Small Wars Journal

Libyan Warlord Battles for Control of Tripoli Airport as Militia Forces Push Closer to City

Libyan Warlord Battles for Control of Tripoli Airport as Militia Forces Push Closer to City by Fahmi Hussein and Sudarsan Raghavan – Washington Post

A renegade militia seeking to storm its way into Libya’s capital battled for control of the international airport Saturday in a showdown that threatened to spill into bloody urban combat in the streets of Tripoli.


Fighters loyal to warlord Khalifa Hifter said they had overrun the airport, on the southern edge of the city. But forces for Libya’s U.N.-backed government mounted a counterattack — aided by reinforcements flowing into the city — and it was unclear which side held the airfield by nightfall.


The airport has been closed since it suffered widespread damage during battles between rival groups in 2014. But it would be a symbolic blow to the government if the site fell to Hifter, who could use it as a key staging ground for further advances.


Hifter’s militia is aligned with a separate administration based in eastern Libya. The country, rich in oil and gas reserves, has been split into rival regions for years as the United Nations and others try to hammer out a peace deal and set a road map for elections…

Read on.


From the Foreign Affairs article: "Inside Putin's Libyan Power Play:"


Ultimately, the main return Russia seeks on its investment in Libya is neither a base nor a contract. It is the ability to substantiate one of the central narratives that it has told the world and its own citizens in recent years: that what the United States breaks, Russia can fix. Russian officials regularly tout Libya’s descent into chaos after NATO’s 2011 intervention, heavily criticized by then-Prime Minister Putin, as the perfect example of the instability that U.S.-led interventions cause. If Putin’s Libyan adventure pays off, Russia will have shown that it can shape lasting political outcomes abroad without costly ground invasions or destructive air campaigns. Such a psychological victory may be the most valuable reward of all.