On the situation in Libya

September 12, 2019
Mohamed Hamdan Degalo, known as Hemedti, commander of the Janjaweed and Rapid Support Forces in Sudan (Getty)

This is part of a tranche of internal communications from deep inside infamous caterer turned troll farmer and mercenary backer Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Libya operation, always referred to simply as “the Company.” These files were originally obtained by the Dossier Centre,  a London-based investigative team funded by former Russian oligarch and political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Please see our summary in The Daily Beast.

Translator’s note: This document reveals that Russian agents of the Company made agreements with Mohamed Hamdan Degalo, known as Hemedti, the commander of Sudan’s notorious Janjaweed militia and Rapid Support Forces responsible for acts of genocide in Darfur and mass murder in Khartoum. Hemedti agreed to enter the Libyan civil war in order to, optionally, attack forces allied to Haftar’s LNA or to support the warlord’s assault on Tripoli. This file was written by by Pyotr Bychkov, an employee of the Prigozhin-linked Fund for the Defense of National Values, on March 20, 2019



Specialists of the Company are conducting negotiations and have established close contacts with most of the political groups in Libya: Khalifa Haftar, Khaled al-Mishri, Aguila Saleh Issa, Saif Gaddafi, the main tribes – Tuareg, Toubou, Amazigh, and also different centres of influence – representatives of the cities of Misurata, Tarhuna, Bani Walid, Zintant and others. The exception is [Government of National Accord Prime Minister] Sarraj, who is avoiding engagement with the Russian side, fearing condemnation from the European countries and the USA.

We are regularly conducting sociological analyses of the situation (see Appendix 1), carrying out active work on social media (see Appendix 2) and media (see Appendix 3).

At present, the political map of Libya looks as follows (see Appendix 4) and can be provisionally divided into 3 zones:

  • The South (Fezzan – 7% of the population, of which approximately 200,000 are Toubou), is partially controlled by members of the Toubou tribe (the chief figures are Hasan Mussa*, Hussein al-Sharif* and Adam Qirqi*). Former allies of Haftar, who were the main force in his operation to liberate Benghazi from terrorists, are today his enemies and will put up further resistance. Haftar did not fulfil his obligations to them and began an LNA operation in the south with forces from the Sudanese opposition and French air power, inflicting heavy casualties on the civilian population (the facts of his fierce violence against the local population became the grounds for an appeal by international organisations to the ICC for charges against Haftar). The Toubou are well organised, ready for any collaboration and expect recommendations from Russian specialists.
  • The West (Tripolitania – 60% of the population) represents a complex mosaic of different political and armed groups, where the main sites are Misurata (Ibrahim Bin Rajab* and Fathi Bashaga*, 4,000 men), Tarhouna (the 7th Brigade of up to 5,000 men loyal to S. Gaddafi and the 22nd Brigade of up to 5,000 men loyal to K. Haftar), Beni Walid (Barq Siddiq*, up to 300 men), Zintant (al-Juwaili, at least 3,000 men), the Amazigh (at least 5,000 men) and the Touareg (3-5 thousand men). Tripoli is not a single political unit. Within it are members of various Tripolitanian groups, closing in around the financial flows of Libya. The main force in Tripoli is headed by al-Tajuri* (7,000 men). The armed groups of Tripolitania number at least 30,000. Haftar’s latest actions to expand his influence are forcing the West to consolidate. Misurata is already preparing for an operation to capture al-Jufra, financed with money from Qatar, in order to split Haftar’s army and return his zone of influence to his previous positions. A similar situation already occurred in 2014 during operation “Dignity,” when the LNA troops reached as far as Tripoli, but were than repelled by the united forces of the West.
  • The East (Cyrenaica) (33% of the population). Haftar is actively expanding in the South and West of the country. However, this is not leading to full control over territory, as his main instrument is bribing local tribes for the right to plant the LNA flag. This strategy is aimed at creating the public image of his immutable power and raising his stature to both internal and external players, which creates a threat to the peaceful political resolution of the situation in LIbya and the realisation of Russia’s interests in the region and its influence on the situation. All of the political groups in Libya say Haftar is not prepared to negotiate and are asking Russia for mediation and guarantees for agreements with him. However, cooperation between the Russian side and the Commander in Chief of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar has also been becoming more difficult recently:
  • Haftar does not intend to give up his US citizenship
  • To fulfil his own aims, he is making intense use of military and financial assistance from France (defending their own oil interests) and the UAE (he has given up the port of Benghazi and sub-contracts for the restoration of the city).
  • Russian specialists are restricted in their work, meanwhile Haftar is using the assistance of the Russian Federation to boost his own profile and as a bargaining chip.

There are serious grounds to believe that, in the event of his military-political victory, Haftar would not be loyal to the interests of Russia.

To relieve risks, it is proposed that we strengthen the position of the western portion of Libya, uniting all the forces under Saif Gaddafi or another figure, using the factor of the Toubou and Sudanese opposition:

Agreements have been reached with the leader of the Rapid Support Forces of the Republic of Sudan, Mohamed Hamdan Degalo, “Hemedti,” on possible joint operations in Libya. The interest of the Sudanese side is the crushing of a group of mercenaries from among the Sudanese opposition (3,000 fighters), fighting on the side of Haftar. Hemedti’s forces (up to 30,000 fighters) may, in cooperation with the Toubou (no less than 6,000 fighters), be able to level-out Haftar’s military-political successes in the south of Libya (the LNA and their allies have 22,000 fighters), forcing the latter to come to the negotiating table. A demonstration of intent by the coalition of the Toubou and Hemedti to move towards Tripoli would also create the prerequisites for the unification of the disparate factions in the west of the country. The result of the operation will be a stable equilibrium between the military factions of the East (Cyrenaica, Haftar), South (Fezzan, Toubou and their allies) and the West (Tripolitania), allowing a return to the normal negotiation process under the mediation of the Russian Federation.

Hemedti is also prepared to replace the Sudanese opposition with his own forces, strengthening the LNA for a joint military operation to take full control of the territory of Libya. In such an event, the Russian Federation maintains a loyal and powerful ally in the structure of the LNA, which Haftar will have to reckon with. This is particularly true in light of the Marshal’s deteriorating health.