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Putin Makes Plays Into US Warzones In Bid For Global Power

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Russia is providing medical care to anti-U.S.-backed government rebel forces in Libya, marking another U.S. war zone it is asserting itself into recently.

Russia’s most high-profile intervention in recent years is in Syria, where it actively supports Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Russia’s 2015 military action likely saved the Assad regime, and it is now leading the peace process for the Syrian civil war. The peace process includes U.S. allies and adversaries, Turkey and Iran. If Moscow is able to broker an international peace agreement in Syria, it will be a major diplomatic coup and solidify it as a major player in the region.

The U.S. adversary is also trying to make in roads in Afghanistan, and now Libya to broaden its influence.

In Afghanistan, the Russian government is cooperating with the Taliban under a broader strategy to undermine U.S. goals and make a peaceful exit as difficult as possible. “Their [Russia’s] narrative goes something like this: that the Taliban are the ones fighting Islamic State, not the Afghan government,” America’s top general in Afghanistan told reporters in a December Pentagon briefing. He continued, “This public legitimacy that Russia lends to the Taliban is not based on fact, but it is used as a way to essentially undermine the Afghan government and the NATO effort and bolster the belligerents.”

Russia’s strategy in Afghanistan is remarkably similar to its course of action in Syria. Russia supports Assad under the auspices of a counter-terrorism mission, when in reality it gets to reassert itself on the global stage and maintain a steadfast ally. In Afghanistan, Russia can thwart U.S. efforts toward a peaceful exit and gain influence with important actors who are U.S. enemies.

In Libya, Moscow has made it a point to invite Gen. Khalifa Haftar, twice. Haftar is waging a campaign against the United Nations-backed government in Western Libya, which is officially supported by the U.S. Libya descended into civil war and chaos after a NATO-backed intervention in 2011 that toppled then Col. Moahmar Gadaffi.

Russia’s provision of medical care to 70 of Haftar’s fighters indicates it intends on militarily supporting him, and could be a signal of further U.S. military cooperation. If Haftar is able to topple the U.N.- and U.S.-backed government in the west, it would be another diplomatic coup for the Russian government.

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