Skip to Content

AFRICOM published “evidence” including this curious blurry picture. Photo: AFRICOM

Is US ‘evidence’ of Russian jet fighters in Libya real or fake?

A number of media outlets published reports which contained statements that Russian MiG-29 fighters and Su-24 front-line bombers were sent to Libya from Hmeimim airbase in Syria. These reports, reminiscent of a planned media campaign, culminated in a statement by the Africa Command of the US Armed Forces (AFRICOM).

Published: May 29, 2020, 3:13 pm

    Read more

    AFRICOM posted information on its official site that fighters of the Russian aerospace forces allegedly arrived at the Libyan Al-Jufra airbase, controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA) and Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

    “Russian fighters were delivered to Libya from a base in the Russian Federation. They were first brought to Syria, where, we believe, they were repainted to try to hide their origin,” AFRICOM announced in a peculiar statement on Tuesday.

    US military officials maintain that the purpose of the aircraft transfer is “to help Russian-backed private mercenaries operating in Libyan territory on behalf of the LNA”.

    As alleged evidence, AFRICOM published photographs of aircraft in the air, as well as satellite images of the Al-Jufra airbase, on which the appearance of a MiG-29 was marked.

    Both Russian authorities and representatives of the LNA denied such statements by AFRICOM.

    Nevertheless, AFRICOM Commander Stephen Townsend underlined that “for too long, Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict. Well, there is no denying it now”.

    But is the hamfisted evidence provided by AFRICOM really undeniable? Closer inspection of the supposed ineradicable “proof” have rather added to the number of question marks Townsend’s latest assertions raise.

    First of all, the actual quality of the photographs is quite bad and somewhat indistinct. It is generally not so clear what exactly the type of the plane is depicted on these pictures, not to mention images of Al-Jufra airbase which looks more like a screenshot from some videogame.

    Secondly, photos provided by AFRICOM do not include any information or caption on where and when precisely they were taken. Basically, it is just some images of the jet fighters in the sky, with no description on the direction and date of their flight. The same uncertain origin is evident when looking at the visual shots of some, allegedly Russian, airbase where MiG-29 and Su-35 are seen.

    It is neither clear what the airbase in question is since AFRICOM provided no information about that (and just published a photo with no caption) nor where the planes are headed.

    Thirdly, the statement by AFRICOM about repainted fighter jets in order to hide their origin sounds very bizzare to anyone who has basic knowledge of modern navigation and radar systems. Such systems are equipped with advanced electronics and detection devices which can be used to easily identify any military object – so stories about revamping some jet fighters will entertain only the youngest members of a kid’s aviation club but hardly real air force experts.

    Interestingly, the curious AFRICOM statement and pictures published by the US military elicited doubts also in the US media and society at large. In particular, an American news portal The Drive believes that Russian MiG-29 fighters, which Moscow may have sent to Libya from Syria, raise too many questions.

    “It is still unclear how the planes were able to fly from Hmeimim air base to Al-Jufra base, the distance between which reaches almost 2100 km. Most of the MiG-29, with the exception of the modified MiG-29KR and MiG-29SMT, do not provide refueling in the air,” The Drive underscored.

    Understandably, any accusation, especially on such a serious topic as the involvement of other countries in conflicts of foreign states, should be carefully investigated and researched. A similar view was expressed by the German Bundestag member Stefan Keuter who believes that “a neutral investigation of the actual or alleged presence of Russian military aircraft in Libya is required”.

    Incidentally, it is worth mentioning that the “evidence” which was published by the US authorities and mainstream media is no longer necessarily credible since the many precedents of fake news being proliferated.

    One shining example of the spread of fake news is the sensational confession by BBC producer Riam Dalati in February 2019. Dalati confirmed that the video which covered “suffering of Syrian children from a chemical attack” was in fact fake. Alarmingly, this very video was the reason for the US strike on Syria in April of 2018.

    opinion@freewestmedia.com

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Africa

    Gambia refuses to take back deported migrants

    BanjulThe government of the West African mini-state Gambia is not even considering taking back its own citizens in the course of repatriations. Their argument is that this would lead to “social unrest”.

    A comparison of the Taliban and South Africa’s armies

    KabulIn the cockpit of one of the four Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft that the Taliban now have in their new air force, the victor looked particularly pleased. Why were these planes not flown out before they fell into the hands of the Taliban? Photos of the evacuation show how cables have been cut off and instrumentation partially broken, indicating that they were forced to abandon them at very short notice.

    British Medical Journal: ‘Why have so many African leaders died of Covid-19?’

    TeneneriveBeing an African leader in a Covid pandemic has been perilous since they die “seven times above estimates of the world’s average for a demographic profile of similar sex and age average for the same period,” according to a British study.

    The biggest riots in 100 years in South Africa

    JohannesburgDuring the week of 11 to 17 July 2021, South African experienced devastating riots, looting and violence during which more than 200 people lost their lives and R100 billion (about €6 billion) of damage was done to businesses and general infrastructure.

    Coincidence? Three presidents dead after blocking distribution of Covid vaccines

    The leaders of three different countries died after having stopped the distribution of the experimental Covid-19 jabs. All three countries took the decision to distribute the vaccines to their citizens only after their leaders passed away.

    South African Minister of Police complains about curious discovery of ammunition

    Richards BayThe South African Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, claims to have "discovered" thousands of rounds of ammunition just lying in the street. This unlikely scenario of abandoned ammunition amidst the ongoing plundering of the country, is designed to justify the upcoming Firearm Amendment Bill which will end citizen's right to self defense.

    South Africa: Whites abandon their homes as mobs spread mayhem

    DurbanDurban is the third most populous city in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town and the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Zulus, the largest black tribe in the country, form the largest single ethnic group in the city too. FreeWestMedia has received reports of residents in areas hardest hit by ongoing riots, abandoning their homes. What may have started as a political protest has descended into anarchy.

    South Africa: EFF’s Julius Malema call on supporters to join looters

    JohannesburgEconomic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has incited his followers to continue the violence and looting should the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) be deployed in support of the police. Even as President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke in a televised address to the nation on Monday, illegally armed, violent marauding mobs were challenging law enforcement.

    Demography is destiny: The future will be African

    Our future will be African. By 2100, one in three people on the planet will be African according to all demographic forecasts. Relative to other continents, this growth in Africa is unprecedented in human history.

    Violence, retribution and the South African justice system

    PretoriaHowever one looks at it, the country has lost its way: the South African police are not in a position to handle crime effectively, declared the ANC’s own chair of the parliamentary portfolio committee on police Ms. Tina Joemat-Pettersson in November 2020. For four years in a row, the police service could only garner a qualified audit because the department did not fulfil the requirements set out for a clean audit. Reasons such as unauthorised spending and the poor quality of the department’s financial affairs were given for this failure.

    Go to archive