May 23, 2023

IntelBrief: Libyan Warlord Exploits Sudan Crisis

AP Photo/Jon Gambrell

Bottom Line up Front

  • The eastern Libya strongman, Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifah Haftar, has actively backed the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) against the Sudanese military and armed forces in the ongoing fighting in Khartoum and its surrounding environs.
  • As in Sudan, contending leaders in Libya, including Haftar, have refused to implement internationally-backed political transition agreements that would require them to cede power.
  • Haftar calculates that an RSF victory in the Sudan power struggle would secure valuable trade and smuggling routes through Sudan and potentially improve the prospects for Haftar and his allies in the domestic power struggle in Libya.
  • By supporting the RSF, Haftar is aligned with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Russian mercenary Wagner Group, but is at odds with his key mentor, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.