Foreign Policy has published a report, citing the Pentagon, saying the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is apparently helping to finance the Russian mercenary group Wagner in Libya.
Foreign Policy said, according to a report issued last week by the Pentagon’s Inspector General for counterterrorism operations in Africa, this finding is likely to complicate the United States’ close relationship with Abu Dhabi, adding that in last January, there was a drastic increase in Russian and Emirati cargo planes–likely laden with weapons and ammunition–flying to eastern Libya and western Egypt.
"The increased Russian presence in Libya has also coincided with Emirati drawdowns, further sparking suspicions. As cargo shipments began to tick up and more Turkish troops entered the country, the UAE withdrew its equipment from the al-Khadim airbase near Benghazi and allowed Russian forces to take over the facility." The report says.
Foreign Policy reported Douglas Wise, who served as deputy director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency from 2014 to 2016, as saying he would imagine DIA has some good information on the UAE’s support to Wagner, adding that throughout 2020, experts tracking the conflict in Libya have noted patterns that would indicate closer ties between the UAE and Russia.
It reported the senior fellow at the Paris-based Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Jalel Harchaoui, as saying that there are a dozen Russian fourth-generation fighter jets operated by Wagner since May in Libya, which was part of Haftar’s push to stop GNA forces from advancing further into the country.
“That moment incensed many within the Department of Defense, but the only facet that was made public back then was AFRICOM naming and shaming the Russians publicly. The other facet of course was that the Americans knew full well that part of the Wagner mission in Libya was likely paid for by Abu Dhabi.” Harchaoui added.