VASILY MAXIMOV via Getty Images

Why Would ISIS Target A Russian Airliner Instead Of An American One?

The "Wilayet Sinai", or Sinai Province (SP) offshoot of ISIS, took credit for downing a Russian-owned Metrojet airliner on 31 October. All 224 passengers flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg died in the crash. In its self-congratulatory tweet, SP referred to those killed as "Russian crusaders". Curiously, if SP reports to the ISIS nerve-centre in Raqqa, why target Russia at all? The US-led Operation Inherent Resolve has been far more damaging to the group's activities in Syria and Iraq than recent Russian airstrikes.