With the US-backed “Libya unity government” not doing so well, officials are looking for somebody to blame over the matter, and they’ve zeroed in on Russia, as always, declaring them to be trying to “do a Syria” and backing a “warlord” in recent fighting for Libya’s oil.
The warlord in question is Gen. Khalifa Hifter, head of the Libyan National Army, which is recognized by the eastern Libyan parliament. Hifter was formerly a top figure in a CIA-run rebel force aiming for regime change in Libya, and after that lived in Langley, Virginia for many years.
And while the US still favors Hifter sometimes, when it’s convenient, reports of him visiting Moscow have also made him a scapegoat for things going wrong. Ironically, the fighting over the oil ports didn’t even involve the US-backed forces, who lost the area long ago, and centers of Hifter fighting eastern Islamists from Benghazi.
How this amounts to “doing a Syria” is another matter, as in Syria Russia was backing the existing government against Islamist rebels, and in Libya there is no existing government of any influence, and it’s not clear Russia has gotten more than tentatively involved.