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The end of the nation-states: new challenge to aviation security

Gefira.org

photo Andrey Khachatryan

National security agencies are failing to protect their airline carriers. Travel agency and airline carriers can not rely on traditional security information and security agencies. As states disintegrates, traditional governmental organization do not provide safeguards for reliable operations anymore.

We mentioned back in July that there is a full blown war in the Sinai. The Egyptian authorities do everything in their power to downplay the facts in order to hold the image of them being in full control. To protect their economical interest they do not share information about the situation. Hundreds of people have been killed in the Sinai last year alone. In September 12 Mexican tourists were accidentally shot by the Egyptian army and in august of this year a passenger airliner was targeted by a missile. The British plane was landing at Sharm el Sheikh airport when a rocket was launched in their direction the pilot barely managed to dodge it. This serious event  did not result in appropriate actions by the UK’s or Egyptian security authorities.


We have witnessed the same in Ukraine, Kiev was fully aware of the capacities of the separatist to down airplanes. The authorities in Kiev knew the separatist had a Buk system and had already downed an airplanes beyond the reach of the Manpad systems far before the MH17 tragedy. Diplomats were briefed a couple of day’s before the downing of the MH17, while the airspace above the Donbas was deemed save by Ukrainian aviation authorities.
Airlines are facing new security challenges. Traditional security threats came in the past from marginal groups that operated under extreme secrecy. The security measures to thwart these threats are typical manageable by authorities. Traditional governments increases security checks at airports and borders and increases surveillance of the population as a whole to monitor and detect marginal groups within the society. A traditional security threat always resulted in an increases of governmental intervention in the society. To accomplish enhanced security in times of danger, authorities has to rely on civil servants and loyal security personal.
The treats as we see in the Donbas and Sinai are out of the reach of governments as they have lost total control of these parts of the society. Authorities have political and economical intensive to mismanages security threats by their own population at large. Closing the airspace in the Donbas or Sinai would cost a lot of money and also means central government admits it has lost control over these area’s. With the disintegration of the Nation States as we see in parts of Europe and the Middle East, Airlines do face new security risks.

  1. The loyalty of local security officials became a serious risk. The Jihad organization in these countries have more local support than generally assumed. The risk security officials will deflect to Jihad groups is substantial. We warned for this in July.
  2. Local irregular “insurgence” have military capacity that was assumed to be restricted to Nation States. As it is assumed that only Governments have the capacity to operate advanced military installations that can down airplanes at a height of 30.000 ft The capacity of the Jihad networks in Iraq, Syria, Sinai and Libya to down planes is beyond what is generally assumed.
  3. Nation State do upheld the suggestion they are in full control of the whole country. They do not provide honest and reliable information about the area’s that are de facto not anymore under their jurisdiction.

The risk for commercial aviation is clearly beyond the Sinai. The Syrian branch of ISIS poses SA-8 GECKO mobile units with reach far beyond the 30.000 ft and are a direct thread to commercial airlines. It is known that the Libyan army under Gaddafi also possessed SA-8-GECKO systems. It is unclear where those systems are now, as they could been moved to Niger, Mali or many other countries with disgruntled populations that are not under the control or any official UN recognised government