05:24 GMT +327 February 2017
    Russian Airbus A321 passenger airliner crash site in Egypt

    Could Saudi Arabia or Qatar Be Behind the Crash of the Russian Airbus?

    Press-service of Russian Emergency Situations Ministry
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    Russia's Worst Air Accident: A321 Crashes in Sinai (273)

    On October 31, Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 passengers and crew on board. Two weeks have since passed, and some Russian experts are now coming to suspect that the crash may indeed have been an act of terror, and that the trace leads to the Gulf.

    Commenting on the theory that the plane may have been downed by terrorists, Russian business and analysis magazine Expert noted that such a theory "poses serious foreign policy implications. It is absolutely clear that Russia cannot simply passively swallow such a bitter pill, and that its next steps in the complex game in the Middle East must take account of a new kind of threat."

    The magazine's analysis, published as an editorial in its Monday print edition, suggests that "if the version suggesting terrorism is definitively confirmed (and the facts in favor of this theory are mounting), first and foremost it will be necessary to understand what forces may stand behind the direct perpetrators from among the Egyptian wing of the Islamic State."

    "The first version," Expert notes, "is that Qatar, a country which supports ISIL, may be responsible. The emirate does have a very tense relationship with Moscow, and the parties regularly exchange insults and threats, including over Syria. Moscow's actions there are contrary to the interests of Qatar's powerful Minister of Foreign Affairs –Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, and undermine his authority in his own country."

    "However," according to the magazine, "in this case, it appears unlikely to be the work of the emirate. The days of the emirate's disproportionate ambitions sank into oblivion along with the former emir, and now the ultimate goal of Qatar's authorities seems to be to maneuver between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It seems unlikely that the emirate would risk the consequences of blowing up a Russian plane."

    "The Saudis on the other hand, have had every reason to lash out at the Kremlin," Expert notes. "Having begun an operation in Syria and managing to coordinate it with the Americans, Moscow did not just muddle all of Riyadh's cards in the Syrian war — it put Saudi Arabia in a desperate situation."

    Pilots onboard of the US Marine fighter jet aircrafthave flown missions into both Iraq and Syria, part of the over 6,800 airstrikes carried out since August 2014.
    © AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic
    "If Russia cannot be convinced to immediately leave Assad in the lurch, Saudi Arabia is guaranteed to lose the Syrian hand and, as a consequence, will be defeated in its proxy war with Iran," Expert notes. "And it is unclear just how Riyadh's allies in the anti-Iranian struggle in the Gulf will react to such a defeat –it is unlikely that they will view it as simply an unpleasant embarrassment."

    Expert admits that "this version has one major drawback: ISIL is not a Saudi project. However, the Middle East knows many examples of effective cooperation between the Kingdom and the self-declared caliphate. For example, in Yemen, the Saudis are fighting against pro-Iranian Huthis hand in hand with the local branch of ISIL –Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."

    "If it turns out that Saudi Arabia really is behind the attack on the Russian plane, Russia will have a number of options at its disposal. The first and most obvious is to begin an open military conflict with Riyadh; this is the most unreasonable option. The Americans have the Saudis' back, and are destined to support the Kingdom [in the event of war]. As a result, Moscow would not only be unable to achieve its goals, but also risk destroying a shaky compromise with Washington on Syria."

    "But there is another possibility," Expert suggests, "via the Houthis. And Russia would not even have to supply them with weapons (the Iranians have already successfully done so). It would be enough simply to provide them with political support, and to protect them from possible sanctions."

    In his own analysis of the crash, published in online analysis resource Svobodnaya Pressa, Yevgeny Satanovsky, a well-known Middle East expert, respectfully disagreed with Expert's analysis, suggesting that it the "Qatari trace which must be sought in the tragedy on the Sinai."

    "In the first place," Satanovsky noted, "cash is capable of opening any door in Egypt. Secondly, Qatar is now experience a very poorly concealed sense of hostility toward Russia." 

    Noting that Foreign Minister Al Attiyah "actually runs the emirate today," the analyst explained that "the war in Syria is treated by the foreign minister as a business. Al Attiyah has invested billions of dollars into this business, and if the plan to overthrow Bashar Assad fails, he stands to lose his position among Qatar's ruling elite."

    "Specifically," Satanovsky explained, "Al Attiyah is the sponsor of a number of terrorist groups in Syria which have been bombed by Russian military aircraft. Yes, even the infamous Islamic State is largely a toy of the Qataris. Moreover, it is Qatar which funds all the terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula. It's simply worth recalling Qatar's use of the Muslim Brotherhood to undermine the Egyptian government, and the Brotherhood's defeat by Egyptian authorities in 2013."

    In the case of the downed Russian Airbus, Satanovsky noted that "in my opinion, we really are dealing with a terrorist attack, one which could be easily organized by the Qataris. In the place of the security services, I would attempt to sniff out the Qatari trace in the airport at Sharm el-Sheikh. And if traces of explosives are found on the wreckage of the airliner, it will be necessary to look in the direction of Minister Al Attiyah, and those terrorist groups in Sinai which he finances and organizes."

    Ultimately, the expert suggests that if it is a terror attack, it is worth noting that this is exactly how the Qataris would target Russia. "Organizing terrorist attacks in Russia is not their forte –but rather that of the Saudis' General Intelligence service, so long as the latter was led by Prince Bandar bin Sultan [who was dismissed April 2014]. Now the Saudis have quieted down, and have their own, separate interests in Egypt. Therefore, I have no reason to suspect their involvement in the Airbus crash."

    In any case, if the theory that the Russian plane was downed by a terror attack turns out to be true, and the trace does lead to any third power, rest assured that there will be hell to pay for those responsible. 

    Russia's Worst Air Accident: A321 Crashes in Sinai (273)


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    expert analysis, Metrojet A321, terrorism, crash, analysis, A321 crash, Khalid Bin Mohammad Attiyah, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia
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    • Eva Brown
      Another stupid question. If course Saudi Araby Qatar Emirates Koweit Turky countries that finance Muslim terror activities everywere in the world ... of course they are behind. Or do you believe in Moderate Islam ?! Is lslam is islam as told Erdogan "there is no moderate or radical islam " so the called radical do tge dirty job in behalf of the moderates LOL .
    • avatar
      A Russian attack against Saudi Arabia would make an American attack against Iran look like a walk in the park by comparison. The Saudi's have an enormous inventory of U.S. made Patriot Pac-3 anti-aircraft missiles. Those are comparable to the latest Russian S-400 systems and would have an extremely high kill-rate against Russia planes like the SU-27 or SU-34. Russia has no operational stealth aircraft to defeat modern air defenses. Saudi also have the U.S. THADD system which would be very effective against Russian cruise missiles or ballistic missiles. The Saudi Navy has the latest U.S. SM-3 and SM-6 which are extremely effective at missile defense and anti-aircraft support. The Saudi's have U.S. made submarines with state of the art anti-ship weapons. Of course Russia would defeat Saudi Arabia, but they would suffer very high casualties and a high loss of ships and airplanes. It would be an extremely costly fight and not one Russia should take lightly. It would leave the Russian military drained and weakened. It might take years to restore weapons inventories that would be depleted. Russia produces sophisticated, quality weapons, but their industrial base can't produce them at the high rate that their American counterparts can.
    • avatar
      The Saudis has matured on the lines of the British and USA murdering actions. Historically these countries foreign policies were to use any atrocity means to gain advantage and subdue countries to their knees. Assassination, torture, bribery and the use of conspirator was normal menu of these two countries. These two countries use pseudo principles to look for allies, as for example, invoking “International community support” to commit mayhem in other nations. So it will not be surprise that the Saudis in cooperation with the Qataris paid a lot of money to relax security in the airport in Sinai (Egypt) in order to sneak a bomb in the Russian air plane. Russia must stop being the international good guy entity. Only the Russian address the USA and its allies as “our partners” while the USA and allies address the Russian as “Russian” and they declare publicly that Russia is worse that Ebola and a treat to world security.
    • avatar
      landaurojin reply tocoolerheads(Show commentHide comment)
      The Saudi intelligence needed to operate the sophisticated weapons that you mentioned is limited. Most probably they are operated by no Saudis nationals. An attack in Saudi Arabia will explode a war with unpredictable results and many parties will be involved and you may see that Israel will be taking side with the Saudis. The best thing is to use a tactic that has been accomplished by the CIA to assassinate people or remove governments around the world. For example, supporting ISIL in Saudi Arabia, or dissidents to create havoc in the Saudi royal ruler could be a fair strategy.
    • jaodernein garshinvic
      When the USS Memphis submarine sank the Kursk, the matter was silently settled between Russia and USA. If a State is involved in the Airbus shoot down, maybe we will have a similar silent process, without public revenges in far-west style.
      Being President Putin a great master of politics, he will surely take the best choice (after all, he's aware of a huge amount of facts unknown to the public...)
    • could be
    • qvasko 15in reply tocoolerheads(Show commentHide comment)
      coolerheads, Thanks for this info, you made situation more clear to me...now, I have no idea how can an evil like Saudi Arabia be dismissed. Evolutionary?
    • qvasko 15in reply tolandauroj(Show commentHide comment)
      landauroj, I think it's dangerous to support ISIL anywhere?! Maybe to provoke conflict within a royal family?
    • avatar
      OIL WELLS OF SAUDI ARABIA TO BE DESTROYED BY RUSSIA WITH CRUISE MISSILES. PATRIOT KILL RATIO ON THESE IS FAIR ZERO. RUSSIA WILL LOSE NOT A SINGLE SOLDIER AND RUSSIA WILL TRIPLE OR QUADRUPLE THEIR BENEFITS FROM OIL EXPORTS. ALL RUSSIA NEEDS IS A GOOD REASON TO DESTROY ALL OIL FIELDS IN SAUDI ARABIA. and btw, Patriot is NO S400!!! don't try to spread missinformations here! SAUDI or QUATAR must pay, one of them must pay and serve as an example. the downfall of the petrodollar is a bit too small pay for what was already done these last years. the economy of US and allies must be brought down. no easy escape for the guilty!
    • avatar
      Let us see where this inquiry takes us. I am quite confident that if the road leads to the House of Saudi and Qatar the Russian government will take appropriate reprisals irregardless of the American position. If the United States wishes to support such acts of terrorism, so be it. All through history humanity has had to face absolute evil, and this is one of those times, so far humanity has prevailed albeit at a cost, but some things are worth the cost and sacrifice and defeating this pure evil unholy alliance of criminals is one of those times.
    • choticastile
      Absolutely! -- But add to this dastardly act two other main ingredients -- the people of s a t a n ya ju and the alciada -- then you're talking Turkey -- literally and not only the bird but the country and its corrupt little cheat bag ruler.
    • choticastilein reply tohopscotch64(Show commentHide comment)
      hopscotch64, Everybody forgets that Ashcan Carter said, that Russia would soon suffer heavy casualties -- was that a not so veiled threat? Personally, I think so.
    • Tony Rossiniin reply tocoolerheads(Show commentHide comment)
      You really need to learn about military equipment.....there's no such thing as a 100% "stealth aircraft! .....and please don't compare those Patriot missiles to any of the Russian Air-Defense systems! It's a real insult!
      Plus.....don't think 80 million Iranians are going to be such a walkover, when the Americans can't even wipe out Taliban tribesmen after 14 years!!!!
    • avatar
      hopscotch64in reply tochoticastile(Show commentHide comment)
      choticastile, Yes, certainly.
    • avatar
      coolerheadsin reply toTony Rossini(Show commentHide comment)
      Tony Rossini,

      Of course there isn't "100% stealth". Any large flying object generates various signatures. The two signatures commonly used for tracking and targeting are radar and thermal. Warplanes are typically equipped with both radar and thermal imaging systems to detect and target opposing aircraft. Ground based defense systems usually rely on radar to detect and target incoming aircraft or missiles. The distance at which an aircraft can be targeted depends upon the sensitivity of the detection equipment and the size of the signature generated by the approaching aircraft. Stealth technologies simply reduce the aircraft's signatures which in turn reduce the distance at which they can be targeted. The stated maximum targeting range of the S-400 is 250km. That would be the optimal range against a target with a large radar cross section. For example, the radar cross section of a B-52 bomber is about 100 square meters (M2). An S-400 could probably get a missile lock on a B-52 at it's maximum range of 250km. The radar cross section of an F-15 is about 10M2. An S-400 could probably get a missile lock on an F-15 at maybe 150km. By comparison, the radar cross section of an SU-35 is about 15M2. The F-18E Super Hornet incorporates some stealth technology, reducing it's radar cross section to around 3M2. It could probably be targeted by an S-400 at 50-100km. The F-22 Raptor incorporates significant stealth features, reducing its radar cross section to around 0.001 M2, or about the size of a 1cm marble. The most sophisticated radars in the world can only lock onto an object that size at a few kilometers away. So yes, the S-400 could get a missile lock on an F-22, but probably not until the F-22 was within 5 or 10 km. The current anti-radiation missiles carried by the F-22 have a range in excess of 180km and the S-400 launchers have a very large radar signature. An F-22 could fire it's entire missile load at the S-400 while well beyond the distance at which the S-400 could detect the F-22. Stealth technologies don't make you invincible, but they will typically give you the chance to get off several shots before your adversary knows where you are. In mock combat between F-15s, SU-27s, or Eurofighters, its essentially a dead heat with all three fighters being very comparable and essentially equal. In mock combat between the F-22 and any of those aircraft, it's no competition. The F-22 has fired its entire missile load and left the combat area before the other aircraft can even detect it. All they can detect are the heat plumes from its missiles after they've been fired. They have to get within a 5-10 km of the F-22 before they can get a missile lock. In NATO exercises, a squadron of 4 F-22s defeats a squadron of 10 F-15s or Eurofighters every time.
    • avatar
      coolerheadsin reply toTony Rossini(Show commentHide comment)
      Tony Rossini,

      On the subject of Russian missiles, they are very good, but not that different from their American counterparts. Russian technology was cutting edge in the '60s and '70s, but most everything they've introduced since the '80s has merely been a copy of American technology with a few homegrown variations thrown on. The Su-27 was designed to replicate the performance of the F-15. The two aircraft are very comparable in every way. The R-77 was designed to replicate the performance of the AIM-120. In fact, when the R-77 came out, the press dubbed it the "Amraamski" since it was such an obvious clone of the AIM-120. Likewise today, the S-400 is intended to replicate the performance of the PAC-3 system. The S-500 is intended to replicate the performance of THAAD. The Russian systems are probably just as good as the U.S. systems they are designed to replicate, but they certainly aren't revolutionary technology.
    • Tony Rossiniin reply tocoolerheads(Show commentHide comment)
      Russia has used several new weapons, like the 26 stealth (or LO technology) cruise missiles (3M-14T Kaliber-NK), equivalent to the American RGM/UGM-109E Tomahawk [8]. Fired by its fleet in the Caspian Sea – with no military necessity – they reached and destroyed 11 targets situated at 1,500 kilometres distance, in the non-jammed area – so that NATO could appreciate their performance.

      These missiles crossed Iranian and Iraqi air space at an altitude varying between 50 and 100 metres, depending on the terrain, and flying just four kilometres away from a US drone. None of them were lost, compared to US missiles, which have a margin of error beteen 5 % and 10 %, depending on the models . At the same time, this salvo demonstrated the waste of the incredible sums of money spent on the useless « anti-missile shield » built by the Pentagon around Russia –even though it was officially intended for protection against Iranian launch sites.
    • Tony Rossiniin reply tocoolerheads(Show commentHide comment)
      The US military budget is around $750 billion a year......yet only $120 billion is made available for new procurements.....the bulk of the Military budget goes on servicing and maintaining that Military.....right down to ordering toilet rolls for the hundreds of overseas Military bases.
      Think how much it costs on maintenance of the U.S Air-Force jets or say Aircraft Carrier battle fleets?.

      Secondly the U.S Military Corporations really do rip off the U.S Dept of Defence.
      The US Defence has to spend $200 million on ONE 5th Gen F-22 Raptor jet fighter......for that kind of money the Russians can produce 3x 5th Gen PAK-FA Jet fighters.....whilst the Chinese would be able to produce 4x 5th Gen J-20s

      US waste $12-14 billion on a single Aircraft carrier.....meanwhile with that kind of money the Russians were able to develop the best Missile and Rocket systems in the world.
      In nearly every missile category the Russians are superior in.e.g Anti-Ship (Yakhonts & Sunburn), Hypersonic missiles (Iskander-M), Air-Defense missile systems (S-300,S-400,S-500,TOR, Buk), high speed supercavitating torpedoes.(VA-111 Shkval)

      Look at the Nuclear missiles categories.
      - US has 400 Tactical nukes (200 of which are kept in Europe & Turkey) for the battlefield......whilst the Russians have 1900!

      -Strategic Nukes, the U.S and Russians have more or less the same number....but Russians have clear advantage as they are much more modern than the U.S nukes.

      U.S Submarines use Trident 2's first brought in 1980's....the Russians now have brand NEW Bulava and Sinerva and Layner SLBM nukes!

      Land Nukes :
      The US rely heavily on the nukes stored in Silos...the Minutemen 3's introduced in the 1970's
      The Russians on the other hand (and Chinese too) prefer mobile launchers as they are easier to hide and move around.

      The Russians are modernising all their ICBMs ....both silo and mobile launchers with Topal-M, SS-24 Yars....and the NEW "Sarmat" and "Rubezh"mobile ICBM systems.

      "Rubezh" is a Russian solid-fueled, MIRV-equipped, thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missile with reported hypersonic warheads in advanced stages of development as of early 2015.

      You might have missed Obama's speech this year.....where he states the U.S has to spend around $1 trillion over next 2 or so decades to modernize all their Nuclear missile stockpile.
      The.US are seriously lagging behind Russia at the moment.
    • Tony Rossiniin reply tocoolerheads(Show commentHide comment)
      Wrong.....some of the S-400 variants have a range of 400 km!
    • avatar
      Tactical Investor
      Would not surprise me. I would trust a poisonous snake more than the house of Saud
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