Bernard Haykel is a professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University and director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. He received his doctorate in Oriental Studies in 1998 from the University of Oxford. He has described his teaching and research as lying at the juncture of the intellectual, political, and social history of the Middle East, with particular emphasis on the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. In late December 2016, Haykel sat for an interview with Diwan to discuss Saudi Arabia and the broader Middle East.
A great deal of media attention to Russian involvement in Libya arose as a result of a March 14 Reuters report that Moscow “appears to have deployed special forces to an airbase in western Egypt near the border with Libya.” These forces, reportedly consisting of a 22-man unit, deployed to support General Khalifa Haftar, who controls much of eastern Libya. Haftar is at odds with the UN-backed (and thus Russian-approved) Libyan government based in the western part of the country headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.