Russia is using the Wagner Group, its private army, to advance its interests in Libya
According to Fathi Bashagha, the Libyan interior minister, Russia is trying to escalate the Libyan crisis to push its interests abroad. By supporting the Haftar government and reviving the networks of the deceased dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Russia is able to boost its influence in Northern Africa.
Russia is intervening through the private military company (PMC) Group Wagner, which is used by Putin as a kind of private army. Its aim is to increase the Russian footprint, while denying its involvement in the crisis.
The PMC Wagner is not only trying to make profit in the military service and mining industries but also to enhance the Russian presence in Africa. Therefore one should understand that whenever Wagner is moving into say the oil extraction sector in Libya or any other industry, its final goal is to open a door for Russia to push its interests. The same thing goes for culture and communication, as illustrated by the Wagner-funded Russian cultural center in the Central African Republic (CAR), or its military dramas attempting to whitewash Russia’s image in Africa.
The Moscow Times is calling for the U.S. to increase its support for the UN-recognized Libyan government. After bringing down the former regime, the US would now be able to restore order and peace in Libya.
While it is correct that the US has the capacity to restore stability in Libya, the risk is that the proxy war between Russia and the US worsens. Both country could try to push their own interests, leading to a further deterioration in international relations.
The only solution to defend the population’s rights and legitimate interests is to make Wagner’s and Russia’s crime public and to bring proofs in order to conduct an international investigation.