Russia becomes a Guard to its ally in Libya

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Russia becomes a Guard to its ally in Libya

Russia becomes a Guard to its ally in Libya

Russia is exerting its hegemony over Iran, Syria and now Libya as described in the Bible.

As we have watched Russia’s role in the Middle East over the past while we have seen it exercising its hegemony over nations like Iran and Syria. It is moved to “protect” them from western interference but also has kept them securely within its circle of influence. Russia's involvement in Libya's civil war speaks to this.

We also spend a few minutes considering the disciple's role in protest.

The scriptures clearly indicate who the allies of Russia are when the “king of the north”, or Gog of the Land of Magog, the prince of Rosh comes down into the land of Israel. Daniel indicates the nations that will walk “in stride” with the King of the North:

“But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.” (Daniel 11:43) 

The New King James Version translates this last phrase, “shall follow at his heels”, the  ESV, “will follow his train”, while the Complete Jewish Bible translates it “will be subject to him”.   We understand from this they will follow the Russian King of the North, being subject to them.  The modern word for this relationship would be hegemony defined as “leadership or dominance, especially by one country over others.”

Ezekiel adds a little more detail:

“Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.” (Ezekiel 38:5–7) 

Ezekiel includes Persia, or Iran in the mix, and also states Russia will be a “guard” unto the nations that are assembled to it, and will work to prepare both itself and these nations for the coming conflict.  The word “guard” is defined by the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament as “to exercise great care over.” It is used in both the sense of guarding someone in a prison and also of keeping a flock. It protects, but also maintains its leadership or dominance over. 

As we have watched Russia’s role in the Middle East over the past while we have seen it exercising its hegemony over nations like Iran and Syria. It is moved to “protect” them from western interference but also has kept them securely within its circle of influence. We see this with Russia’s move to protect Iran from further American-sponsored international sanctions. We see this with Russia’s military involvement in Syria to ensure its continued influence in that area of the Middle East.  We also see it with Russia’s involvement in the civil war in Libya.  This past week, Russia’s involvement in Libya was ratcheted up a couple of notches. 

Putin wants to restore Russia greatnessPutin, looking to restore Russia to greatness.

The Background of Libya

Libya is an ancient nation. It was has mentioned in the Bible before the Roman Empire even existed. It was home to the Phoenicians following the fall of Tyre. This would develop into the Carthaginian Empires whose famed leader Hannibal would cross the Alps to attack Rome. It was ruled by the Ptolemaic Greeks. It was the breadbasket of Rome during the days of the Empire. When the empire dissolved it was the base of the Vandals who plundered Rome. It was overrun by Islam in the 7th century and ruled by the Ottomans by the 15th century. Italy invaded Tripoli and would form a colony there until the Second World War when the Italian-German forces were defeated by the British. In 1969 the government of Libya was overthrown by General Muammar Ghaddafi. Ghaddafi was under the Russian sphere of influence during much of the Cold War. Libya has the 10th largest oil reserves of any nation on the planet, and consequently, is of great interest to Russia. Ghaddafi ruled until the Arab Spring of 2011 when he was deposed.  

The Rival Factions in Libya

Since Ghaddafi’s overthrow, Libya is divided between two rival factions. First, there is the UN-sponsored General National Congress (or GNC), located in Tripoli, that was put in place following the removal of the former dictator General Ghaddafi. Opposed to this is the House of Representatives located in Tobruk.  The Libyan National Army is the military arm of the House of Representatives and is led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. The two factions have been engaged in constant warfare, pushing each other back and forth. 

For a while, Haftar’s armies were experiencing moderate successes, pushing into Western Libya. Haftar’s army has been supported by “Russian Mercenaries .” The Washington Post reported,

Russia has avoided a direct military presence in Libya — unlike in Syria, where Russia’s air force, navy and other units aided Moscow’s longtime ally, President Bashir al-Assad.

Instead, Russia last year deployed mercenaries to back Hifter, achieving its strategic objectives under the cloak of deniability. About 1,200 of the Russian fighters are reportedly from the Wagner Group, controlled by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to the Kremlin.

“Russia wants a foothold in Libya, and that’s a fact,” said Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer of the Jamestown Foundation. “In Syria in 2015, there was a deliberate decision to begin a major operation to deploy forces,” Felgenhauer said. “Here, there are different opinions on how to proceed, and it’s not clear that there has been a decision to do in Libya what was done in Syria.”

This has sparked criticism from the West of interference in Libya’s internal affairs, (forgetting of course that Obama sent NATO jets to help oust Ghaddafi).  Haftar’s armies had reached Tarhuna, beginning the siege of Tripoli only 65km away in April of 2019. 

These past few weeks have seen significant losses by Haftar’s armies. The Washington Post reported this last week:

Russia’s ally in Libya is battered by defeats. But Moscow has wider goals to expand its influence.

The Post reported:

Russia’s ally in Libya, rebel commander Khalifa Hifter, has suffered a string of defeats in recent months as his militias tried to oust the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli so he could install himself as Libya’s ruler…. On Friday, forces of the Tripoli government — supported by Turkey and others — seized control of Tarhuna, the last stronghold for Hifter’s fighters in the country’s west. The recapture of the city, about 40 miles southeast of Tripoli, could mark a final blow to Hifter’s siege of Tripoli and his bid to expand beyond his power base in eastern Libya.

Turkey has boots-on-the-ground in Libya, opposing Russia.Turkey has troops on the ground in Libya

What is of great interest here is that Turkey has become the main boots-on-the-ground military supporter of the Tripoli government. The Post reported, 

“Turkey, however, has ramped up its military aid to the U.N.-backed side, deploying attack drones to drive back Hifter’s forces. It also sent in up to 13,000 mercenaries, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, many of them Syrian fighters who were allied with Turkey against Assad.

At the time of the end, the prophet Daniel details Russia’s move against Turkey, the “him” of verses 40 and on in Daniel 11:

“the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.” (Daniel 11:40) 

So the proxy war in Libya between Turkey and Russia is a sign of things to come. Russia has already involved itself in Syria, also part of the Northern Confederacy, and is now involving itself militarily in Libya.

Remember, Ezekiel’s description of Russia was to “be a guard unto” those nations who march with it or fall under its hegemony, including Libya. 

This week saw the arrival of Russian MIG’s in Libya, painted over to disguise them as they did in the Crimean War. CNN reported:

But Russia -- far from abandoning Haftar -- is doubling down. As the bedraggled convoy withdrew from the desolate airbase, the Kremlin had a surprise in store. Within a couple of days, Russian combat aircraft arrived in eastern Libya, glinting silver at two remote desert airfields. US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the jets -- a total of 14 MiG-29s and Su-24s -- had flown from Russia via Iran and Syria. While in Syria they'd been stripped of their markings. AFRICOM said the aircraft were "likely to provide close air support and offensive fires" for the Wagner fighters.Russian Jet

Russian Jets have been sent to Libya, as they were to the Crimea and Syria

Russia is truly “being a guard unto them” as it has to both Iran and Syria. Russia is looking to reassert itself as a world power.  CNN went on to report:

Andrew Weiss, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Putin is displaying an increasing appetite for risk, filling the vacuum left by the Trump administration. “We’re seeing a much wider pattern of Russian opportunism across both the Middle East and other parts of the world far from Russia’s direct borders,” he said in video comments on the Carnegie website.

This is exactly what we expect from the Scriptures. The CNN article went on to state:

The commander of AFRICOM, Gen. Stephen Townsend, said of the Russian move: "Just like I saw them doing in Syria, they are expanding their military footprint in Africa using government-supported mercenary groups." Beyond the Libyan context, AFRICOM told CNN: "If Russia is allowed to effectively shape the ultimate result of the Libya conflict, the US, and especially NATO and Europe, will not like the outcome." A senior western diplomat said he had been surprised by Moscow's move. "That the Russian intervention went from mercenaries on the ground to jet fighters is really quite brazen and astonishing," the diplomat told CNN.

This is not that amazing when you have the light of scriptures shining on the situation. 

As the world has its attention focussed on the CORONA virus and the riots in America, Russia has it’s focus elsewhere. The Bible gives us a clear indication of the eventual outcome.

As the nations of the world prepare, we must prepare ourselves for the return of Christ. 

By Jonathan Bowen for www.bibleinthenews.com

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