Bomb or No Bomb: ISIS Won This Round

[Photo by Gulf Online]

Pieter Van Ostaeyen, (Historian, Arabist, and Islamist) whose analysis and musings on international Jihadism and foreign fighters I have been following for over a year, initially doubted the claim of ISIS' Wilayat Sinai that it was responsible for the Russian airplane crash in Egypt, as did many other analysts and journalists, because of the mistaken assumption that the group claimed to have shot down the plane. (the "Manpad" issue.) Now he isn't sure, but he writes that bomb or no bomb, ISIS scored a major win with the claim.

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.

In related news, the ISIS State of Aleppo yesterday released a video titled "Healing Souls to Kill Russians", congratulating ISIS' Wilayat Sinai on the Sharm el Sheikh plane bombing. (No link because I don't want to spread ISIS videos and it has some graphic scenes.)

The video is in Arabic, and begins with graphic scenes of Russian air strikes in Syria, and then gives its explanation of the Sharm el-Sheikh plane bombing. Then it moves to "man in the street" interviews, during which several residents congratulate Wilayat Sinai on its (assumed) accomplishment.

Here are some of the graphics from the video (which also includes photos of Putin, Assad, Obama and ISIS leader al-Baghdadi.)

As to what it says, Michael DeGerald, a doctoral candidate in Modern Middle East History and Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington in Seattle provides a basic translated version on his blog, History X ISIS, which I just came across today.

ISIS in Sinai had brought down the plane, killing the Russian “crusaders” on board. This term “صليبين”, meaning “crusaders” has also been used by Al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups in the past to refer to the United States, insomuch as they perceive the United States to be Christian. This responds to the statements of the Russian Orthodox Church, when they described the Russian airstrikes in Syria as “a holy war against terrorism“.شفاء

The video continues, describing how Russia aligned itself with Iran and “bombed the homes of Muslims” in Syria, which they undertook to “promote their interests and realize their ambitions” in Syria. In doing so they made themselves an extension of the “Nusayri” state (meaning Assad’s regime) and they killed women and children in the process.

The video refers to Iranians in derogatory terms and then "makes broad statements about how Russia has entered into a losing war and that they failed to heed the warnings of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi."

In more related news, it was reported yesterday that the British Government confirmed that a Thomson jet going to Sharm el Sheikh averted a missile in August. The Government said it investigated and came to the conclusion that the missile was "connected to routine exercises being conducted by the Egyptian military in the area at the time."

Other speculation making the rounds is that AQAP bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri, who published a guide to making non-detectable, non-metal bombs for use on aircraft, and who later reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS and al-Baghdadi, was responsible for the design of the Russian plane bomb. Here's a 2014 short video news report on fears of his (and AQAP) working together with ISIS. He was reported killed in 2014 by a U.S. drone in Yemen, but that turned out to be false. He's believed to still be alive. Here's the story of the rectal bomb he made for his brother to detonate remotely by cell phone when meeting with the Saudi Prince. Here's a Stratfor account.

While the U.S. is ramping up air security at Middle Eastern airports that have flights to the U.S., this really isn't about the U.S. If ISIS, though Wilayat Saina, bombed the Russian flight, the attack was primarily directed at Egypt, and secondarily, Russia. The only thing our increased intervention will do is put a greater target on our back than would exist otherwise.

< Sharm el Sheikh: Home to Luxury Resorts | Saturday College Football Open Thread >
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  • Display: Sort:
    And again (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by smott on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 02:21:22 PM EST
    ....still no bomb residue or explosive signature revealed.

    Believe me, they know by now if it's there or not.

    If it isn't, they are allowing the world to react as if it is a bomb.

    If it is there, they are suppressing the evidence.

    In either case we'd have to ask Why, and who benefits.

    "Believe me" (none / 0) (#5)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 04:07:44 PM EST
    lol.  Post your c.v.

    egypt and russia benefit (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 04:26:32 PM EST
    from the denial -- and as the Washington Post editorial today says, you can't believe either one.

    Those seeking a more rational conclusion must consider this somber point: The Egyptian and Russian regimes are far less adept at fighting terrorism than they are at lying.

    You have regimes and then you have (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 06:41:46 PM EST
    The people. Putin has benefitted enormously from his rock star tough guy status with the Russian people. They aren't just going to allow him to wimp out now Jeralyn. Innocent Russian civilians have died, murdered by ISIS.

    Winning this round...that's sort of like the Charlie Sheen version of winning. Just ask the Hezbollah historian.


    The press conference this morning (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 04:29:53 PM EST
    Was bizarre

    Egypt? (none / 0) (#11)
    by smott on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 07:51:05 PM EST
    Certainly Egypt's tourist industry and a large chunk of their GDP would be (and are being) enormously damaged by merely the notion of a bomb.

    What other faction in Egypt would benefit from a bomb confirmation (which again has still not happened)?


    I don't (none / 0) (#14)
    by lentinel on Sun Nov 08, 2015 at 06:45:04 AM EST
    believe Russia or Egypt on this.
    The Egyptian and Russian regimes are far less adept at fighting terrorism than they are at lying.

    Both have $$$$ to lose.

    But, the same can and should be said about the US and the UK.
    Their combined track record bespeaks a smoldering interest in ramping up hostilities for domestic political reasons as well serving to appear to justify an ongoing and ineffective interventionist foreign policy.

    All of the above have agendas which leads them to view conditions through distorted lenses designed to support those agendas.


    Well (none / 0) (#1)
    by TrevorBolder on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 01:51:35 PM EST
    They certainly put a crimp in Egypts GDP.
    Fully expect Egypts military to tighten their grip  on the country.

    Putin might just ramp up his military approach in Syria. Currently his long term goal is to cement Assad in power, mostly by wiping out Syrian rebel groups the USA has been assisting in overthrowing Assad. A small portion of the Russian airstrikes have been directed against ISIS. I suppose that will change, ISIS will be the recipient of more Russian air strikes, but I do not see the long term goal of keeping Assad in power being minimized either.

    "The only thing our increased intervention will do is put a greater target on our back than would exist otherwise."

    That target is already firmly planted on US backs.

    comment in response to this comment deleted (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 04:29:27 PM EST
    for using derogatory, insulting made-up names for terror groups.

    They may also (none / 0) (#2)
    by smott on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 02:08:25 PM EST
    Have succeeded in joining the U.S. w Russia in military action vs ISIS.
    I believe the sharing of chatter-Intel w the RF may have been unprecedented.

    But they've definitely put a crimp in Egypts tourism industry, at least until/if bomb is ruled out.

    Bomb or No Bomb: ISIS Won This Round (none / 0) (#12)
    by TrevorBolder on Sun Nov 08, 2015 at 05:49:42 AM EST
    Without a doubt

    (CNN)The U.S. appears to be increasingly confident that a terrorist bomb brought down the Russian passenger jet that broke apart over Egypt.

    The growing belief was indicated by several senior U.S. officials in the intelligence, military and national security community who spoke to CNN on Saturday.

    One official said it was "99.9% certain," another said it was "likely


    Around 80,000 Russians are stranded in Egypt after the Kremlin grounded all flights to the country following the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Peninsula, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said on Saturday.

    The Russian Travel Industry Union said nearly all Russian tourists due to visit Egypt in the coming days had agreed to fly to Turkey instead.

    "In the near future, flights which should have flown to Egypt are being redirected to Antalya," the Interfax news agency quoted union spokeswoman Irina Turina as saying. "Practically all tourists have agreed with this."



    British extremists????? (none / 0) (#10)
    by TrevorBolder on Sat Nov 07, 2015 at 07:38:18 PM EST
    BRITISH extremists were behind the bombing of a Russian jet over Egypt, intelligence experts believe.


    They were overheard celebrating moments after the explosion that blew the plane apart, killing all 224 on board.

    The jihadis were heard talking in Birmingham and London accents by spies at GCHQ in Cheltenham.

    Trained in Syria and with an electronics background, it is believed they may have had a hand in building the bomb.


    Digging. (none / 0) (#13)
    by lentinel on Sun Nov 08, 2015 at 06:34:01 AM EST
    The only thing our increased intervention will do is put a greater target on our back than would exist otherwise.

    If this is true, as I believe it to be, why in the world is our government doing this to us?

    Why? (none / 0) (#15)
    by NYShooter on Mon Nov 09, 2015 at 03:54:26 PM EST
    Obviously, "our government" doesn't agree with what you believe to be true.

    That was easy.