After being absent from the divided Libyan political landscape for months, Moscow again made headlines by hosting Gen. Khalifa Hifter for a three-day visit earlier this month, meeting with the foreign and defense ministers, his usual Russian interlocutors. Once again, the general’s visit had experts debating exactly what role Russia plays in mentoring Hifter and whether Russia really sees him as its “point-man” in Libya.
The focus of Hifter’s visit resembled that of his previous trips to the Russian capital, touching on the security situation in Libya. The general reiterated his request for Russian military aid to his Libyan National Army, despite countless previous rejections. His request remains unfulfilled. Speaking to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Hifter expressed the hope that Russia would become involved in the process of national reconciliation in Libya. All in all, it would have been a routine visit, absent any remarkable developments, had it not been for the context in which the trip took place.