Confirmation that a terrorist bomb brought down the Metrojet airliner that crashed in Sinai surprised no one. However, the episode highlights the contrast between the way Russians and the West go about doing things now. Last year, following the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over the Ukraine, the West rushed out accusations within hours of the crash, which meant that, from the outset, they skewed the investigation to fit a theory. By contrast, after the crash of the Metrojet airliner, Russians refused to speculate on a cause until they did a proper investigation. Therefore, the investigation was open, in contrast to the secrecy cloaking the MH17 investigation. Importantly, the Metrojet investigation consulted the proper experts… the aircraft’s French manufacturers. On the other hand, the MH17 investigation excluded relevant evidence from Almaz Antey… who manufactured the Buk SAM that the investigation alleged shot down the aircraft… they didn’t heed the firm’s opinions nor did they even mention them in the report.
Since the investigation into the Metrojet tragedy took place openly and objectively, it produced a conclusive finding within weeks of the tragedy. By contrast, after more than a year, the MH17 investigation produced an incomplete (and in parts, contested) report. Besides this, note the astonishing contrast in the reaction to the two recent terakts… the Metrojet crash and the Paris attacks… that recently took place. In re the Metrojet crash, the Western reaction was large-scale indifference. Nevertheless, Russians rushed to show sympathy and support for the people of France following the Paris attacks, but there was no like rush from the Western public to show sympathy and support for the people of Russia following the Metrojet tragedy. There were even some appalling claims… apparently, extending to US government officials… that by supporting the Syrian government, Russia somehow brought the Metrojet tragedy down on itself.
In the case of the Paris attacks, alongside proper and legitimate feelings of grief for the victims, Western officials responded with blind fury and elements of panic, with talk of war and a stampede to impose ever-more draconian restrictions on Western society, but with no coherent plan of what to do. This contrasts with the calm and purposeful way that… amidst feelings of intense grief… the Russian authorities and people responded to the Metrojet tragedy. We should say clearly that it makes no sense to say that by supporting the Syrian government that Russia brought the Metrojet tragedy down on itself, any more than it makes sense to say that by opposing the Syrian government France brought the Paris attacks down on itself. Such rationalisations of terrorism are both wrong and immoral. However, it’s legitimate to say… as President Putin said in his recent speech to the UN General Assembly… that attempts to manipulate terrorists to achieve geopolitical objectives are both wrong and immoral… and also extremely dangerous. If Western governments want to respond properly to the Paris tragedy, then, acknowledging that is a good place to start.
19 November 2015