American diplomacy wants a Libya foothold

A decade after unrest in Libya forced the diplomats of the United States to evacuate the US Embassy in Tripoli, the Biden administration has notified Congress of its plan to restore the US diplomatic presence in Libya.

The US has been without an embassy in Libya since its personnel withdrew under heavy military escort in 2014 amid the Fajr Libya war.

American diplomats relocated to Malta and later Tunisia, where they now form a remote mission known as the Libya External Office.

Biden Administration’s Efforts

The Biden administration sees a US diplomatic presence in Libya as critical to helping counter Russia’s growing footprint in Africa – knowing that the notorious Russian mercenary group Wagner is still based in different east and south parts of the country under the protection of the American-Libyan citizen Khalifa Haftar and his sons.

The US is also alarmed by the Russian efforts to rebrand Wagner as “the African Legion” and thus Moscow’s intent to become a major influence in Africa, setting off from countries like Libya, Mali and Central Africa.

State Department Alarmed

As a senior US official put it: While the US conducted diplomacy from the sidelines, Wagner Group mercenaries over the years helped cement Russian influence in Libya, including the reciprocal visits between Haftar and Russian defense officials.

Hence, the US State Department submitted a formal notification to lawmakers in March, starting what the department expects will be a process of one to two years to establish “an interim diplomatic facility” in the Libyan capital of Tripoli – not an embassy, though.

The US efforts to do it all in order to thwart Russian expansion in Africa, through Libya, are wheeling forth but will they be successful when faced by Haftar’s rejection to let go of the Wagner protection cover?


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