Russian miltary base attacked by ISIS

STRATFOR – a private global intelligence firm has published an article showing that a Russian base has been attacked by ISIS in Syria.

In Ezekiel 38, God says to Gog (latter day Russia):

I will put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet.

Hooks in Jaws: why did God choose to use a violent analogy?

The placing of ‘hooks in jaws’ was a brutal tradition conceived by the ancient neo-Assyrian’s.

The Assyrian’s typically put hooks in the jaws of defeated enemies, either for the purposes of humiliation or to deport them to other lands. This practices is often described in their annuls, and graphically depicted in their wall relief’s.

~ The IVP Bible Background Commentary

Why does God choose to use an ancient Assyrian practice to explain how he will drag Russia south to build a confederacy?

Perhaps because it would be an Assyrian like power – ISIS – that would provoke Russia to move South, and establish and guard a confederacy of nations.

Here is an article that deals briefly with some of the similarities between the Assyrian’s and ISIS:

Some similarities are listed here:

  • Both powers are known for executing absolute and excessive barbarity, and subsequently advertising it to their enemies. For example, enemies of the ancient Assyrian regime were beheaded in public, and the walls of their cities were lined with impaled men, women and children in order to send a message to their enemies. In the 21st century, ISIS use social media and other technologies to project their gruesome decapitations to the world.
  • The capital of the ancient Assyrian empire was located in Nineveh. Today, The Islamic States biggest city – Mosul – surrounds the ruins of Nineveh, and is the hometown of ISIS.
  • The Assyrian’s wiped out virtual all culture prior to them as do ISIS today.
  • Women were forced into slavery by the ancient Assyrian’s as they are today, under ISIS

So there are many indicators which show that ISIS bears many of the hallmarks of the ancient neo-Assyrian empire.

Is ISIS the Hooks in the Jaws that we are witnessing today?

Read more about this here.

Putin withdrawing Russian troops from Syria

“President Vladimir Putin dropped a bombshell Monday when he suddenly ordered his defense and foreign ministers to start pulling “the main part” of Russian forces out of Syria the next morning” – DEBKA.

News-media around the world are stunned by this announcement. The US is in consternation as to what on earth has caused Putin to do this.

Firstly, lets be clear, Russia is not leaving Syria all together. According to Russian state media, ‘Moscow will maintain a military presence in Syria, and a deadline for complete withdrawal has not yet been announced. Putin also indicated that Russian forces will remain at the port of Tartus and Hmeymim airbase in Latakia.

Speculation about the Russian motive is rife with most US agencies skeptical of Putins claims.

One source which has proved itself to be impeccable – breaking news well in advance of all other sources – is Debka, who have this to say about the withdrawal:

“A deep rift with Tehran over the continuation of the Syrian war and an irreconcilable spat with Syrian ruler Bashar Assad over his future prompted Russian President Vladimir’s shock order Monday, March 14, for the “main part” of Russian military forces to quit Syria the next morning.

The Russian president may have acted now because he was simply fed up with the interminable bickering with his two allies, which was going nowhere except for the continuation of the calamitous five-year war. He therefore presented them with a tough fait accompli. If you want to carry on fighting, fine; but count the Russian army out of it.”

Despite the speculation, one thing is clear: Russian intentions are as clear as mud.

At any rate, if Russia does leave Syria, it will leave a far more scalable contingent in Syria than what it had before it entered in September. It wouldn’t be too hard for Russia to sweep down harder and faster at another date.


Putin: the Opportunist

This article is part of a series authored by STRATFOR – a geopolitical intelligence firm that provides strategic analysis and forecasting. For other articles by Stratfor click here.

Last October, when Russia had just begun its military intervention in Syria, U.S. President Barack Obama spurned the idea that Russia could challenge U.S. leadership in the Middle East. In a 60 Minutes interview, he said, “Mr. Putin is devoting his own troops, his own military, just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally. The fact that they had to do this is not an indication of strength; it’s an indication that their strategy did not work.” Two months later, as Russia’s military presence in Syria deepened further, Obama remained dismissive of Putin’s strategy, noting that “with Afghanistan fresh in the memory, for him [Putin] to simply get bogged down in an inconclusive and paralyzing civil conflict is not the outcome that he is looking for.”

Washington can continue to underestimate Russia at its own peril. Russia has indeed poured resources into a maddeningly inconclusive conflict, but so has the United States and so will others who cannot be tempted away from the geopolitical proxy battleground complicated by the presence of jihadists. The problem is that the layers to Russia’s strategy tend to be too dense for the Western eye. For Russia, the Syrian battleground is not about propping up an ally through reckless spending, nor is it simply about pursuing an alternative strategy to defeat the Islamic State. Syria is a land of opportunity for Russia. This is the arena where self-control, patience and a careful identification and exploitation of its opponents’ strengths and weaknesses will enable Russia to reset its competition with the West.

Realpolitik, Russian-Style

The Russian economy is staggering amid low oil prices. Kremlin power struggles are intensifying. And social unrest is increasing nationwide. The United States is reinforcing European allies all along Russia’s western flank. This scene does not suggest a perfect record for the Russian leader, but Putin is also a skilled practitioner of realpolitik. Moscow has a sober ruthlessness and resourcefulness that it will employ to try to make up for its most obvious weaknesses.

In Realpolitik: A History, historian John Bew gives credit to an oft-overlooked German politician, August Ludwig von Rochau, for conceptualizing the pragmatism behind this political philosophy. In Foundations of Realpolitik, which Rochau wrote in the mid-19th century during the formative years of the German nation-state, he said, “The Realpolitik does not move in a foggy future, but in the present’s field of vision, it does not consider its task to consist in the realization of ideals, but in the attainment of concrete ends, and it knows, with reservations, to content itself with partial results, if their complete attainment is not achievable for the time being. Ultimately, the Realpolitik is an enemy of all kinds of self-delusion.”

Rochau’s profile of a state run by realpolitik has Putin’s Russia written all over it. Russia’s inherent vulnerabilities may deny it lasting glory, much less the ability to put the brakes on Western encroachment. Moscow will, however, be quick to come to terms with uncomfortable realities and will take what it can get when the opportunity arises.

A skilled opportunist will create the opportunity he or she seeks to exploit. Syria is the contemporary axis of geopolitical conflict. By enabling a loyalist siege on Aleppo, Russia has demanded the attention of Berlin, Washington and Ankara in one fell swoop. Some 100,000 Syrians have fled Aleppo in the past two weeks, and that number could rapidly multiply if the city is besieged.

For German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that means another wave of migrants that will push Europe deeper into crisis as borders snap shut along the Balkan route, nationalist political forces capitalize on fear and unrest driven by the migrant flows, and problematic debtor states in the southern periphery use the crisis to charge back at Berlin and Brussels for burdening them with a refugee crisis while trying to crush them with austerity measures. It is no coincidence that Russia is using every opportunity to endorse and amplify the views of those very same Euroskeptic forces that are giving Merkel and other mainstream politicians in Europe a daily migraine as they warily shift further to the right to remain tolerable to their constituencies.

Putin cannot halt the flow of migrants to Europe, but Russia’s military involvement in Syria does give him the power to increase the pain on Europe. That could prove a useful lever for Russia; using it allows Moscow to divide the Continent and potentially extract a veto from within the bloc on issues such as continuing Russian sanctions and responding to Poland’s request for permanent bases on Europe’s eastern flank.

For U.S. President Barack Obama, the siege on Aleppo represents an attack from all directions. Russia’s attempt to accelerate the fragmentation of Europe undermines a critical network of U.S. allies while creating the potential for much bigger crises on a Continent that, for all its sophistication, is hardly immune to barbaric conflict. As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said this past week at the Munich Security Conference, “We in the United States aren’t sitting across the pond thinking somehow we’re immune … America understands the near existential nature of this threat to the politics and fabric of life in Europe.” The White House may understand what lies at stake at the intersection between the European crisis and the Syrian civil war, but it is also less prepared to manage Russia’s role in this meta-conflict.

It is well known that Russia has been bombing many of the rebels whom the United States needs as ground proxies in the fight against the Islamic State. Even at tepid points of negotiation, like the cease-fire announcement that emerged from talks between Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, at Munich this past week, major caveats are created for Russia to exploit. While playing the role of the diplomat and shuttling between capitals to organize peace talks over Syria, Russia can continue bombing at will, claiming that it is targeting Jabhat al-Nusra and other targets on its black list. And so long as Russia can play the role of the spoiler, the United States will lumber along in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria at a frustratingly slow pace.

Playing the Kurdish Card

For Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Russian-backed loyalist offensive in Aleppo brings Turkey’s geopolitical imperatives to the fore. The most obvious stressor on Turkey is the potential for tens of thousands of refugees to continue spilling across the border at the same time Europe is curbing the flow of migrants on the Continent. Turkey’s long-proposed solution to this dilemma is not to do Europe any favors by simply absorbing the refugees itself but by creating a “safe zone” in northern Syria where refugees would reside and where Turkey could establish a security perimeter. With a security footprint in northern Iraq, Turkey could then establish a blocking position against the Kurds in northern Syria.

As its relationship with Turkey deteriorated, Russia made no secret of its growing communications with Kurdish rebels in Syria belonging to the People’s Protection Units (YPG). This is an old play in the Russian handbook. As I discussed in an earlier weekly, 1946 was pivotal to understanding the fundamental tension that has persisted between Turkey and Russia for centuries. This was a time when the Soviets, wary of a growing relationship between the United States and Turkey, were also casting a covetous eye on the Turkish-controlled straits, which provided critical access between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

The Soviet Embassy in Ankara delivered reports to the Soviet Foreign Ministry on “the Kurdish question,” and Soviet propaganda carefully leaked bits of such reports in the press to ensure that the Turks, as well as the Americans, were aware that Moscow was studying the Kurdish question and was prepared to help ignite Kurdish separatism in the fledgling Turkish republic. One report from December 1946 compiled by the Soviet Foreign Ministry’s Department of the Near and Middle East highlighted that the Czarist government played the Kurdish card regularly to weaken the Ottoman Empire during the late 19th century when it “stirred up discontent with the Turkish government among the Kurds and bought their support with money and lavish promises.”

The lavish promise that Russia can hold in front of the Kurds today is the prospect of a united and autonomous Kurdish state stretching from Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan to northern Iraq. Indeed, the Russian-backed loyalist offensive in Aleppo has enabled the YPG to move beyond its territory in northwestern Syria eastward toward Azaz along the Turkish border. From Turkey’s point of view, the longer Ankara remains behind the Turkish side of the border, the better the chances that Afrin canton has to eventually link up to a swathe of Kurdish-controlled territory west of the Euphrates River, creating a de facto Kurdish state on the Turkish border to go along with the already autonomous and independence-minded Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq. Even if legitimate obstacles render such a scenario unlikely on the battlefield in the near term, Turkey will nonetheless be operating under these assumptions.

And Russia knows not only how to get under Turkey’s skin but also how to make Turkey break out in hives over the Kurdish threat. In a very public move, Russia last week took the liberty of inaugurating an office in Moscow for the Democratic Union Party, the political arm of the YPG in Syria, inviting members from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party and even representatives from Ukraine’s rebel Donbas region for good measure. Bestowing legitimacy on the Kurdish rebel groups that Turkey is painstakingly trying to exclude from the negotiating table while enabling Kurdish rebel advances on the Syrian battlefield was simply too much for Erdogan to bear. As a result, Turkish artillery is now pounding YPG positions in the north around Azaz and Tel Rifaat, and Turkey is repeating the same message back to the White House: Washington and Ankara will just have to agree to disagree on the Kurdish question in Syria.

In our 2016 annual forecast, we highlighted that Russia will intensify its air operations in Syria to try to tie Turkey’s hands but that inaction was not an option for Ankara. Instead, driven by the Kurdish threat among other factors, Turkey would assemble a coalition including Saudi Arabia to mitigate obstacles on the Syrian battlefield. This is exactly the scenario currently in play, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates preparing to carry out operations from Turkey’s Incirlik base. Turkey will not allow itself to be tied down by the Russians and will do whatever it takes to force the U.S. hand in enabling a Turkish military move into northern Syria. The Turkish message to Washington is that the Turkish government cannot be regarded as just another tribe or faction on the Syrian battlefield; instead, it is a nation-state with national interests at stake. As Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan said, you cannot play defensively at all times and still expect to win a match.

The United States does not mind Turkey’s being on the offensive in northern Syria if it means stronger action against the Islamic State, but there is still the matter of dealing with Moscow. Turkey, not to mention Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is not about to make an impulsive move in northern Syria. All three countries understand the risks associated with putting forces in the air and on the ground with Russian — and potentially even Iranian — fighter jets operating in the same space. The proliferation of players on the battlefield is inevitable, but the task of mitigating the potential for skirmishes falls to Washington.

Bringing the Negotiation Back to Washington

With Aleppo fully in play, all Putin had to do was wait for the phone call. On Feb. 13, the White House told the media that Obama called Putin and urged him to end the Russian campaign in Syria. We can assume that the conversation went well beyond the United States telling Russia to stop it. Russia, after all, designed its intervention in Syria with the hope of it culminating in an understanding with the United States. Syria holds a layer of strategic interest on its own for the Russians, but Syria by itself is eclipsed by a Russian imperative to slow the encroachment of Western military forces in Russia’s former Soviet periphery. While Ukraine remains in political limbo under an increasingly fragile government in Kiev, an increasingly coherent bloc of countries in Eastern Europe is forming around the Visegrad Group (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia). Poland, in particular, is pushing for a more robust NATO presence on Europe’s eastern flank with Russia. To improve its chances of coaxing NATO into fortifying its position, Poland is sending a few F-16 fighters to support the mission in Syria as a show of good faith. Discussions meanwhile continue between Washington and Bucharest over boosting NATO’s deployments to the Black Sea, with Turkey more willing to entertain such discussion now that its relationship with Russia has hit the floor.

These are all measures that the United States can escalate or de-escalate depending on how it wants to direct the negotiations it is conducting with Moscow. The United States can assure Moscow that limits will be placed on NATO’s plans for Europe, though any such assurances could well expire with a new president in the White House come January 2017. The United States has also attempted to nudge Kiev on making political concessions toward the eastern rebel regions in Ukraine, but thegovernment is simply too weak and sorely lacking in political will to make the kinds of compromises that would satisfy Moscow.

In Search of Russia’s Achilles’ Heel

Russia has played the Kurdish card effectively against Turkey, but could Moscow eventually get a taste of its own medicine? The volume and spread of Russian protests across the country have increased significantly over the past year as the economic crisis has deepened. Even as the Russian government has pre-emptively cracked down on opposition groups, disgruntled workers and nongovernmental organizations that outsiders could exploit to destabilize Russia from within, it would be impossible to seal all of its cracks.

Legislative elections are slated for September, elections that could test whether a large number of disparate protests can cohere into a more substantial threat on the streets. Even as the Kremlin threatens to place missiles in Kaliningrad, Russian security forces have been cracking down heavily on opposition forces in the exclave territory on the Baltic Sea, where any hint of secession or questioning of Russia’s control over the territory will rapidly capture the attention of the Kremlin.

Russia’s main vulnerabilities tend to be concentrated in the Muslim-majority North Caucasus, where Putin built a legacy on ending the Chechen war. To uphold that legacy, Putin has gone out of his way to endorse the antics of Ramzan Kadyrov, the firebrand leader of Chechnya whose Instagram displays of loyalty to Putin and Trump-like rhetoric have had a polarizing effect on Russian opposition, hardcore nationalists and powerful members of Russia’s Federal Security Bureau. Nonetheless, Kadyrov is a tool to contain Chechnya that Putin will not be willing to sacrifice any time soon. Perhaps more problematic for Putin is a rise in Salafist and ultra-conservative influence in Dagestan, where crackdowns and militant activity are rising and where an overconfident Kadyrov could end up using instability in Dagestan to extend his territorial control.

These pressure points on Russia will be important to watch in the months ahead as Russia navigates the bends and bumps in its negotiation with Washington, Ankara, Berlin and the Gulf states. At the same time, it would be a mistake simply to assume that unrest in Russia will organically swell to the point of overwhelming the Russian government and forcing a reduction in military activities abroad.Russia’s ability to absorb economic pain is higher than most, and the decision to continue operations in places such as Syria and Ukraine rests on far more than financial considerations.

Know Thy Enemy

As the United States calculates its next moves, it must understand the layers to Russian strategy and avoid simplistic characterizations. It is easy to brand Putin a thug and a bully, but Putin understands the limits of brute force and, more important, internalizes the notion of using an enemy’s force against him. This is reflected in his love of judo, which he often describes as a philosophy and way of life. As Putin says, judo teaches that an apparently weak opponent can not only put up a worthy resistance but may even win if the other side relaxes and takes too much for granted. Back in October, the White House and others derided the Russians for not learning their lesson in Afghanistan, expecting the combination of an economic recession and a resource-intensive civil war in Syria to come back to bite the Russians. That day could still come, but the West should not wait for it either.

There is a long stretch in between where Russian strategy will have the potential to penetrate deep into the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State, the European crisis and Turkey’s existential battle with the Kurds. Putin has already spent a great deal of time, energy and resources into setting up this stage of its negotiation with the United States, but he will also not be deluded by the idea that he can fully attain its geopolitical goals. The realpolitik side of the Kremlin will content itself with partial results, and those results may show themselves on the Syrian battlefield, in eastern Ukraine or — should negotiations fail — not at all. In case of the latter, the next phase of crisis that results will extend well beyond the besieged city of Aleppo.

2015 in Review – What a Year!

Wow. What a year 2015 has been!

It can’t be long till our Lord returns.

As we usher in 2016, lets reflect on some of the tremendous events of this past year, events which remind us of Gods sure word of prophecy:

all subheadings

1 – Egypt discovers a Supergiant gas field.

“He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt” – (Daniel 11)

As one brother aptly described it; “This is huge. It’s almost too perfect. It’s what we have been waiting for.” Why is it so significant? Because in Daniel 11, the King of the North invades Egypt to take her precious gold and silver. Until recently, Egypt didn’t seem to have anything that would be of significant value to Russia, but now they do. Putin, who has a doctorate in the “Exploitation of natural resources of the benefit of the Russian economy” will no doubt be intrigued by this discovery.

Articles: Egypt discovers a Supergiant Gas field

2 – Russia moves into Syria to fight terrorism.

“And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords” – (Ezekiel 38)

Ezekiel prophesied (in chapter 38) that Russia would have hooks placed in its jaws, and that it would be dragged down to form a coalition which would eventually come against Israel. There is only one such civilisation infamous for that technique in ancient history, that is, the ancient Assyrian’s. Today, an Assyrian like power – ISIS – have caused Russia to move south and protect its access to international waters.

Articles: “Hooks in Jaws” = ISIS? | Russia acts to protect Tartus

3 – Turkey shoots down a Russian warplane.

“The Ottoman dynasty must of course be driven out of Europe. The occupation of the Dragon’s throne by a non-catholic royalty is clearly exceptional… Hence the Sultan must be ejected that a dynasty patronizing a high priest who forbids to marry may come in. When there for the Czar gets possession of Constantinople he will not be hostile to the Pope.” – (John Thomas, Anatolia)

The decision to shoot down a Russian war-plane has caused grief for Turkey ever since it happened. Russia responded with a range of economic, geopolitical and military measures and threats which have aggravated Turkey and only escalated the rift. Based on Daniel 11 and other sections of scripture, brother Thomas stipulated that at some point Russia would invade Turkey. The resulting aggression between the two belligerents could well be the beginning of such a conflict.

Articles: Why Russia will take Turkey

4 – Russian airliner crashes over Egypt.

“He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.” – (Daniel 11)

Daniel 11 shows that the King of the North will “stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.” Ever since the airliner crash, Egypt has continued to deny that the crash was a result of terrorist activity and yet Putin strongly affirms that it is. This divergence could become a sore point for Putin.

2015 Review

1 – Nationalism Surges in Europe & Russia.

Given this is a phenomena we expect to result from the spirit of the frogs (Revelation 16), one might say that it would be very convenient for me to pick this phrase out of thin air, however, this is not my observation: STRATFOR – a global intelligence firm noted the resurgence in European nationalism during 2015. Forbes also noted that Russian nationalism is on the rise, and both Putin and the Russia Orthodox Church are directly contributing to this.

Articles: Forbes on Russian Nationalism | STRATFOR on European Nationalism

2 – Israeli / Palestinian Conflict

This has been a significant theme since the United Nations summit when Abbas (the Palestinian President) threatened to do something which could be cataclysmic. Around that time, clashes began on the temple mount in Jerusalem and since then the crisis has continued. The United Nations responded by offering to put international troops in Jerusalem to curb the crisis. Zech 12 speaks of a time when Jerusalem will be a “cup of trembling unto all the people round about… and in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people”. Joel reminds us “behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, (our time – the return of Israel back to their land) – I will also gather all nations”. Today, we can see the gathering of nations in Syria, while a few hundred miles south, in Jerusalem, a conflict is brewing.

Articles: UN offer to install peacekeepers in Jerusalem

 3 – Russia seeks global intervention & control (not just Syria)

2015 can be remembered as the year when Putin sought to occupy and/or control not only all territories which belonged to the ancient King of the North (Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan) but also started to re-establish ties with the nations of the coalition of Ezekiel 38; Libya and Sudan (ancient Ethiopia). This is a discreet but significant development, and it is timed with Russia’s move south into Syria. Ezekiel 38 talks about the time when Russia will be dragged south in order to form a coalition, and 2015 seems to be the year in which this has begun.

Articles: Libya seeks Russias military help | Sudan & Russia sign 14 cooperation agreements | Putin seeks to occupy Afghanistan | Iraqi MP’s seek to replace the US with Russia |

4 – Contention/fears around the Golan

Debka reports that Israel is extremely nervous about Russian operations on its Golan border. The Golan heights is contested territory with the majority of the international community including Russia asserting that the heights belong to Syria. Infact a few months ago, Russia joined in on international condemnation of Israel for its continued occupation. The discovery of large amounts of oil on the Golan has only exacerbated fears of a conflict. Read about the unfolding story here:

Article: This is what could cause Russia to invade Israel

5 – A Looming Financial Crisis

Numerous predictions by mainstream economic experts of a looming financial crisis. 2015 saw a historical global stock-market hiccup in August when the Dow Jones dropped over 1000 points – the biggest intra-day point drop in history. Since then, the World bank, and other leading global banks have warned of impending global defaults which could contribute to a huge financial crisis. Our lord reminds us in Luke 17, that just before the return of Christ, general prosperity will be widespread. “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all: Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” 

Articles: Warnings from the World Bank | Gundlach: “something is very wrong with the world”

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

To follow coverage of current events for 2016 (if our Lord has not returned) follow our Facebook page at This blog will also continue to cover major events and themes relating to prophecy, as they happen during the year.

Libya seeks Russia’s military help

Republished with permission from Sputnik (Russian state owned news agency).

The Libyan Armed Forces’ Commander Brigadier General Khalifa Hafter has voiced his country’s readiness to cooperate with Russia in fighting terrorism, according to the Iranian news agency FARS.

“We welcome support from Russia in fighting terrorism,” the agency quotes Hafter as telling reporters after his meeting with United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Chief Martin Kobler in the city of Marj, Northeastern Libya.

The military leader assured that if Russia proposes a plan for fighting terrorism in Libya, Tripoli will cooperate with Moscow, adding that “Russians are serious in [the] fight against terrorists”.

Libya is currently run by two main rival governments, which are entangled in a violent, nationwide power struggle. Each side is backed by powerful armed groups which have dominated the Libyan scene since the elimination of the country’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The country’s capital Tripoli, is controlled by a political faction, known as the General National Congress, which was set up after an armed group called Libya Dawn seized the capital, Tripoli, last summer.

The UN-recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni is based in the eastern city of Bayda; its elected parliament moved from the capital Tripoli to Tobruk.

On Thursday, rival Libyan politicians signed a deal on a unity government despite opposition on both sides, in what the United Nations described as a “first step” towards ending the crisis.

World powers have urged the warring factions to break a political deadlock that has allowed jihadists and people-smugglers to flourish.

Meanwhile, the jihadist group Daesh (also known as ISIL/ISIS) has increased its presence in the Libyan Mediterranean city of Sirte, having apparently established its new base there, where it can “generate oil revenue and plan terror attacks”.

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