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

    Ahmed Maiteeq: Is he the newcomer and future leader of Libya?

    TripoliAfter a period of failed Tunisian negotiations under the auspices of the UN and UNSMIL's Stephanie Williams, which led to discord among the participants and exacerbated relations between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), there is renewed hope in Libya for the gradual restoration of constructive dialogue through economic arrangements.

    ‘Economic terrorism’: Attacks on foreign truck drivers intensify in South Africa

    PretoriaIn South Africa, in recent weeks, dozens of trucks have been set on fire with Molotov cocktails, cargoes looted, drivers injured, killed, in a fresh wave of particularly brutal attacks. The road transport industry is "under siege", according to the South African press. Most of the assaulted drivers are foreigners.

    Libya: Bashagha’s career puts Europe at risk

    TripoliA criminal Libyan politician and his Islamist gang are getting ready to run the country and threating the West and Europe. How did that happen?

    Fathi Bashagha: An ambitious radical seeking to seize power in Libya

    France and the United States may want to support him, but the price will be a new round of escalation in the conflict.

    Radicals among the radicals – Libya’s new leadership may even be more radical, Islamist

    TunisThe UN-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) is often criticized for its links to radical political Islam.

    Is the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum an instrument of American neocolonialism?

    TunisThe Libyan Political Dialogue Forum started on November 9 in Tunisia. This forum was organized by the UN Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) headed by Stephanie Williams, former US chargé d'affaires in Libya.

    Farmers say horrific murder in Free State could have been prevented

    PretoriaFarmers in the Eastern Free State say the horrific murder of Brendin Horner could have been prevented if a detailed report had been considered in which the suspected members of transnational stock theft syndicates had been identified.

    South Africa: Two farm attacks in two days, farm manager tortured and killed

    Paul RouxIt is clear that a slow war is being fought against South Africa's white farmers and this slow racial war is increasingly also being taken to towns and cities. The murder of a white farm manager, Brendin Horner (21), serves as proof that the South African government’s rural safety plan is failing.

    The man of the future in Libya?

    The oil deal in Libya discloses the rampant fight for power and oncoming political changes.

    South Africa: Massive biker protest against farm murders

    Tens of thousands of motorcycle riders took part in a protest against the country’s gruesome farm murders on Saturday. In Cape Town, an attempt by motorcyclists to deliver a petition to the parliament building led to clashes between police and protesters, with a black officer assaulting a white motorcyclist and another drawing his gun on an unarmed protestor.

    Go to archive