By Nureddin Sabir
Editor, Redress Information & Analysis
The United States is bleating — and bleating loudly — about the possibility that Russia might have sent warplanes to help the Libyan National Army (LNA) in its campaign to liberate the 15 per cent or so of Libya that is still under the control of the unelected Muslim Brotherhood / Al-Qaeda-backed “Government of National Accord” (GNA).
A statement posted on the website of the US Africa Command (Africom), the force dedicated to intervening in African countries, quoted the Africom commander, General Stephen Townsend, as saying:
Russia is clearly trying to tip the scales in its favor in Libya. Just like I saw them doing in Syria, they are expanding their military footprint in Africa using government-supported mercenary groups like Wagner [a private military contractor said to be close to the Kremlin]… We watched as Russia flew fourth generation jet fighters to Libya…
Turning a blind eye to Turkish support for terrorists
Townsend somehow forgot to mention that in Syria Russia tipped the scales against Islamic State group, Al-Qaeda affiliates, and numerous other Islamist terrorist groups. That is a statement of fact, not an expression of support for Russian policy in general, for Russian President Vladimir Putin or for the Syrian regime.
Townsend also conveniently omitted to mention the massive Turkish military intervention on behalf of the unelected GNA, which can be accurately described as an umbrella for Islamist terrorist and organised crime groups, notably people smugglers and oil smugglers. Turkish drones and a warship participated directly in the assault on Al-Watiya air base, west of Tripoli, earlier this month. Turkey has also deployed surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming equipment on behalf of the GNA.
The US says it is committed to fighting Islamist terrorism in the Middle East and Africa, and it has on occasion targeted Islamic State (IS) group and Al-Qaeda (AQ) terrorists in Libya. Yet the fact that Turkey has brought into Libya at least 10,100 Syrian mercenaries, including IS and AQ cutthroats, some of whom have been captured by the LNA (see here and here and here), seems to have escaped Townsend’s mind.
According to a US air force commander, Gen. Jeff Harrigian — quoted by the Africom website — “If Russia seizes basing on Libya’s coast, the next logical step is they deploy permanent long-range anti-access area denial (A2AD) capabilities… If that day comes, it will create very real security concerns on Europe’s southern flank.”
Implied support for terrorists and crime syndicates
Bizarrely, Harrigian, Townsend and others in Africom don’t seem to think that the IS and AQ terrorists brought to Libya by Turkey, or people smugglers such as crime boss Muhammad Kashlaf, an ally of the GNA, pose a threat to Europe.
As we write, it is being reported that Turkey is working on turning Al-Watiya into a full-blown Turkish air base. It is also being reported that two Qatari air force C-17A Globemaster III heavy transport planes, usually based at Al-Udaid, home to the largest US air force base in the Middle East, had left Istanbul Grand Airport and flew over the Bosphorus to an unknown destination in the Sahel, possibly Libya.
So, for the Africom commanders and US policymakers, it would seem that what is good for the goose is definitely not good for the gander. And it would seem that the possibility of Russian forces sent to Libya to fight some of the world’s vilest terrorists and crime syndicates poses a greater threat to Europe than these terrorists and criminals.
In “American stooges”