Over the weekend, a Russian aircraft crashed in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. This crash killed all 224 passengers who were Russian tourists. Due to the tensions between Russia and Islamic State (There is tension because Russia is one of the major supporters (the other being Iran) of President Assad and the Islamic State wants him to step down), it is unsure of how exactly the plane crashed. While a U.S Defense Official with access to the latest intelligence on the investigation into the crash says that an explosion definitely did take place and that it is unlikely that it was a terrorist attack, but they cannot rule anything out yet. (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/11/03/pentagon-official-says-there-is-no-way-russian-airliner-was-shot-down/). However there is speculation as to the cause of that explosion, whether it was a plane malfunction, pilot error, or a missile/bomb attack. Another source leans towards the fact that the crash was due to terrorism. Spokesman Mohamed Rahmi confirmed that no distress call was ever received from the plane before the crash. This source then leads the reader to believe that since there was no distress call, and that the plane went because of a terrorist attack. Also in this source they talk about how a Sinai-based Egyptian militant group allied to the Islamic State claimed on Saturday to have shot down the plane in response to Russia's military intervention in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad against rebels including Islamic State. However, the militants are not believed to have missiles capable of hitting a plane at 30,000 feet, and that there is no evidence to suggests that the plane had been struck from the outside. (http://news.yahoo.com/no-proof-plane-broke-mid-air-egyptian-authorities-135259166--finance.html). Since this is still an open investigation, we do not yet know exactly what has happened.
Questions to consider:
· What do you think is the reason why the plane crashed?
· How do you think Russia will react? Do you think they will?
· Do you think it is any of Russia’s business to support President Assad? Why or why not?
· Do you think that President Assad would have stepped down by now if he did not have the support from Russia and Iran? Why or why not?