Despite the weakened currency, Russian military has become a key source of influence on both internal as well as external grounds. Today, the forces are not only responsible for the protection of the state borders, combat on land, the security of occupied territories, and the defeat of enemy troops, but also have a duty to protect the national interests of Russia within the framework of its international obligations.
At a time, when Russia is battling against the economic sanctions, its military is doing pretty well, challenging the US’ dominance throughout the world. The development of military theory and practice, through the introduction of training field manuals, tactics, and methodology have altogether improved the Russian military training.
Having previously deployed a portion of its troops in Syria, Russia nearly clashed with the US forces recently to take control over the Syrian oilfields. Though the forces apparently turned back to return to their home base, the situation raised concerns over the future collisions in the region.
Alongside the Middle Eastern countries, Russia is equally focusing in maintaining its influence in Africa. Over the time, it has gradually increased the sales of arms and training programs in the country. The move came after the US defense secretary weighed on withdrawing troops from the continent. Around 200 warriors have been deployed in the region as a method to combat the growing Islamic State threats in Africa after the withdrawal of American troops.
Russia is also planning to build its first permanent base in the form of a military port in the Horn of Africa, for which it has taken initial steps too. This would expand the Russian military’s involvement in fighting against unstable countries or autocratic leaders. Deployment of mercenaries and political advisers to several countries, including the Central African Republic is another factor contributing to Russia’s growing authority in the region.
Recently, groups of Russian military have arrived in Libya on the request of Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar, to shape the outcome of Libyan civil war. It’s not the first time that Africa has requested for Russian help. In 2018, some of the sub-Saharan African countries appealed for Russian help to counter terrorist threats. During last summer, the Soviet-era client, Mozambique government hired the Russian mercenaries to help the local security forces combat the ISIS uprising in the region. A report suggested that the government in Central African Republic is selling mining rights for gold and diamonds at a fraction of their worth to hire trainers and buy arms from Moscow.
When the US is already struggling to exert its economic and security goals in Africa, Russia’s growing authority appears to be an alarming situation for the country. Since, the US plans for withdrawal of hundreds of forces from West Africa to counter Russian and Chinese threats, the deployment of Russian military in the continent has complexed its situations. It appears as if the US’ decision has only helped its rivals to grow their seeds in the nation.
Considering the growing circumstances of unprecedented terrorist violence in Africa, followed by citizens’ need for a prosperous lifestyle, China has vastly increased its commercial investments in the country, building factories and railroads. It also operates a major port in Djibouti same as the US.
As Pentagon attempts to counterbalance its decision, the ones opposing it claimed that such a move would cripple Africa’s ability to execute its mission and, as a result, would harm the national security. Meanwhile, Russia has also expressed interest in building a naval logistics center in Eritrea through the means of negotiations.
Amid all, the critics believe that Moscow’s interference is highly motivated with the means of bringing down the US’ larger motives rather than helping the African nations in countering terrorist threats. Also, Russia is targeting only those nations that are experiencing a surge in US troops withdrawal, a move which clearly explains the purpose of deploying Russian military in alien countries.