Russian plane crash: overlooked terror theory - COMMENT

Russian plane crash: overlooked terror theory - COMMENT
Despite demands from society, culprits of such incidents are rarely brought to justice

Baku. 26 December. REPORT.AZ/ Unfortunately, year 2016 ends with an incident with mass human loss as it started.

11 people were killed, 15 injured in terrorist attack at Sultanahmet square of Istanbul on January 12 of this year. This terrorist act was committed by Nabil Fadil born in 1988 Saudi Arabia. His father’s name is Abdulatif, mother’s - Brijit. His motrher is reportedly Syrian Armenian and was born in one of villages of this country.

92 people lost their lives as a result of crash of Tu-154 airliner belonging to Russian Ministry of Defense on December 25, 2016. The plane flying from Russian Sochi to Syria crashed into Black Sea 6 km offshore. 8 flight attendants, 9 journalists of Russian TV channels, 64 members of Russian military chorus named after Alexandrov, 2 officials of federal government, head of “Fair Aid” Charity Fund Elizaveta Glinka have lost their lives in the incident. Bodies of 12 victims have been pulled out of sea so far. At the same time Russian press says the airplane was manufactured in 1983. It was overhauled in December 2014. It passed a scheduled maintenance service in September 2016.

Official sources reject any terror theory concerning the disaster. But the fact that the airplane was flying to Syrian Latakia region demands to be more attentive to all details. Because officials first excluded terror version also with regard to Russian plane crashed in Egypt on October 31, 2015. But later ISIS declared responsibility for this attack and it was revealed that explosives were taken into plane and detonated there.

Notably, the Airbus A-321 belonging to Metrojet airlines (formerly “Kogalimavia”) flying from Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh to Saint Petersburg crashed over Sinai Peninsula. 224 people, including 7 crew members and 17 Children were on board. The Airbus A-321 belonging to “Kogalimavia” airlines company entered service on May 9, 1997. Having been exploited by Lebanon’s MEA, Turkish “Onur Air” and Saudi Arabia’s “Saudi Arabian Airlines”, the air liner was acquired by “Kogalimavia” company in April 2016.

Notably, the officials say the pilots of crashed Tu-154 were professionals. “Kogalimavia” also stated that captain of A-321 and his assistant were experienced pilots.

Beside this, some experts tried to implicate technical reasons in disaster over Donetsk region of Ukraine on July 17, 2014, of Boeing 777-200 of Malaysian Airlines flying from Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur. 283 people, including 15 crew members were killed in the incident.

US president Barack Obama in press conference called the disaster of Malaysian Airlines’ plane over Ukraine ‘outrage of unspeakable proportions’. He noted that the airplane was downed by missile was fired from territory controlled by pro-Russian militants. International expert commission later determined that the airplane was hit by “Buk” air defense missile system managed by pro-Russian militants. Netherland’s public prosecutor told that “Buk” air defense missile system targeted air liner from Pervomaysk city controlled by militants, after which it was returned to Russian territory. Moreover, the area where the airplane crashed was also under the control of pro-Russian separatists. Russia denies these allegations and its role in disaster of the airplane.

There were number of other incidents in the history with airplanes shot down. Here are some of them: On February 21, 1973, the Boeing 727 air liner belonging to Libyan air lines company flying from Benghazi to Cairo accidentally entered Israel’s air space and was downed by Israel military. Only 5 persons of 113 onboard survived.

On September 2, 1983, South Korean airlines company’s Boeing 747 was shot down over Sakhalin island. 269 people on board including US congressman Larry McDonald died.

On July 3, 1988, passenger plane of Iranian air lines company with 290 people on board flying from Bandar Abbas to Dubai was shot down by US army.

On March 17, 1994, Armenian armed forces shot down Hercules C-130 transport airplane with diplomats of Russian embassy in Iran on board. 19 passengers including 9 children and 13 crew members were killed in the incident over Khankendi.

On October 4, 2001, Tu-154 airplane of “Siberian Airlines” flying from Tel-Aviv to Novosibirsk was shot down accidentally by Ukrainian army. 66 passengers and 12 crew members died in the plane crashed into Black Sea near Crimea.

Despite demands from society, culprits of such incidents are rarely brought to justice.

Of course, technical problem is not excluded as possible reason of the crash of Russian plane. One is true, Russia is ranked as a worst country in terms of flight security. This country’s airline companies’ planes are reported to be involved in three times as much incidents as world average. This evidence supports the version that technical fault or pilot’s error may have been the cause of disaster of Tu-154.

Russia’s Transport Minister and head of governmental commission on incident Maksim Sokolov told that terrorist act on board of Tu-154 is not considered as a primary theory of cause of the incident. He noted that revelation of causes of the disaster is not the duty of government commission; it will be investigated by security forces and special technical commission under ministry of defense.

We would like to pay attention to one issue: On December 15, Syrian city Aleppo was reported to be liberated by opposition militants with support of Russia and Iran. In four days after this event Russian ambassador in Turkey Andrey Karlov was shot dead in Ankara. On the same day Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu reported to President Vladimir Putin that forces of B.Asad took control over Aleppo. On December 23, residents launched fireworks to celebrate liberation of Aleppo from militants. Two days later Russian Tu-154 plane crashed. Let’s note once again, the people in the plane were flying to Syria to arrange New Year concert for Russian military.

Anyway, we cannot rule out possible links between these events. We would also like to note that, in case of revealing that the incident was a result of terrorist act, it will seriously damage Russia’s security and military image. Thus, confirmation of any version – technical fault or terrorist act will negatively affect Russia’s reputation. 

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