November 23rd, 2015 –
“Changed Context” –
On October 31st, 2015, the Russian airplane of the Kogalymavia company disappeared over Sinai. The catastrophe killed about 224 people, almost all of them were Russian citizens. Without delay, the media announced that the most probable cause was a terrorist attack. The same day, an affiliated group of ISIS, Wilayat Sinai, took responsibility for the plane crash. This version of events had been denied by Russian authorities for two weeks. The main argument was that the investigation was incomplete, and therefore that it was too early to announce the causes of the incident. The fact that Dmitry Peskov, the press spokesman for the President of Russia, as well as other minor politicians, were charged with the task, while Putin kept silent on the causes of the event, added even more fuel in the fire. It is significant that the president himself (excluding written statements prepared by the Office) offered his condolences to the relatives of victims only on the third day after the explosion. There was a feeling that the Russian authorities clearly knew much more than they were able to say.
On November 6th, at the request of Alexander Bortnikov, the Director of the FSB, the President of Russia banned all flights to Egypt. During this time, the preliminary decoding results of the black boxes must be obtained, and the investigation of the wreckage must be performed. The decision is indirect evidence that the Russian authorities knew that the terrorist attack theory was the most likely one. But it would take almost two weeks for them to officially recognize it.
So, after the monstrous terrorist attack in Paris, and following the G20 summit on November 17th, the FSB officially recognized the cause of the crash as a terrorist attack. The Russian President promised to punish all involved parties, wherever they may be. Russia increased its bombing of terrorists in Syria using air force bombers and the Navy. What was the reason for such a long period of silence from Russia on the real cause of the crash? The subject demands more information.
For the first two days after the crash, three key information resources of Atlanticist powers: Israel, the UK, and the USA, promoted the terrorist attack theory. The first day, DEBKAfile, the Israeli portal for geopolitical intelligence information, announced this theory. On November 3rd, the US’s Stratfor said that the cause of the crash could be a bomb explosion on board: the same theory, but the one told on the same day to mass audiences on NBC news.
On November 5th, when the first data from the black boxes investigation was revealed, the Associated Press (AP) referred to what US intelligence services said about the terrorist attack on board the Russian plane. The same day, citing the theory of British intelligence, Phillip Hammond, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, became the first official to make a speech on the event. The British leadership itself, at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister and his Office, was to insist that a terrorist attack was the official theory until Russia recognized it itself.
Why was it the UK? There are several reasons. First, British intelligence traditionally has an efficient network of informants in the Middle East, especially in Egypt where the plane crash occurred, and in Qatar (having been under British protectorate until 1974), which according to some sources sponsor the perpetrators of ISIS terrorism. It is evident that the UK received information on the terrorist attack very soon after the event.
Second, the majority of the British Parliament members, including the Tories, are against the British participation in the US military operations in Syria, but Prime Minister David Cameron, and his Office, needs arguments. That is why the British government hastened to declare the Russian plane crash over the Sinai a terrorist attack. It is curious that now, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Cameron believes that the UK can join the American operation without Parliamentary authorization, as it is an emergency.
On November 6th, US President Barack Obama made the statement that the cause of the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 is likely to be a terrorist attack.
The aim of all these statements, having a real basis as it turned out, were made to provoke Russia into taking more severe action in Syria, and to show to Russian society that the Kremlin’s actions that were aimed to protect Russian citizens from the threat of terrorism, actually turned Russia into a terrorist target. Recognizing the incident as a terrorist attack, in that moment, would have been a tacit admission on the part of Russian authorities that its anti-terrorist strategy was weak, and that the actions in Syria are having no evident success and in fact threaten the national security, and that the Kremlin ally, the el-Sisi regime in Egypt, is unable to control the situation in its country and provide basic security measures.
Responding to it by increasing bombings of terrorists in Syria, Russia would inevitably come under unanimous criticism from Western countries which immediately would claim that Russia, using this pretext, again bombs the “wrong” terrorists, the so-called moderate opposition. It would cause an increase of tensions and at best new sanctions, and at worst Afghanistan 2.0: drawing Russia into a large-scale Middle East conflict; with weapon supplies including air defense given to the proxy extremists groups, exhausting Russia through the war in the Rimland and the subsequent geopolitical defeat of the Land.
Moreover, Russia would logically have to respond not only in Syria, but also in Sinai, because it was the place where those responsible for the plane downing were hiding. By involving Russia in the conflict in the area of Israeli special interest (which the Sinai Peninsula actually is) may cause again unpredictable consequences. What concessions in Syria would Israel require in exchange for a possible strengthening of Russia’s presence in Sinai? One is left to wonder. That is why Russia initially agreed with the Egyptian version of a possible explosion of the engine. Recognition of the incident as a terrorist attack would immediately influence (in the end, it happened) the economy of the Russian ally dependent on tourism. As a result, the el-Sisi regime could become even more unstable.
Another factor behind the slow reaction of Russia was the attitude of the Russian Sixth Column. While the representatives of the Fifth Column broadcast the Western point of view, insisting on the terrorism theory and bringing this version of events as an argument that the Russian anti-terrorist bombing is insolvent, the Sixth Column, according to some resources, insisted on hiding the fact of a terrorist attack, and actively participated further in the media campaign. As in the case of the Ukrainian conflict, the Russian Sixth Column showed its loyal strategy to prevent direct conflict with the Western countries. As the first victims of the inevitable changes in Russia that would have followed the conflict would then be the representatives of the westernized elite, related economically and ideologically to Europe and the United States.
What has changed after the terrorist attack in Paris? The context. Now, the recognition of the terrorist attack is very useful to Russia’s strategy in the Middle East. The Western World became a victim of extremism so it has to cooperate with Russia, that is also victim of the terrorist attack. The Russian action in Syria in response to the terrorist attack are not less legitimate than the French one. Russia gets more freedom in the Middle East. At the same time, the Western countries themselves are changing their tactics in dealing with Russia. Instead of a tough-confrontational course which is urged by the Bush neoconservatives and the liberal hawks surrounding Obama, as it was in 2001, the voices of the globalists and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) become louder and louder. They have always insisted on working together with the Russian elite and the inclusion of its representatives in the Atlanticist projects. The Sixth Column in the Russian elite is mostly their project.
So on November 16th, Henry Kissinger, the “patriarch” of American realism, at a conference in New York, called for closer ties with Russia as it now has a common enemy with the Western World. He said this at the annual Global Security Forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
On the same day, Richard Haass, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations noted in his article “AfterParis”, that the Western World can achieve political success in Syria “only with Russian and Iranian support“.
The Western media: the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Economist, Forbes and many others are writign that the Russian isolation is over, and it is necessary to build partnerships.
Russia is asked again, as it was after the 9/11, to join a general coalition against terrorism. The results, at best, will be the same: the Atlanticists will gain a foothold in key areas of the Rimland, and then will start new offensive actions in the Heartland, using its agents in the Russian authorities. The plan to weaken Russia is conducted not by direct confrontation with the Western World, but by soft suffocation, including by increasing the role of the Russian Sixth Column in domestic politics. Importantly, its members started talking unanimously about a general anti-terrorist coalition and its common enemy. In this case, the opponents of such an alliance with the Western countries will be removed from the media and from making key decisions for the country.
Importantly, the attitude of Western countries and their ideology of the Russian leader have been changed. On October 22nd, nine days before the terrorist attacks, Vladimir Putin made a speech at the Valdai Forum in Sochi harshly criticizing the Western authorities, Atlanticist globalism and the unipolar world. The main idea of the G20 summit speech was quite different, more conciliatory, however, the realist sovereign approach remained unchanged.
However, it is too early to talk about the final defeat of the stringent Russia strategy. The WSJ itself reported on the likely extension of the EU sanctions against Russia despite the joint struggle against terrorism in Syria. On November 17th, Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, called for the same actions in her speech in Berlin. It looks like the neoconservatives are ready to use the unresolved Ukrainian issue to maintain their position, at least partially, on their Russian strategy.