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Engel: US can’t allow Libya to become ‘puppet government of Russia’

Boris Zilberman
17th April 2017 - Quoted by Joel Gehrke - The Washington Examiner

President Trump's team needs to take care to prevent Libya from falling under the sway of Russia, according to U.S. policymakers and experts.

"It is important that in Libya, whatever government gets installed, it's not another puppet government of Russia," New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Examiner.

Libya, which has experienced chaos as warring factions have strive for power following the ouster of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, has emerged as the next theater of Russian President Vladimir Putin's plan to expand his influence on the world stage. As crises in Syria and Ukraine have pit Russia against the West, Putin's team has sent forces to Libya to support a leading warlord and added the nation to his diplomatic agenda.

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"Foreign direct investment from Russia going into Italy, it's pretty high, so they've got economically a lot to sustain by maintaining relations," the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Boris Zilberman, an expert on the Middle East and Russia, told the Washington Examiner.

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Zilberman suggests that Italy wants "to have their cake and eat it, too" when it comes to Russia. Does that make them more likely to support Haftar, or another Libyan power player who could be expected to throw Russia's energy sector a lifeline?

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Tags

libya, russia