Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Egyptian Role in the A321 Crash: A Step Too Far

At this point it really seems that US policymakers would be better off on the unemployment line. The thing is, every time Washington tries to push Russia hard against the wall, the consequences range from disastrous to straight out catastrophic. The orchestrated coup in Ukraine resulted in Crimea rejoining Russia, the rigid sanctions regime resulted in EU agricultural products getting banned on Russian markets, the aggravation of the situation in Syria led to the destruction of “valuable US assets”, namely ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and all other sorts of radical Isalmists.

And now, to save itself from the humiliation of daily reports about Russia's successes in Syria, Washington brought down A321 over the Sinai peninsula. It's really irrelevant which intelligent agencies took part in this operation, the ongoing propaganda campaign in the Western media betrays those who are truly calling the shots. I was pretty curious when the suicide of a Russian servicemen in Syria wasn't heavily exploited in the media, the explanation didn't leave us waiting for long – there was a vicious plan in the making, the plan that claimed the lives of 224 Russian tourists, leaving the population of the largest country in the world mourning.
It still seems pretty unlikely that A321 was brought down by a bomb, simply because it is really inconvenient to track a plane to film the moment of the catastrophe just for the sake of filming. Yet, this version is being pushed hard by the Western media and Russia is pretending that it's buying it. There's a general evacuation of Russian tourists in Egypt being reported, but it's a clear exaggeration – tourists are leaving as they were planning to, but their luggage is being transported separately. Yet, as it was reported by Russian journalists returning from their vacations, no additional security measures had been implemented in Egyptian airports whatsoever. It leads us to the conclusion that Egyptian authorities are convinced that no wrong would happen with the planes on the ground, despite the fact that earlier on, Egyptians were adamant about the possibility of a bomb, not a missile, bringing down the ill-fated Russian airliner.

As it was reported by Sputnik:

The three-party investigative committee handling the in-flight recorders of the ill-fated Russian A-321 passenger jet that crashed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula over the weekend has ruled out the plane was struck by a missile, Egypt’s Al-Masri al-Youm news portal reported Monday, citing sources in the committee.

It's now clear that Egypt has something to do with the crash, and Russia knows it. The thing is that a series of miscalculations has clearly showed that there's no decent geopolitical analysts left in the West, and the downing of A321 is a vivid example of it. The thing is Russians, regardless of their rate of income, are determined to go to sea resorts at least once a year, even if it means spending all of their year's savings. The major attractions are Turkey and Egypt and the best part of the Russian mentality for both of these states is that Russians are not easily scared. So even at the height of the Muslim Brotherhood crackdown, Egypt was packed with Russian tourists. So it seems that Egyptian authorities decided that if they helped bringing an airliner down, it wouldn't hurt too much, since the majority of Russians wouldn't cancel their vacations either way. Yet, Russian authorities know better.

According to the New York Times:

President Vladimir V. Putin on Friday suspended all flights from Russia to Egypt, the most popular foreign tourist destination for Russians, until the cause of a mysterious plane crash that killed 224 people over the Sinai Peninsula can be established. Mr. Putin’s decision was the first breach in what has largely been a consistent response from Russian and Egyptian authorities to the crash on Saturday.

The thing is, the transportation of luggage for some 80,000 Russian tourists that are now leaving Egypt is a pretty costly endeavor, especially when this luggage is being transported by Russia's Ministry of Emergencies. Yet, stating that Egypt has something to do with the crash would mean closing the door on bilateral relations for decades, and there's hardly a way that Russia could allow this to happen. Back in the Soviet days, droves of Russian experts were employed in Egypt, building enormous infrastructural projects like the Aswan hydro-power complex that is still referred to as “one of the largest hydroelectric installations not only on the African continent, but also in the world.” This allowed Russians to establish close bonds of friendship with different levels of Egyptian society, bonds that have not been completely broken today. Yet, with the Egyptian political elites trying to play for both teams, Russia has to send a clear message to them, and it seems that it has done just that.

On October 10, a number of prominent Russian media outlets, while citing anonymous sources in the government, announced that the ban on the flights to Egypt can last for years and can even be expanded to other countries, should there be a reason to do so. According to recent studies, the tourism industry in Egypt produces 14,8% of country's GDP. With the absolute majority of tourist visiting Egypt coming from Russia, this ban can lead to a meltdown of the Egyptian economy.

Another major attraction for Russian tourists is Turkey, where the tourism industry produces 10.9% of country's GDP. What that basically means is that should any of those two countries allow Russian tourists to be targeted by terrorists again, billions and billions of dollars are going to be spent elsewhere, namely Crimea, Sochi, Thailand and Crete. Due to this careful and rational approach, Russia prevented what could be a series of Russian airliners going down every time positive news about Russia starts circulating in the international press. The message, it seems, is loud and clear, and it can be summed up in the words of an old American song: “You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger, and you don't mess around with Putin...”

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