Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Russia looks to repair Libyan relationship with new arms deal

Russia will provide Libya with arms, military hardware and training to strengthen its border security, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said September 10 after meeting with his Libyan counterpart, Mohamed Abdelaziz, Itar-Tass reported…Russia has sought to restore military cooperation with Libya’s new government, although the country is still mired in tribal feuds, crime and political instability…Libya turned to Russia for arms deals during the Gadhafi era, but since the dictator’s fall Moscow has been biding its time to re-engage the troubled country…Alongside the new arms deals, Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom Neft has secured its own deals to operate in Libya…Energy deals in Libya help to both secure alternative supplies for Moscow and dilute any similar deals Libya may have with France and Italy…While Russia will benefit from a closer interaction with Libya, the reality on the ground is fractious at best with many competing tribes and multiple weak centres of political gravity which do not overlap…Russia’s movement in Libya is a small part of a larger Russian spread of influence in North Africa and the Middle East attempting to compensate for an exhausted and distracted US and NATO.

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