Since Haftar tried to fall into the Russians’ arms, and sought their help; Fearing a resounding loss for his aggression against Tripoli, especially after his militia fled the city of Ghiryan in June 2019 in the face of the strikes of the Libyan army forces, the alarm rang in Washington about what the Russians did with Haftar.
Haftar’s ambition to be installed as a military ruler in Libya with the help of the Russians collided with an American refusal that came through the words of Ambassador Richard Norland, who confirmed his country’s rejection of the Russian presence in Libya, the UN mission in Libya announced the same American response to the Russian military presence in Libya.
When the aggression failed, it was the turn of the 5 + 5 Military Committee, so the gathered parties agreed on the necessity of removing the mercenaries from the country, and evacuating the bases and camps in the south from the presence of mercenaries and armed groups.
The Russians Cards Revealed
The Russian presence in Libya rang alarm bells in the Pentagon, and the US Department of Defense began revealing that it had monitored a remarkable increase in the number of mercenaries of the Russian Wagner Company in the last quarter of last year in Libya, confirming that the Russian presence in it had harmed the United States’ activities in combating terrorism, and undermined cooperation between Washington and its partners in West Africa, and could be an obstacle to its military allies, and to Washington’s struggle against terrorism.
The Pentagon stated, according to a report presented by the Inspector General last January, that the numbers increased from two hundred in September 2019 to between 800 and 1,400 mercenaries at the end of the same year.
The Ministry of the Interior confirmed, in November 2019, that Haftar handed over a number of military bases in Libya to the Wagner mercenaries, most notably the Al-Jufra and Al-Wittiya bases, for use in military operations that threaten civilian lives, indicating that they perform intelligence and paramilitary actions that disrupt counterterrorism efforts.
Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted, on January 11, during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow, that there are forces affiliated with him, describing them as “Russian citizens in Libya” and that they do not represent the Russian state, nor do they receive any money from the government, he said.
The pressure on the Russians takes place through two lines: the path of military talks in Ghadames by forming sub-committees and the security room in charge of taking over the camps and evacuating the region from mercenaries, and the second line is direct meetings between US and Russian officials in Moscow, and an attempt to extract a commitment from the Russians to a timetable for withdrawal
The withdrawals that took place from the Russian mercenaries remain so far very limited, and concern only some of the oil crescent facilities, while large numbers of advanced weapons are still in Al-Jufra, Sirte and other areas in the south.
Observers confirmed that there are great fears that the Russian mercenaries have overtaken Haftar after he brought them and enabled to stay in the region, and the matter of ousting them became increasingly difficult.
The ousting of Russian mercenaries from Al Jufra and Sirte, and their declaration as a demilitarized zone, is the first and biggest challenge to the success of the 5 + 5 military agreement, which was launched on November 2 directly by the two military committees in Ghadames, which is considered the guarantor of the success of other political, economic and security tracks.
The US ambassador to Libya “Richard Norland” welcomed the ongoing 5 + 5 committee meetings in the city of Ghadames , which are achieving a ceasefire and ending the conflict, pointing out that this path continues when a wide group of Libyans meet in Tunisia in the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum under the auspices of the United Nations.