Now as never before, Sirte and Jufra liberation battle by the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) forces has become imminent as military reinforcements have been sent to western Sirte and political negotiations for the retreat of Khalifa Haftar’s militias and his multinational mercenaries have hit an impasse.
Although reports about the release of two Russian spies in Libya by the GNA are not confirmed yet by Russian foreign ministry, rumor has it; they will walk free so that Moscow could end its illegal backup to Haftar’s militias and side with the internationally recognized GNA and with the Libyan people,s choices of democracy and freedom.
The Russian spies have been caught by GNA authorities, as the Burkan Al-Ghadab Operation under the command of the (GNA) said the detained Russian spies were linked to the mercenary Wagner Group, saying that the Libyan Intelligence Agency had sent the files of Maxim Shugaley and Samir Seifan to the Public Prosecution for charges that include acts against the state of Libya.
Burkan Al-Ghadab explained that the two spies had entered Libya for military and economic espionage not for the reasons stated on the applications for their visas.
The operation added that the two Russian spies were working for a firm owned by Wagner Group’s owner Yevgeny Prigozhin, and they had been sending daily reports to Russian superiors on economic and military conditions in Libya.
Meeting Saif Gaddafi
The operation added that they have even met with the fugitive Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi more than once as they are part of a firm lobbying for Saif Gaddafi for the upcoming elections in Libya, saying that many details of their work had been found on their computers and mobile phones.
Burkan Al-Ghadab indicated that the two Russian spies recruited Libyans to gather intelligence and information and trained them to work in the future on influencing the elections in the country.
The operation also said that the two Russian spies were accompanied by two others; Alexender Brokoviv and Constantin Walksandir, indicating that they had forged firms’ stamps to carry out some financial procedures.
“They were tasked to work on securing a military base for Russia in Libya and preventing the US from having one, in addition to controlling Libyan oil and gas industry.” Burkan Al-Ghadab Operation said.
Russia Could Turn its Back on Haftar
The Kremlin is after many things in Libya, and Haftar is a just a means to an end; yet according to many political analysts and GNA officials; Moscow would rather resolve its political differences with the GNA and hop in on the side of legitimacy in Libya so that it could ramp up its cooperation in many sectors, just like Turkey.
GNA envoy to North Africa and Arab Maghreb countries, Jumua Al-Gomati, said on Twitter that the release of the two Russian spies by the GNA would pave the way for Russia’s abandoning of Haftar, who will disappear along with his sons from the scene, opening the way for resuming national political negotiations for a civilian state in the country.
This rhetoric is well-backed by the Turkish-Russian understandings on Libya as both countries have discussed more than once a possible solution to the crisis that doesn’t involve backing up coup military attempts led by warlord Haftar.
Despite the tension raised between Moscow and Ankara after the military face-off in Libya’s western region, especially in Al-Watiya airbase, things seem to remain a bit promising between the two countries.
The former Turkish Intelligence Chief said there couldn’t be any direct conflict between Turkey and Russia or Egypt in Libya, adding that US support to Turkey will hinder UAE and Egypt’s direct confrontation with Ankara, while Russian-Turkey cooperation in different international issues will impede any war to break between them. He didn’t eliminate a proxy war scenario in Libya.
He also reiterated that Ankara will continue to support the legitimate Government of National Accord in Libya until it liberates Sirte and Jufra and then will back up political negotiations with eastern Libyan parties and their supporters.
In the meantime, Al Jazeera Net reported an exclusive source from Turkish Presidency as saying that Russia had carried out airstrikes on Al-Watiya airbase in western Libya not Egypt, UAE or Haftar’s forces.
The source said the Russians intentionally avoided hitting Turkish weapons at the airbase but only targeted the US weapons inside it, adding that there had been Turkish defense systems, radars and jamming systems and all weren’t damaged.
The source denied to Al Jazeera Net rumors on social media about the deployment of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system by Turkey in Libya as a precaution for any Egyptian intervention.
War or Peace: Interests or Arm-twisting
The question here is whether Russia is willing to go all the way to oppose the coup project of the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and most importantly France in Libya through the support for Haftar and his militias in return for what could be a similar agreement with the GNA on oil and infrastructure cooperation in Libya.
It all now comes down to Sirte and Jufra. Libya’s GNA said it would agree to a ceasefire only if warlord Haftar withdrew his forces and mercenaries from central and western regions, including Sirte and Jufra, the Turkish foreign minister indicated.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the (GNA) is “determined” to resume its offensive against Haftar’s militias unless they withdrew from two strategic locations, port city of Sirte and home to an airbase; Jufra.
Now, Libyans await to see the final fate of Sirte and Jufra; whether to be liberated by GNA forces which have sent lots of reinforcements, or to be retaken by political agreements with Moscow and Ankara.