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.