The possibility of Russia developing a permanent base at Al Jufrah in Libya and deploying high-end assets there has considerable implications for NATO and the EU.
In the words of a general from U.S. Africa Command, “if Russia secures a permanent position in Libya and, worse, deploys long-range missile systems, it will be a game changer for Europe, NATO, and many Western nations.” In addition, the use of a forward base in Al Jufrah would enhance Russia’s existing capability to deploy private military contractors (PMCs) in sub-Saharan Africa, such as in the Central African Republic. However, Russia’s eventual permanent presence in Libya will very much depend on the UN-led peace process in the country, which clearly calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces—regular troops and PMCs—from Libyan territory.
From a European perspective, a lack of lasting stability in Libya would pose multiple challenges, from the security of energy supplies to irregular migration from sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to a permanent Russian military presence. This makes Libya a European emergency.
Similar reasoning applies to forthcoming developments concerning a Russian naval base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast, using the Tartus naval base as a springboard. If fully implemented, this move would clearly enhance the Russian Navy’s capabilities to project forces in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. To an extent, such a facility would partly match U.S. and French infrastructure in Djibouti and the Persian Gulf.
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