria, where it has been taking part in operations, back through the Mediterranean to Russia.

    He was greeted by the ship’s officers, given a tour, then spoke via video-conference from one of the ship’s wardrooms with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s RIA news agency cited the defence ministry as saying.

    “They discussed pressing issues in the fight against international terrorist groups in the Middle East,” the agency quoted the ministry as saying.

    Libya splintered into rival political and armed groupings after the uprising that toppled long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. It remains deeply divided between factions based in the east and west that back rival governments and parliaments.

    Haftar, who is aligned with the eastern parliament and government, has been fighting a two-year military campaign with his Libyan National Army against Islamists and other opponents in Benghazi and elsewhere in the east. Many suspect he seeks national power, and accuse him of having links to the United States’ CIA.

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