Prigozhin, Wagner’s Role in Africa and the Dubai Safe house: We haven’t heard it all, yet

Prigozhin, Wagner’s Role in Africa and the Dubai Safe house: We haven’t heard it all, yet

Amidst the world’s scrutiny, it is surprising that no envoy has yet been sent to Dubai, where the global future of the Kremlin’s mercenary army can be understood. For years, the United Arab Emirates has served as a de facto “current and savings account” for Prigozhin, facilitating his operations in the extended Middle East and serving as a lifeline for the struggling Russian Treasury. In cases like these, where money’s scent leads to safe havens, a trip to Dubai would unveil whether Wagner will face adversity, transform itself, or truly be in trouble.

This story begins in Washington around the year 2003 when some neo-cons plotted a known narrative, which failed disastrously from a political-military perspective: the invasion of Iraq, leading to the meritorious overthrow of the criminal Saddam, and involving the infamous Blackwater contractors. Before the spotlight shone on these contractors, it wasn’t until the Nisour Square massacre in 2007 that attention was drawn to them.

The Kremlin must have admired the idea of a dirty war fought by private individuals, prompting them to surpass the so-called “masters.” While the new White House administration contemplated withdrawing from the Middle East, leaving the aftermath of its actions to the “indigenous,” it was Putin who decided to acquire those remnants. He entrusted the management of this dirty war to his personal cook’s newly formed company. Though Assad’s regime was no less complicit, Putin aimed to aid and exploit the Syrian scion. After Assad’s chemical attack and Obama’s reluctance to intervene, Putin found an opportunity to directly intervene in Syria, and thus began Wagner’s grand affair. They secured precious oil and phosphate deposits, the proceeds of which generously rewarded Prigozhin after reclaiming territories once held by ISIS. In short, Putin’s fighter jets bombed civilians while Wagner completed the groundwork.

As everything went well—for them—the Syrians soon became affordable mercenaries for Prigozhin. He dispatched them to fight in Libya with the logistical assistance of the United Arab Emirates, concerned about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on the Tripoli government. Desperate people, purchased for a pittance in war-torn Syria, were sent to support the rebel leader Haftar in Libya. This drew attention, and Erdogan followed suit in the Syrian region under his control, supporting his troops on the opposing side of the Libyan conflict.

Thus, with Putin’s benevolent approval, Prigozhin transformed Syria into a hub of desperation. Syrians, seeking a meager daily income, went to die for Prigozhin. The Syrian-Libyan connection proved highly lucrative for the Kremlin duo, leading to an expansion of Prigozhin’s infamous operations in Sudan, Mali, and the Central African Republic. Ultimately, billions of dollars flowed to Dubai, facilitated by Wagner’s acquisition of gold mines in Sudan.

This hidden treasure allowed Russia to withstand the impact of international sanctions following the Ukraine invasion and provided cash payments to the Turkish Central Bank to assist Erdogan, now a valuable friend despite the Libyan disputes. Official estimates, released by authoritative US sources and reported by the Middle East Eye—an independent and respected news site on the region—suggest this hidden treasure’s value to be around $130 billion. The intertwining relationship with the United Arab Emirates is such that even the United States, despite being allies with Dubai, acknowledges that Wagner could not have secured the concessions of vast natural deposits in Sudan, Mali, and the Central African Republic without their logistical and infrastructural support.

The Libyan war cannot be understood without considering Prigozhin and his support for General Haftar. However, it was Syria, along with America’s disinterest in what would happen there, that facilitated the growth and global expansion of Prigozhin’s octopus-like influence. This vast quagmire, a dark abyss where conflict and trafficking thrive, originated in Syria and subsequently spread worldwide. To comprehend the events of the past and anticipate the future, engaging in discussions with individuals in Dubai becomes crucial. It is worth noting that the United Arab Emirates government played a significant role in initiating the Arab thaw with Assad, who is Putin’s protégé, and Prigozhin.

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photo:, Prigozhin

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