[Here are our answers to questions by El Mercurio’s reporter Javier MÃ©ndez about the crash of a Russian civilian airliner inÂ the Sinai]:
Q. It is possible that a Russian airplane passengers could be shot down byÂ ISIS?
A. The plane could not have been shot down at that altitude. An on-board attackÂ cannot be ruled out, but seems very unlikely in the light of the reportsÂ during ascent by the pilot of some sort of “technical problem” and hisÂ intention to land the plane as soon as possible. Further, reports that thisÂ particular plane had experienced problems with an engine days before theÂ flight suggest a more likely explanation.
Q. What could be the political effects in the Middle East for this seriousÂ incident?
A. The fear expressed by a number of airlines to fly over Sinai in the wakeÂ of this tragedy puts pressure on Egypt, whose government has already lostÂ legitimacy as demonstrated by the poor turnout in the recent elections.Â Alleged claims that ISIS is responsible, far-fetched as those claims may be,Â nonetheless portend more violence against the group in Syria and itsÂ affiliate in the Sinai.
Q. In your opinion, what will happen with the Islamic State the next year?Â Could ISIS be defeated by the international coalition?
A. I cannot predict what will happen to ISIS, but if it is defeated withoutÂ popular support of the indigenous populations, it shall only be replaced byÂ another undesirable, and perhaps even more vicious party.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute