The Guardian |: Lessons from the 2014 Malaysian Airlines disaster were not heeded. Now 176 more people are dead
On 7 January, one day before Iran shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane near Tehran, as commercial jets piled into the busy air corridor over neighbouring Iraq, I tweeted: “I hope the lessons of MH17 are not being forgotten.”
That reference to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 – which was shot down by separatist rebels over eastern Ukraine in 2014 – might seem like an eerie premonition. But it was simply common sense. My concerns were rooted in a basic grasp of the risks of flying through potential conflict zones. Last week’s tragedy has exposed the abject failure of western governments, intelligence agencies and airline industry groups to protect travellers, as they pledged to in the aftermath of MH17.
Consider what was known in the days leading up to the loss of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752. On 3 January, the US goaded Iran by assassinating its most senior military commander, Qassem Suleimani. Iran vowed retribution for what it saw as a declaration of war. US president Donald Trump then upped the ante, suggesting that any Iranian response might provoke a “disproportionate” US strike.
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