Turkey and Russia Up the Ante in Libya

Turkey and Russia Up the Ante in Libya

An uneasy ceasefire in Libya is now more tenuous than ever, thanks to Russian and Turkish military upgrades in the war-torn country.

After several years of protracted fighting, all sides in this conflict are ready for it to end. As a result, prospects for a long-term solution have never been better. Now, according to numerous reports, the Turks are bolstering their presence at several air bases near the Tunisian border. Observers speculate that the Turks plan to base jet fighters there. Meanwhile, Russian mercenaries, perhaps with the assistance of the United Arab Emirates, are on the move in other parts of Libya.

The UN has accused Turkey of violating an international arms embargo. Russian officials, who have always steadfastly denied any interest in the conflict, are now at least privately expressing support for the Tobruk “government.”

The Libyan Civil War

Democratic forces overthrew longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi during the First Libyan Civil War in 2011. For a while, it seemed that the transition to a republican government might be rather seamless. Then, the Arab Spring protests rocked the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region in 2013. A second civil war started the next year, as several groups wrestled for power. As is often the case, foreign governments looking to expand their influence in the oil-rich country deployed military forces to Libya in order to bolster certain groups and ensure that the instability and chaos continued.

General National Congress forces, with support from Turkey and some other Arab nations, gained control over Tripoli and a large slice of western Libya. The GNC is the closest thing Libya has to a democratically-elected government, although by most measurements, it is little more than an extension of Gadaffi.

The upstart House of Representatives, which took power in a 2014 “election,” controls much of the country, including Tobruk and other major cities in the east. The HoR, which Russia supports, is closely affiliated with the Government of National Accord, a body which the United Nations recognizes as Libya’s legitimate government.

After several years of fighting, these two sides united against a common enemy, driving ISIS from most of the country. The two-year joint campaign to expel ISIS ended with a GNC and HoR/GNA ceasefire in 2018.

All sides have largely observed this ceasefire, but a permanent peace solution remains elusive, even though talks began in 2015. However, there are currently plans to hold national elections in March 2021. If these elections are relatively fair, there is a good chance that international organizations might end the oil blockade. That move, along with a truly legitimate government, could stabilize the country.

The coronavirus outbreak, which might not be substantially better by spring 2021, darkens these bright prospects. Increased activity by foreign powers darkens these prospects even further. So, right now, it is wait and see.

Contractors in Libya

To oversimplify, it is almost impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys in Libya, at least at this time. So, deploying regular servicemembers to protect U.S. interests is probably a bad idea. Such a deployment would clearly associate the Americans with one side in this conflict.

Contractor deployment has no such political implications. Contractors are purely defensive. Their only mission is to protect Americans.

Furthermore, contractors provide stability in unstable situations. An armed contractor on a street corner is not affiliated with a government or aspiring government. Such deterrence simply keeps people on their best behavior.

In Libya, local militants are not the only parties to deter. Countries like Russia and Turkey could claim a significant chunk of the country, and its oil revenue, for themselves. Such an outcome is contrary to self-determination and other ideals which guid American foreign policy.

Contractors also develop relationships, with politicians and with everyday citizens. Once the situation in Libya stabilizes, contractors can work with politicians to train armed forces, maintain sophisticated weapons, and otherwise help ensure continued stability. In the here and now, relationships with civilians often produce important intelligence information about rogue militant activities. And, there are currently about a dozen warlords in Libya who only care about increasing their own power.

Being the sheriff in a lawless area is a very dangerous occupation. So, these contractors risk serious injury from the moment they step off the plane.

Eventually, Libya will need to be rebuilt. When that happens, contractors could become even more important. Construction contractors do much of the work on projects like dams, roads, and hospitals. Combat contractors keep these workers safe.

Injury Compensation Available

A trauma injury or occupational disease usually robs families of their primary or only source of income. Stress over unpaid bills makes it almost impossible for victims to focus on their recoveries. In fact, this stress usually makes their physical conditions worse.

Enter the Defense Base Act and its wage replacement benefit. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, this benefit could take one of several different forms.

  • Temporary Total Disability: Most victims cannot work until they recover. In these situations, the DBA usually pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of this disability.
  • Temporary Partial Disability: Other victims are able to work as they recover. But they cannot work as many hours and they cannot work in the same dangerous environment. In these situations, the DBA usually pays two-thirds of the difference between the victim’s old and new salaries.
  • Permanent Total Disability: Almost any trauma injury or occupational disease could be completely disabling, largely depending on the nature of the injury and the victim’s pre-existing conditions, if any. If the victim cannot work again, the DBA usually compensates the family for the future lost wages.
  • Permanent Partial Disability: Examples of PPD injuries include broken bones which never entirely heal and permanent Traumatic Brain Injuries. Even though emerging prosthetic devices and brain injury treatments are changing the nature of PPD injuries, financial compensation is still available.

The DBA’s no-fault benefits also include medical bill payment. This benefit usually applies to every expense front eh first moment of emergency care to the last day of physical therapy. The DBA also pays for ancillary medical expenses, such as medevac costs and pricey prescription drugs.

For more detailed information about medical bill payment and other DBA benefits, contact Barnett, Lerner, Karsen, Frankel & Castro, P.A.