A feature analysis piece in the British Independent poses a theory that Russia's involvement in Libya is meant to undermine NATO.
The author (Ahmed Aboudouh) points out that America is acting defensively in "a new round of the Middle East chess game", and it seems like Russia always has the upper hand.
According to the author, we are learning about Russia's moves in Libya, including the transfer of mercenaries and arms, through American reports. It seems that Russia is setting the "rules for a strategic duet" with Turkey, similar to what Russia accomplished in Syria.
The author claims that Putin seems to be winning this rivalry, and that the numerous factions and chaos "shaped a perfect environment for Russia to step in." That is, America's hesitancy to act is Putin's biggest strategic asset. "Moscow fills the gaps in leadership left behind."
The author details the growing support of Russia for Haftar's LNA forces, diplomatic and military, in trying to tilt the conflict to his side. This affords Moscow a veto over any potential future outcome. Russia is doing this to "flank NATO from the south". Moscow is seeking to access Libyan ports on the Mediterranean, and the ability hold leverage over Europe through influencing the flow of migrants coming from Libya. Part of this, of course, seems to be Russia seeking to lift the arms embargo and return to selling its arms to an oil-rich client as it did with Ghaddafi.
However, the author says not too rush to assume Russia is trying to secure Haftar's victory, rather it plays both sides of the game carefully until a final victor is clear. The author further warns that Russia and Turkey could replicate their Syria strategy in Libya, essentially "playing all sides off and dividing the spoils between each other." Even though they seemingly support different sides in Syria and Libya, Russia hopes to close a deal to supply Turkey with the S-400, signifying cooperation between the two, and straining relations between NATO and Turkey. Could Putin further pull Erdogan to his side?
The author claims that while the UAE, Egypt and others who support Haftar currently seek a political solution, it seems that Turkey and Russia seek to perpetuate the conflict for their strategic interests. In this way, they become the new kingmakers in the region. This is certainly a development to watch.