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ALM Special

Libya factions reassess Wagner's operations in light of mutiny in Russia 

The Wagner issue could significantly impact the conflict in Libya and lead to further instability in the country.
This picture shows a defaced mural to the glory of Russia's mercenary group Wagner reading "Wagner Group."
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Recent developments in Russia, and Wagner's open mutiny against the Kremlin have sparked considerable speculation regarding the potential impact on Wagner's operations in Libya, a war zone it has heavily invested in in the last decade. 

A mysterious drone strike targeting Wagner in the east on Friday, almost one week after the mutiny, has only intensified this speculation. 

Military and security sources in eastern Libya with first-hand knowledge of Wagner's activities in that country have confirmed to Al-Monitor that there has not been anything out of the ordinary in terms of Wagner's activities or movements there since the developments in Russia unfolded. However, there appears to be some unease among military and civilian leadership in eastern Libya about the possible behavior of Wagner in the future. One of the questions that arises is this: If Wagner and its leadership are able to rebel against the Russian military and the Kremlin in such a way, what could they be capable of in a place like Libya? 

The Libyan National Army's (LNA) apparent willingness to discuss the departure of Wagner from Libya is more salient in light of its high-level engagement with the United States on this issue. During the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf to Benghazi last March, the LNA leadership was open to discussing the withdrawal of Wagner if certain conditions were met. Most notably, the LNA was concerned about the threat posed by the Turkish presence in western Libya, and it requested more military and security cooperation from Western nations as well as the provision of advanced air defense and weapons systems that could replace those provided by Wagner. 

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