Amid Fallout of Sinai Plane Crash, Egypt Looks as Unstable as Ever

Amid Fallout of Sinai Plane Crash, Egypt Looks as Unstable as Ever
Egyptian soldiers guard the entrance to the Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport, Egypt, Nov. 6, 2015 (AP photo by Thomas Hartwell).

How much worse can things get in Egypt? The fallout from the likely bombing of a Russian passenger jet, which exploded above the Sinai Peninsula late last month, has crippled Egypt’s long-suffering tourism industry, with Russia banning all flights to Egypt for the next several months—peak tourism season for Russians. The U.K. and Ireland have suspended flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, the Red Sea resort in the southern Sinai from where the Russian plane took off. Its airport, which had once been praised for its security upgrades after a series of deadly bombings across the seaside town in 2005, is now under intense scrutiny. Militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Sinai, which claims it brought down the plane with a bomb, are suspected of getting an explosive device on board at the airport, with evidence pointing to an inside job.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has made some desperate and bizarre attempts to stem the damage to Egypt’s economy—and to his own legitimacy, which he hitched on restoring Egypt’s so-called stability. But Egypt looks as unstable as ever.

And while Egypt’s state-run media and government officials whip up conspiracy theories about the crash, the very real security threats in the Sinai linger and are likely only going to get worse.

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