Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Is ISIS Triumphing? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The remnants of the doomed Russian plane

Can we imagine a scenario in which the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is victorious and becomes the first terrorist state which spreads fear and destruction in the region and the world?

This thought crosses one’s mind after the fall of the Russian tourist plane in Sinai, the accompanying diplomatic developments and the complications between the parties concerned.

Without getting into the details of whether a bomb was placed on board which led to the deaths of tourists returning to their country after their holidays, the outcome of what has happened since the fall of the plane and the announcement of intelligence in Britain and the United States that the bomb was placed with the luggage is an advantage for this terrorist group.

How? Firstly, the group which is based in Raqqa, Syria, are sending a message to Russia whose planes are striking Syria. Secondly, tourism in Egypt, which provides hard currency to the country during hard times, has been hit. Thirdly, the state of global worry and concern surrounding air travel has become heightened. Even if the Islamic State’s claims are false, its goals have been achieved anyway.

All sides handled the incident badly, and the concerned parties exchanged accusations of negligence. Britain began evacuating its citizens from Sharm el-Sheikh and it appears that this decision was not calculated accurately as returning 20,000 tourists in 24 hours is not possible. The Russians, who had double the amount of tourists, followed the British but were more conservative in determining a specific time for the return of the tourists.

Other European countries also suspended flights or issued warnings to their nationals. By simple calculation, the relative prosperity that Sharm el-Sheikh had begun to witness has come to an end for the current season, and this may extend to the next season as well. The decisions taken to stop flights and travel resemble a blockade, especially as there are statements that these measures will continue for a long time.

If the falling of the Russian plane had a goal, it would be to stop Russian military intervention in Syria. This does not seem likely as Russia has its geopolitical motives and just as it has not changed its policy in Chechnya despite suicide attacks, it is not expected that it will stop intervention now, before securing its interests.