The Bible Magazine About Bible in the News Contact Us
Russia seeks military bases in Libya
Russia is looking to move into Libya just as it did in Syria, fulfilling Bible Prophecy
iTunes Download Badge    Google Podcasts Download Badge    PodBean Podcast Badge
December 3, 2016 - Audio, 18.10 MIN
(Links at bottom of page to download free viewers.)

With a vacuum being created as America has withdrawn from the Middle East, Libya has been plunged into civil war and a war against ISIL. At the same time Russia is being courted to help the Libyans fight ISIL, and potentially build another Russian Base in the Middle East... just as the prophets foretold.

Libya figures in Bible prophecy in both the book of Daniel and Ezekiel 38. In both sections it is to do with the time of the end. In Ezekiel the confederacy that joins Rosh is described to us:

“Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.”(Ezekiel 38:5-7)

In the parallel section in Daniel 11, the cohorts of the King of the North are described to us:

“But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.” (Daniel 11:43)

Who are the Libyans?

Ezekiel’s Libya is the ancient nation of Phut (Strong’s #6316) in modern day form. They trace their origins back to the people of Ham in Genesis 10:

“And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.” (Genesis 10:6, also 1 Chronicles 1:8)

Canaan we are familiar with, Sudan and Ethiopia comprise the area of ancient Cush today, Mizraim is the ancient name of Egypt, and Phut is what we know today as Libya, albeit a larger tract of land.

Throughout the Bible they are depicted as a warlike people, often confederate with the Ethiopians. Jeremiah describes them:

“Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; And let the mighty men come forth; The Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; And the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.” (Jeremiah 46:9)

Ezekiel also describes them as men of war, a warrior people:

“They of Persia and of Lud and of Phut were in thine army, thy men of war: they hanged the shield and helmet in thee; they set forth thy comeliness.” (Ezekiel 27:10)

Nahum describes them as mercenaries:

“Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers.” (Nahum 3:9)

Nahum mentions they are also associated with the Lubim, this is the same word used in Daniel when he describes the

Libyans. They appear to be from a similar region, and again are seen in the Bible as a warlike people who utilized chariots and horsemen:

“With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.” (2 Chronicles 12:3)
“Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand.” (2 Chronicles 16:8)

So it is no surprise to find this people marching in stride with the King of the North, interested in getting in on the action in Israel in the latter days.

Libya Through History

Libya was ruled by the Carthaginians who were Phoenicians that established an empire there following the decline of the ancient nation of Tyre which was sieged by Nebuchadnezzar, later subjugated by Cyrus and the Persians, and eventually destroyed by Alexander the Great.

Carthage and Rome battled for control of Sicily during the Punic wars, made famous by Hannibal’s exploits in Europe. Carthage eventually fell to the Romans in 146 BC and ceased to be a major power, becoming a Roman client state under the name of Libya.

Libya was ruled by the Romans until Genseric’s Vandals conquered it in the 435 AD. It remained Christian until conquered by the Arabs under the banner of Islam in the 7th Century. It was taken by the Ottomans in 1551, and remained such until conquered by the Italians in 1911, gaining independence in 1951 under King Idris.

Libya’s Recent History

Colonel Gaddafi, inspired by Egypt’s Nasser, overthrew King Idris of Libya in 1969 and established a republic, and later a

socialist state ruled by his decree. He was an Arab nationalist who nationalized the oil industry in Libya and used its revenues to build the military. Libya has the 10th largest oil reserves in the world. Gaddafi was a strong supporter of the Palestinians, funding Black September which carried out the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the Olympics in West Germany in 1972. Gaddafi allied himself with the Soviet Union and in the late 70’s and 80’s.

He was responsible for the American PanAm airline bombing over Lockerby in Scotland 1988. Libya was a pariah state, and on the list of states sponsoring terror until 2006. For a while he had both a nuclear and chemical weapons program.

In 2011 the Arab Spring erupted across the Middle East. Libya was plunged into civil war and NATO supported the rebels with a no-fly zone, and targeted strikes. By September Gaddafi was on the run and was killed on October 20th. 

Since then Libya has had two governments, one in the east called the House of Representatives (H.O.R.), and one in the west called the General National Council (G.N.C) led by Prime Minister Serraj. A deal called the Skhirat Agreement was supposed to unite them under one house, but this has not materialized, as the H.O.R. would not approve it. While the H.O.R. government in the east and the G.N.C government in the west battle it out, they are also fighting ISIS simultaneously.

Filling an Unstable Vacuum.

The two warring governments have both courted the US. However, the USA has abandoned Libya. According to the Guardian Newspaper, the USA were:

…horrified that in the wake of the Benghazi attack on the US consulate in September 2012 that killed the ambassador and three other Americans, with political fallout in Washington that continues to this day, the Obama administration decided the country was too toxic and walked away. 

A vacuum has been created in Libya, similar to the situation in Iraq. The government has been removed, but in its place anarchy has ensued. The different tribes, once united under a powerful leader are vying for power.

Into this vacuum radical Islam has arisen as a threat to both sides, and an opportunity to others to rise to the surface. According to headlines, a man named Khalifa Haftar is a renegade general who is causing upheaval in Libya.

The Guardian reported of his exploits back in May of 2014,

Khalifa Heftar's offensive against the government that replaced Gaddafi – which he accuses of being a haven for terrorists – has been far more successful. It has seen him attack Islamist militias in Benghazi and the parliament in Tripoli. In less than a week key army units, political parties and tribal forces have rallied under his banner. On Thursday tension mounted  when a powerful brigade from Misrata deployed in the centre of the capital. The renegade general's moves are being closely watched both at home and abroad.

At the time he looked like another tribal leader who would come and go, as the Guardian reported.

Libya and Russia

This week Libya and Heftar resurfaced in the news headlines, and it is significant why. Hafter, the rebel general, asked Moscow for help in Libya back in June. The Middle Eastern Monitor reported on Tuesday:

Haftar was in Moscow in June to discuss weapons supplies, including aircraft spares, and Moscow’s potential role in helping to broker a settlement in Libya.
Last week, Haftar called on the international community to end the arms embargo on Libya, criticising it for hindering the fight against Daesh.

Following the meeting in June, the Russian News Agency TASS reported Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as stating:

"Libya is an example of catastrophic results of the mindless power politics aimed at changing regimes, an example of a catastrophe that was created by those who flagrantly violated the UN Security Council resolution on the no-fly zone," Lavrov said.

This past week Hafter again had met with the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday as Reuters reported:

Khalifa Haftar, the military commander of Libya’s eastern government, has met Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and said he was seeking Moscow’s help in his fight against Islamic militants at home.
Haftar, on his second visit to Moscow since the summer, requested military support from the Kremlin in September, according to Russian media.

The article pointed out that Haftar is officially asking Moscow for help:

Haftar, who is aligned with the eastern parliament and government based in Tobruk (H.O.R.), has been fighting a two-year military campaign with his Libyan National Army against Islamic extremists and other opponents in Benghazi and elsewhere in the east.
Many suspect he seeks national power.
Donning a Russian fur hat as he entered the snow-lashed foreign ministry, Haftar told Lavrov he had met Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu on Monday to tell him about his military needs.

So government affiliated General from Libya has gone to Russia to officially ask for Russia’s help in fighting a war against Daish, ISIS, or whatever label one wishes to put on the Islam group this week.

What is interesting is that Libya’s situation is blamed by Vladimir Putin on Western interference, helping to remove a leader and plunging a country into civil war.

It was under the same circumstances that Russia launched its military operations to support Syrian president Bashar al-Assad last year in the war against terrorism.

Russia has placed its support largely behind the Tobrok Parliament, as Lavrov stated back in June:

"We know about the attempts to ignore rather large units of Libyan tribes that have been most effectively fighting against IS militants that have taken root in many parts of Libya."
"There is a decision, approved by the UN Security Council," the Russian foreign minister said.
"This is the Skhirat agreement, which was concluded in Morocco at the end of 2015, in accordance with which the so-called government of national unity was established. However, the creation of this government - in accordance with the Skhirat agreement - must be ratified by a parliament, which will be recognized by the international community as the legitimate parliament of Libya that sits in Tobruk.

Lavrov made it clear that Russia has never abandoned Libya, unlike the USA, and  is working to help heal the rift in Libya:

"We are convinced that it is necessary to consolidate all the Libyan forces and only then take heed to the requests to the international community that will be put forward by the united Libyan people. The people who remember the Libya-Russia ties have never broken contact with us. We cooperate with them and support them in their aspiration for a nationwide dialogue and accord.

This week Lavrov praised General Haftar and the Libyan National Army according to TASS:

Moscow highly appreciates the role of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in upholding Libya’s independence and territorial integrity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday opening talks with LNA Commander Khalifa Haftar.
"We appreciate your role in protecting the country’s independence and territorial integrity," the minister said. "We can see how deeply you understand the interconnection between the struggle for sovereignty and the need to suppress terrorists."

Hafter reiterated that Russia is looking at how it can cooperate with the Libyan National Army to “combat terror”:

"Yesterday we had the honor of being received at the Russian Defense Ministry," the LNA commander said. "We discussed quite a few military issues outlining all requirements for combating terrorism."
"We hope that we will be able to eliminate terrorism with your support very soon," Haftar added.

Russian Base in Libya?

How far Russian support for Libya will go is something well worth watching. A DEBKAfile report stated Russian support was a “New Putin move to win a military base in Libya.” The report gave detail:

Libyan Gen Khalifa Hafter arrived in Moscow Sunday, Nov. 26, with a request for Russian arms and military support for his army. He was welcomed in Moscow, which saw an opening for Russia to gain its first military base in North Africa. According to DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources, President Vladimir Putin began to envision a second Mediterranean base on the coast of Benghazi, twin to Hmeimim in Syria’s Latakia. This one would accommodate Russian naval as well as air units and be located 700km from Europe.

The report outlined some of the practical aid being offered:

Putin is now offering Hafter’s army jet fighters attack helicopters, armored vehicles and assorted missiles as well as air support for fighting the Islamic State.

The target is the Islamic state, the very same target that Russia is purportedly fighting in Syria. It is going to help protect Libya from the threat. This is in keeping with the words of Ezekiel that identify Libya as an ally of Russia at the time of the end:

“Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.”(Ezekiel 38:5-7)

Russia is to be a guard unto the host that is gathered to it. It has already assumed this role with regards to Iran and Syria.

Now it appears to be picking up the mantle in Libya. The DEBKAfile report went on to point out the significance of Russia’s involvement:

At all events, Russian planes in Hmeimim are capable of covering the 1,500km distance to Libya, while the Russian carrier Admiral Kusnetzev is anchored not far away, off Syria’s Mediterranean shore. Both are therefore available for operations in support of the Libyan general.
This would be the first time a Russian aircraft carrier went into action in this part of the Mediterranean.
The battles ongoing along the Mediterranean coast his week among the various militias, including Hafter’s army, are in fact a tug-o’-war for control of Libya’s oil fields. Libya’s oil riches are certainly not absent from Putin’s calculations. Moscow’s assistance in helping his Libyan visitor gain the upper hand in this struggle could augur the first Russian stake in the Libyan oil industry.

 Don’t forget that Libya’s oil fields are the 10th largest in the world. Russia has rebuilt its military on the proceeds from the oil and gas industry, and it is well known that a large part of Russia’s global strategy is control of energy.

It will be well worth watching Libya in the months ahead, as Russia may repeat its actions in Syria, rushing the aid of the nation that “invites” it in to help deal with ISIL.

We know the alliance will form in the end, exactly how it will happen we do not know, but it is fascinating to see the moves being made to bring this about right before our eyes. We know that we are living at the time of the end! 

For the Bible in the News this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.


Bible in the News provides a weekly analysis of world politics and events
in the light of Bible prophecy — the Bible in the News!