Russia has a new potential leader for Libya. His name is Qaddafi.
The former dictator’s son, Saif al-Islam, this month became the latest in a long line of Libyans to seek Moscow’s support as President Vladimir Putin steps up Russia’s role in the energy-rich North African state.
Moscow has until now been seen as throwing in its lot with Khalifa Haftar, a military strongman who controls most of the oil-producing east of Libya. Yet Russia has been quietly building ties with all the competing factions, according to two European diplomats who study the Kremlin’s strategy. That puts it in a position to benefit more than other outside powers that support one side or another.