US lawmakers call for action in Libya to counter Russia

Despite President Donald Trump saying the US should step back from Libya, Republican Sen. Bob Corker and Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin on Tuesday called for US engagement in the North African country.
“The United States must be engaged,” Cardin said. “When we don’t have representative governments … it creates a void, and that void is filled by ISIS, as we’ve seen in northern Africa, and it’s filled by Russia, which we’re seeing Russia’s engagement now in Libya.”
On April 20, Trump said that the US has no role in Libya beyond combating ISIS. “I think the United States has right now enough roles,” he said.
In summer 2016, Moscow engaged with Libya for the first time since former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddhafi was killed in 2011.
When Gaddhafi was ousted, Russia lost billions of dollars in arms contracts with Libya, which were 12% of the Kremlin’s arms exports in 2010. They also had hundreds of millions of dollars invested in oil and gas exploration in the country.
Three governments are currently vying for power in Libya, along with several insurgent groups, such as ISIS.
Moscow supports the faction led by military commander Khalifa Haftar, while the US and NATO back the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Sarraj.

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