Concerns have escalated over the foreign fighters ’lack of intention to withdraw from Libya, which was stipulated in the ceasefire agreement concluded with the mediation of the United Nations last October, after it was revealed last Saturday that the work of digging a huge trench in Libyan territory, and these works are carried out by the mercenaries of the Russian company Wagner .
Writers Nick Patton Welch and Sarah Sarjani say in a report published by CNN that American officials are also concerned about the long-term goals of the Kremlin’s allies in this war-torn Arab country, and a US intelligence official considered this trench a sign that Wagner Preparing to stay in Libya for a long time.
The authors explained that this trench, which extends tens of kilometers south from the populated coastal areas around Sirte, towards the Al-Jufra region, the stronghold of Wagner, can be seen from satellite images, and the trench has been reinforced with solid fortifications.
The two writers indicated that “CNN” contacted the Russian government to request comment on this news, but did not receive any response.
US CNN report: the extension of trenches in Libya
Concerns about building a huge trench across Libya, dug by the Russian-backed “Wagner” group, which has raised doubts that foreign fighters will not withdraw from the country by Saturday, as contained in the peace agreement brokered by the United Nations. pic.twitter.com/5chvDvxSwD
Media Center for Operation Volcano of Anger (@BurkanLy) January 22, 2021
CNN showed a picture showing what was revealed by the satellites, as the trench, which consists of a series of trenches, extends 70 km south of Sirte towards the Jufra air base, and the pictures also show the building of defensive fortifications around this air base and Brak airport.
The two writers pointed out that the feverish conflict in Libya has divided the country for years, as a state of calm prevails in the confrontation between the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, backed by Turkey, and the forces of retired Major General Khalifa Haftar, supported by Russia and the UAE.
The Libyan conflict left more than two thousand people dead, according to United Nations reports, and the section of this oil-rich country, which enjoys a vital and strategic location in the Mediterranean. Last October, a UN-brokered peace agreement was reached, providing for all foreign powers to leave the country by January 23, as part of steps to establish confidence between the Libyan parties.
The CNN article indicates that the trench built by Wagner and the fortifications accompanying him seem designed to intercept or stop a ground attack on areas controlled by Haftar’s forces in eastern Libya, as it extends across all populated coastal areas, which have witnessed most of the armed confrontations since the fall of the regime. Muammar Gaddafi at the end of 2011.
The Government of National Accord had published pictures of the excavators and trucks constructing a trench, and an earthen berm running alongside it, and the Tripoli government said that these construction continues during this month.
An American intelligence official said, “This trench is another reason that confirms that there is no intention or movement by the Turkish or Russian forces to abide by the terms of the agreement that was brokered by the UN. This may cause the deviation of the peace path that is already frail, and thus the collapse of the ceasefire, and this Portends a difficult year. “
updated version contains 31 defensive positions north of aljufra airbase… https://t.co/Vj1YKNr6VZ pic.twitter.com/VCMeAOKRFk
– the kangaroo (@il_kanguru) September 26, 2020
Welch and Sarjani quoted other sources as confirming that they were able to map a series of 30 defense sites that were dug in the desert and hillsides, and the chain extends over a distance of 70 km.
The satellite images provided by the company “Maxar” for space technologies show the trench running along the side of the main road, the fortifications dug by Wagner mercenaries and their contracting companies, and these images show reinforcement of the defensive fortifications around Al Jufra Air Base and Brak Airport with defensive radars.
“CNN” quoted Libyan Defense Minister Salah El-Din Al-Namrouche as saying, “I think that any party that digs a trench today and concentrates these fortifications is not ready to leave anytime soon.”
The expert in the International Crisis Group, Claudia Gadzini, said that what was published about the digging of the trench is worrying, and a number of diplomats have discussed the matter in recent weeks, and the expert adds that the ongoing work in that region indicates that Moscow is keen to establish its presence in Libya.
A Western diplomat told CNN that retired Major General Khalifa Haftar needs to continue the conflict in Libya in order to maintain its importance. The diplomat added, “Haftar will become worthless overnight when the conflict ends, and if the matter does not end as he wants, he will become vulnerable. To be prosecuted for war crimes. “