Hinging on loose ends, this disaster
THE TRAGEDY in the high skies that saw Malaysian Airlines aircraft MH17 blown into pieces, ostensibly after being hit by a Soviet-era Buk missile while it was flying above the conflict-ridden Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, deserves an impartial, transparent and televised international inquiry urgently. There are too many loopholes and unanswered questions that, while pointing straight to pro-Russian rebels mishandling the 1970s radar-guided target-locking surface-to-air missile, also bring up issues that are above and beyond the immediate reason of the incident that killed all 298 onboard. While the international community, particularly the US-driven western politicos and media pundits, sees it as a simple case of undertrained rebels armed with sophisticated Russian-supplied weaponry scoring a game-changing self-goal, what about the factors beyond their reach? Firstly, despite the airspace above eastern Ukraine being declared unsafe for travelling by US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at least three months back, what made the flight coordinates to be suddenly changed to brave the risky zone, despite Malaysian Airlines being under direct FAA jurisdiction? Secondly, even though Russia had closed part of the airway only for planes flying below 32,000 feet, that didn’t apply to MH17 because it was supposed to take a higher flight route. So, the excuse of preferring a ‘direct route’ to save fuel and be environmentally efficient seems rather unlikely given that MH17 had a warzone to avert, which it didn’t resulting in fatal consequences. Thirdly, even though Donetsk is occupied by pro-Russian rebels, the Ukrainian aviation authority still controls and restricts the wider airspace, and in this case, why the airspace was left open and MH17 was allowed to fly at 33,000 feet despite recent incidences of rebels downing military aircraft, is a question that is the elephant in the room.
While the global fraternity is all too shocked and awed at the happenstance, what is needed is an immediate probe into the matter, by third parties so as to completely avoid biases and propensities creeping in to obfuscate the real triggers behind this ‘crash terrorism.’ It is obvious that the Donetsk rebels have misfired, but what determined the exact position of the MH17 aircraft in the target zone of the militia is precisely the question that begs an answer. Moreover, the second tragedy to hit Malaysian Airlines in less than four months not only puts the credibility of the entire flight operation under scanner, but also casts doubt on the future of global aviation itself, which is becoming the collateral damage in world that’s in a permanent state of war. Whether it’s Israel’s air and ground offensive in Gaza that has already claimed 370 lives in less than 10 days, or the blowing up of the MH17 aircraft, there is really no place that can be deemed safe and secure from the effect of protracted wars that are mushrooming in various corners of the world. As political opportunists settle old scores and pro-war lobbies blame the hapless Airlines company, we fail to see the actual reasons behind this heinous murder.