Saudi Arabia is stepping up its support for Libyan National Army chieftain Khalifa Hifter and its role as a potential power broker in a political settlement in Libya. The kingdom and the United Arab Emirates are both concerned about Turkey’s growing engagement in Libya, which includes the deployment of Syrian mercenaries to prop up the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.
Saudi Arabia’s growing involvement in Libya is evident in both the diplomatic and military spheres. On Jan. 13, Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum traveled to Riyadh to discuss Libya’s peace process, and Libya’s UN Ambassador Taher el-Sonni met with Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Abdullah al-Muallami, Jan. 18 to discuss the conflict resolution process. On Jan. 24, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that Saudi Arabia provided financial assistance to the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization that deploys mercenaries to support Hifter’s forces.