As the world mourns the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, everyone is wondering how this could have happened, and what happens next for MH17.
The United States yesterday concluded that a missile did in fact shoot down the plane. This conclusion was based upon two radar readings at the time the plane went down. One detected an airborne missile tracking the plane; the other showed the heat signature from impact. A preliminary U.S. intelligence analysis lays the blame squarely at the feet of the Pro-Russian rebels. AMN has reported that Igor Stelkov, leader of the rebels in that region, is most likely directly responsible for this despicable act of terror. Ukrainian intelligence has released recordings between a Russian intelligence office and the “leader” of the Pro-Russian rebels in the area. If authentic, these words are tantamount to a confession by the rebels.
A group of international monitors are heading to the crash site to examine it. However, the rebels in the region are threatening to deny them access to the site. According to CNN:
“Michael Bociurkiw, who was traveling with about 30 colleagues, told CNN the OSCE had been given assurances by rebel leaders that they would be able to pass through rebel-held checkpoints. OSCE monitors in eastern Ukraine to observe the civil conflict have previously been taken hostage by separatist groups. There have been conflicting reports over whether the plane’s data recorders have already been recovered by rescue workers or rebels. Ukrainian officials have suggested rebels may seek to take them to Moscow.”
On top of this, there are reports from Ukrainian intelligence that the rebels have handed the flight recorders and the missile launcher over to the Russians, thus ensuring that the world will never know the full truth of what happened.
Who are the Rebels?
The rebels in Eastern Ukraine have been fighting for almost 3 months after the protests in Ukraine ousted their former (pro-Russian) president. The rebels want all of Ukraine to become Russian again. They reject Western ideology, and hate everything the West stands for. They have received extensive, unofficial Russian support. They have been photographed with heavy weaponry that could only have come from Russia. Recently, the Ukrainian army has managed to push back the rebels after a temporary ceasefire that was repeatedly broken. Russia had massed as many as 40,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, but later removed them. However, in recent weeks Russia has increased the number of troops to over 12,000, spurring speculation that an invasion by Russia is imminent.
Could this escalate?
Rising rhetoric, fears and tensions produce fears of escalation. Full-scale war remains unlikely. Russia has nothing to gain, and everything to lose, from invading Ukraine without any provocation. Russia would get more crippling sanctions put against it, offsetting the gain of what was known as the breadbasket of the Soviet Union. Ukraine is no military match for Russia. The nation simply doesn’t have the weaponry or manpower to stop the Russian bear. As we near the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, we know it is always possible nations will act irrationally.If this should occur in the duel between Russia and Ukraine, current speculation considers that the world could potentially be drawn into WWIII.
History can be a guide to what may come next. In 1983, the Soviet Union shot down Korean Airlines Flight 007 on its way to Seoul, killing all 269 people on board. In this case, it was a Russian pilot that shot it down, believing it to be a U.S. surveillance flight. Both sides upped the rhetoric afterwards, and anti-Soviet feelings were high in America, however there was no war. Even though it was a tragedy, it didn’t push us over the brink. This is eerily similar to now as passions, and tempers, are running high on both sides. World leaders are making speeches condemning the attack, and promising that those responsible will pay, but soon it will all die down.
Justice Must be Served
Right now the world is reeling from this attack. Almost 300 innocent people died in one of the worst terrorist attacks in years. In the midst of all the finger pointing, insults, and whatever else comes down the pipe, we must not forget the victims. They didn’t deserve this. No one deserves to die like that. We have a duty to find the party or parties responsible and make sure they are brought to justice, by any means necessary. We have the most advanced technology of any country in the world, and its high time we use it to help these people. America cannot let this act of terror go unanswered. Our nation’s commitment must be to justice for the innocent. On behalf of the innocents slaughtered at the push of a button, we must avenge them.
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What Happens Next For MH17?