British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Thursday that it's "more likely than not" that a bomb brought down Metrojet Flight KGL 9268 on Saturday, according to CNN. Though Cameron and aviation experts can't be certain that a bomb brought down the plane, Cameron still said he thinks there's enough reason to keep British flights from leaving Sharm el-Sheikh, the Egyptian resort from which Flight KGL 9268 left on Saturday. But the only problem with the bomb theory is the motivation behind it: Why would someone target a Russian passenger plane?
Russia is powerful, and has already become involved in the Middle East, so the country probably wouldn't hold back from retaliating if terrorists attacked its citizens.
The Russian plane crash killed all 224 passengers and crew after it broke apart in mid-air, which is unusual for a plane to do simply as the result of some technical malfunction or pilot error. So, aviation experts and the media have speculated that the crash may have been caused by a combination of some kind of missile, bomb, or severe malfunction. U.S. officials also have intelligence suggesting that ISIS or other terrorist organizations it works with placed a bomb on the plane, according to CNN, so terrorist involvement is looking more and more likely.
At first, officials thought that a terrorist attack by ISIS affiliates in the Sinai Peninsula, where the Egyptian resort was located, would be extremely unlikely, because the group there is largely unorganized, according to The Daily Telegraph. If the group has organized enough to plant a bomb on a passenger jet, then it would be a huge deal for the group's "strategic aims," according to The Guardian. It would imply an evolution in ISIS' unorganized groups, such as the one in the Sinai Peninsula, and also show that the claims by ISIS militants on Saturday that they did attack the plane could've actually been true.
Attacking a Russian passenger plane would be no small deal. It would mean that Russian President Vladimir Putin has landed himself in serious hot water by intervening in Syria last month, according to The Guardian. Foreign affairs officials have accused Putin of intervening to help prop up Bashar al-Assad, whose regime in serious has been accused of serious war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to The Independent. Putin has denied the accusation that he's propping up Assad and has instead said that he intervened to target Islamic State forces, which are already being attacked by U.S.-led forces, according to The Guardian.
Putin's planes allegedly bombed ISIS weapons stores and bases in Syria, and ISIS vowed to take revenge, according to The Guardian. If ISIS did attack the downed Russian plane, then Putin probably won't remove his forces from Syria. That would be admitting guilt — that Russia's involvement in Syria led to an attack on Russian civilians.
Putin said that he would respond appropriately if the facts show that the bomb was orchestrated by ISIS. But Putin's idea of "appropriate" involvement would probably mean more attacks on ISIS in Syria, becoming more involved in fighting ISIS in Iraq, or strictly controlling any signs of ISIS militants in Muslim areas of Russia, according to The Guardian. Regardless, Putin will not admit fault, and the conflict between Russia and Middle Eastern countries where ISIS operates will probably intensify.