According to breaking reports from U.S. intelligence sources, it now seems most likely that a bomb planted on Metrojet Flight 9268 by ISIS or an ISIS Affiliate was most likely responsible for downing the Russian plane. Obviously it is still too early to say with any certainty one way or another, but reputable sources seem to be confirming the suspicion all along – that Russia’s involvement in Syria may have made it a tempting target for Sunni extremists in particular.
It still isn’t clear why the one ISIS affiliate that has come forward to claim responsibility for downing the plane is claiming to have done so with, essentially, a portable missile launcher, which could not have physically accomplished the task, and we may yet learn that the plane was downed due to structural failure. But we do know that everything said by the Russians at this point should be taken with several very large blocks of salt.
As we covered at some length yesterday, Russia has an enormous Sunni minority that is publicly enraged that Putin has taken the side of the Iranian-backed Assad regime. The Sunni extremists have been pronouncing death and destruction upon the Russians for days and the downing of this plane may yet be just the opening salvo of this conflict. Muslim extremists are in a much better position to do great harm to Russia just due to the sheer number of them who are present within Russia’s borders.
However, Putin is in a much better position, politically, to not care about these considerations, and if recent history is any indicator, he will respond to this provocation by ISIS with a violent response that will likely make the West blanche. All in all, this story has the potential to set off a powderkeg that could all make the bloodshed caused by ISIS thus far look like chump change by comparison.
Stated differently, it’s time to hold on to your butts. This story could well go off the rails worldwide, and very quickly.