How the Wagner Group Helps Putin Expand—and Inflate—Russia’s Influence

Syrian and Russian flags fly at a checkpoint of a so-called de-escalation zone near Homs, Syria, Sept. 13, 2017 (AP file photo by Nataliya Vasilyeva).
Syrian and Russian flags fly at a checkpoint of a so-called de-escalation zone near Homs, Syria, Sept. 13, 2017 (AP file photo by Nataliya Vasilyeva).

The restive coastal province of Cabo Delgado in northeastern Mozambique doesn’t often make international headlines. Before the surprise discovery in 2011 of what is believed to be one of the world’s largest offshore natural gas reserves, Cabo Delgado was a sleepy little getaway mostly known for its quiet beach towns. That changed late last week when militants from a newly formed branch of the Islamic State reportedly killed seven Russian soldiers believed to be fighting on behalf of the Wagner Group, the shadowy, Kremlin-backed private military contractor. In some ways, the fact that an energy-rich part of East Africa riven […]

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