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Two Russian scientists are being kept in the infamous Mitiga prison. Photo supplied

Movie ‘Shugaley-2’ outlines real threats for both East and West

Despite a long period of lock-down nearly all over the world, the speed of geopolitical processes have not slowed down, nor have the attempts to reflect and analyze them through documentaries and movies based on true stories.

Published: August 11, 2020, 3:32 pm

    Such a development can be observed particularly in Libya and its North African neighborhood. While the Western world felt “frozen” with lockdown, events across the Mediterranean Sea have been unfolding at a high speed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the massive influx of 16 500 Syrian terrorists into Libya to support the controversial GNA government forces – dispatched by Turkey.

    The US military command in Africa, AFRICOM announced that it would ready its Security Force Assistance Brigades specialized in training and assisting foreign forces, in order to address joint security concerns with Tunisia. The reason given was “concerns about Russian activities in Libya”. At the same time, the Tripoli-based GNA government went into an aggressive overdrive with military offensives on the cities Sirte and al-Jufra.

    In the center of this explosive mix of events are still two Russian prisoners, held illegally by the GNA government. In May this year, a movie outlining the fate of the two Russian scientists was shown on Russian TV – Shugaley. Even Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova commented in response to questions about the Russian citizens held as prisoners in Tripoli, highlighting the importance of this case.

    And their plight has sadly not been resolved. On August 11, the first trailer and posters of the movie Shugaley-2 announced a follow-up recounting the dire situation of Maxim Shugaley and Samer Sueifan, published on the web-site dedicated to the movie.

    The first part of Shugaley,  originally in Russian, was based on the events happening in Libya at the time. In particular, the plot traces the visit of Russian sociologist Maxim Shugaley and his translator Samer Sueifan to Libya for the purpose of conducting a sociological study. The work of the sociologists had been coordinated with local authorities, but upon arrival they were seized by members of the terrorist group and sent to the infamous Mitiga prison.

    The sequel to the movie is directed by Maxim Brius, with the premiere scheduled for September.

    According to the authors, Shugaley-2 will recount how the two scientists are trying to survive in the harshest of conditions being captives in a foreign country and whether they will eventually be able to return home.

    It is known that prisoners of the unofficial Mitiga prison are kept in inhuman conditions. They are regularly subjected to torture and psychological abuse. The Russians – illegally detained – have not yet been formally charged, and their detention violates international law.

    Thus Shugaley and Shugaley-2 have, according to the creators of the films, expressly been made to underscore the situation in Libya and the scale of lawlessness that certain authorities in the country have succumbed to.

    Meanwhile, the latest news from Libya profiles the massive instability and growing tensions, increasing the threat also to European countries. In particular, aside from a conflict between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Government of National Accord (GNA), Libya has become a sphere for infighting between countries like Turkey and Egypt.

    The Turkish government has been quite openly involved in the Libyan conflict by sending around 25 000 mercenaries from Syria, Tunisia and other countries, even though most of them are connected to the Islamic State terrorist organisation.

    Egypt supports the LNA and recently announced a possible deployment of troops to Libya. Egyptian parliament stated that such a step can be done in response to an attempt by the forces of the Government of National Accord, supported by Turkey, to take the Al-Jufra air base and the city of Sirte.

    Ankara has already stated several times that it intends to conduct a military operation if Sirte and Al-Jufra do not come under the control of the GNA. Egypt claimed that this was unacceptable. Thus, two of the largest military forces in the Eastern Mediterranean may be facing a war, very close to the shores of Italy and other European countries. In this scenario, it would be all but impossible for Europe to ignore the consequences of a conflict in Libya.

    Another obvious threat for Europe is the situation of migrants. The development of the military conflict will no doubt contribute to a new wave of refugees. The authorities of the GNA government will certainly neither be able nor willing to meet their obligations to European countries in terms of combating migration from the war-ravaged country.

    As a result, a drastic increase in the migration flow to Europe should be expected, which would undoubtedly be a boon to extremists of all kinds. In this regard it is essential to recollect that the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been eager to support the Muslim Brotherhood. This organisation is considered as a terrorist and extremist group in many Arab countries, but the Turkish leadership believes that it can be used for its neo-Ottoman geopolitical expansion.

    Moreover, Turkey, which is playing an increasingly active role in relation to the GNA, can use migration as leverage to pressure Europe, as it has done since 2017 with Syrian migrants. However, not only Germany but other European countries can become a target for migrants in case of a further escalation in Libya.

    More details on the website for Shugaley-2.

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