Samer Al-Atrush Profile picture
Feb 27, 2021 13 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Short thread here on Dmitry Utkin, the commander of the Russian Wagner mercenary force. A picture of this distinguished gentleman appeared on line showing he sports Nazi tattoos.… Image
Just off the bat, a spokesman for the litiguous Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of Wagner, denies Prigozhin's links to Wagner or Utkin and said my questions prompted a 10 minute Prigozhin rant. ImageImage
Now that's out of the way, the notorious Wagner group is in fact thought to be named after Utkin's military codename...Wagner--an affectation by the former special forces commander who has a penchant for white supremacist ideology
That Utkin has these tattoos comes as no surprise--his inclinations were already known, and those also of many of his fighters. In Libya, Wagner mercenaries left behind Nazi and white supremacist scrawlings in buildings they occupied. ImageImageImage
The one in Russian says: "I see mosques in Russia, but it's better to see them burn in hell". It was scrawled on the walls of a mosque in a Tripoli suburb. 14/88 means ""We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children" and Heil Hitler. Image
So none of this is surprising, although what is surprising is it took so long for a picture of Utkin's long reported Nazi tattoos to surface. This one did in December on some Russian VK accounts and a Telegram group affiliated with the mercenaries. Image
Like in many other parts of the world, especially Europe and North America, far right leanings among some members of the armed forces are common in Russia as well. But the type espoused by Utkin remains anathema in a country where millions died fighting Nazis
(speaking of the far right in Russia, Navalny, for example, holds racist views that would have him ostracised from public life in the West)
(I genuinely don't know why Prigozhin was so upset here. I didn't even ask for details of his conviction and present sentence which allegedly revolved around the sex trafficking of minors)
Back to Mr Utkin. In 2015 he was present, wearing his medals, at a Hero of the Fatherland reception in the Kremlin. The Kremlin later said he had been a recipient of the Order of Courage
By then Utkin was in charge of Wagner, which had deployed in Ukraine. The most recent command structure I could find on the group still lists him as boss ImageImage
This is the group that Khalifa Haftar, in a Faustian pact, invited to Libya to help anoint him as dictator. Now, his nationalist senior officers rue that decision.… Image
(OK so it wasn't a short thread)

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More from @SameralAtrush

Jun 10, 2021
Exclusive: After years in hiding, Saif al-Islam Qaddafi is poised to go public imminently as he considers running in elections this December, having conducted outreach to diplomats and journalists…
Saif al-Islam, who I spoke to by phone to verify his relationship with his political team, will be making a public statement (it will be via an interview with a Western newspaper).
His aides say it is premature for him to announce his candidacy, as the election law has yet to be ratified, but it is his aim to be president.
Read 7 tweets
Feb 27, 2021
Details of that drone strike on Juffra had not been fully published. A commander directly involved in the operation said the Emirati officers were in the Pantsir cab when struck. It was operational.
Turkey used several Bayraktars in the raid. The Pantsirs succeeded in downing at least two but could not take all of them on and the remaining drones destroyed them.
Read 4 tweets
Feb 27, 2021
Exclusive details: In 2019 a Turkish drone strike killed Emirati officers in Libya. The UAE then tried to move in an American Patriot battery to Libya, drawing a rebuke from the US.

Russia’s Wagner mercenaries calls the shots in fight for Libya…
The Biden administration wants the UAE to end financing the Wagner mercenaries in Libya, who answer only to Moscow and no longer pretend to work with Haftar.
Soon after the Russian Wagner mercenaries appeared on the front lines near Tripoli, United States officials warned Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the man who recruited them, that he was making a Faustian bargain.
Read 11 tweets
Feb 25, 2021
Exclusive: Remember that Pantsir, the Russian missile defence system the US extracted from Libya? It ended up in Turkey, under joint US and Turkish custody.…
The United States had ordered an operation to extract the Pantsir, fearing it could fall into the hands of extremists.Turkey, keen to study the Pantsir in detail, insisted it should take custody of it. Both sought to sway the Libyan government into siding with them.
The GNA’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and interior minister Fathi Bashagha “felt like children in a divorce,” said an official, explaining how the government in Tripoli was dragged into this international dispute.

They were relieved when the US and Turkey agreed a compromise.
Read 4 tweets
Jan 27, 2021
Exclusive: A Russian Pantsir air defence missile system captured on a Libyan battlefield was flown intact to a US air base in Germany in a covert mission, The Times has learnt.…
The operation involved sending a team on a US air force C-17 Globemaster cargo plane to Zuwara airport, west of Tripoli, last June to load the battery and transport it back to the Ramstein base
A Russian official said Moscow was aware the US removed the Pantsir but suggested its capture would be of limited intelligence value..Export versions..are stripped of a carefully guarded identification friend or foe database with the transponder codes for Russian air force jets
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Jan 26, 2021
Exclusive interview with Libyan NOC chairman Mustafa Sanallah:

London hub to play central role in Libya's oil expansion, and will award hundreds of millions in consulting and services contracts to British companies…
It dips every now and then, but production has risen to about 1.3 million barrels a day. Several more fields will be refurbished or go on line by April, adding about 80,000 bpd and raising production to 1.4 million, Sanalla said.
But a dilapidated infrastructure has placed a ceiling on production.We reach 1.3 million barrels a day, and then sometimes we return to 1.2 million and 1.25 million barrels a day, because we are always doing maintenance repairs. The ceiling is a big problem for us” Sanalla said
Read 4 tweets

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