Monday, March 20, 2017

Hi, We're from Moscow and We're Here to Help

As we see the Russians getting involved in Libya, remember that after Russia helps they expect a reward from those they help.

This isn't new but it bears repeating:

Russia will start construction on a planned five-year expansion of its naval base in Syria this spring, officials said in Russian state media. ...

The Russians have operated the installation in Tartus since 1971 and it has served as a key logistics hub for the Navy during their fight against ISIS in support of the al-Assad regime.

The expansion will to much to extend Russian influence in the Mediterranean and beyond into the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Russia has made an opening to Hiftar's faction in eastern Libya. A base was discussed.

As Russia continues to expand their outreach to Libyan forces, remember that the Soviet Union had bases in Libya under Khadaffi.

Which would fit in with other Russian actions that bolster Russia's military footprint and influence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Russia is not in the business of doing favors without getting something in return. Bases in Libya are on the table. The Russians still have all the floor plans, I'm sure.

UPDATE: Russia's half of the transaction is getting clear:

Asked whether Russia was re­peating its military strategy from Syria in Libya, the U.S. military com­mander in Africa, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said: "Yes, that's a good way to charac­terize it."

The impact that increased Rus­sian influence will have on Libya's conflict remains to be seen.

On the bright side, Libya's population is perhaps a fifth of Syria's. So 80,000 dead as the impact, at worst.