This post regards my personal opinion on what happened to flight KGL9268, the Russian airliner, crashed in the Egyptian Sinai desert.
I saw the first reports about the crash on November 1, 2015. My first idea was that a horrible accident just happened. But shortly after The Islamic State published a written statement, originally in Arabic but then translated into English, French, Russian, German and more. Me, and others, interpreted the claim that the plane was taken down with a MANPADs rocket.
Focusing on the MANPADs option only, knowing The Islamic State’s Sinai branch owns a few of these, set me off on the wrong foot. If one indeed looks at the height of the plane when it started crashing (around 32.000 ft) and the reach of the MANPADs owned by the Sinai affiliate of The Islamic State (around 10.000 ft), it is easy to conclude the claim was false. Hence my original report. I do believe a lot of journalists and analysts made that exact same error.
No one really believed this claim from The Islamic State. The crash site was intensely investigated, as was the planes black box. Both the Egyptian as the Russian government were stressing this was an accident. The media however started speculating whether the initial claim from The Islamic State was true. And then, when the whole world still was wondering, IS published a second statement; an audio message by the Sinai province IS leader.
Soon after British and American officials started, cautiously, leaking mere bits of information. Most reports were pointless but they all fed the speculative narrative. Then, seemingly at once, several tour operators and even some countries denoted Sharm el-Sheikh to be a no-go area. When Russia eventually decided that not only Sharm el-Sheikh but entire Egypt is a no-go zone, Russia only encourages the idea IS is promoting.
Whether or not the plane was taken down by The Islamic State, they won anyway. In the strategic battle with the West and Russia IS made a winner strike. Several European countries are repatriating their nationals, thousands of people are supposed to be leaving Sharm el-Sheikh in the next few days. Several airline operators suspended flights to the airport of Sharm el-Sheikh. Flights leaving today, made a u-turn, … Belgian tour operators even sent in their own security personnel and bomb sniffing dogs.
Most importantly The Islamic State won this game of media play. This claimed attack is not only an attack on an obvious enemy (Russia bombing IS in Syria) but also an attempt to destabilize the Egyptian regime. As it is it would seem tourism in Sinai, maybe in whole Egypt, will fall to a standstill. By attacking Egypt in its economical heart IS is trying to spread anarchy and chaos. Chaos to be managed and used to accomplish the realization of the end goal; to defame and destabilize the Egyptian government.