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Jan. 3, 2005
/ 22 Teves 5765
Top Ten Arab and Iranian Conspiracy Theories Ending 2004
This would be funny if it weren't so pathetic and dangerous!
The year 2003 saw conspiracy theories from the Middle East surrounding most major events, ranging from the destruction of the Space Shuttle Columbia to the capture of Saddam Hussein. 2004 saw a continuation of this trend. Previous conspiracy theories this year included blaming the U.S. and Zionists for worldwide calamities, Egyptian conspiracies about 9/11, and accusations about activities of the U.S. and Jews in Iraq. The following top ten list represents conspiracies which were published in the Arab and Iranian media during the last months of 2004.
10) U.S. and Zionist Control of Al-Jazeera: Muslim critics of Al-Jazeera frequently charge that it is run by the U.S. and Israel. In the Tehran Times on December 2, Hassan Hanizadeh wrote that "rumors arose suggesting that the network was established by U.S. and Israeli agents in order to present a bad image of Islam to the world… The actions of the network gradually revealed the fact that Al-Jazeera officials, on the orders of Zionist agents, are trying to … tarnish the image of Islam…"
9) Zionists Spreading Diseases Amongst Arabs: Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV broadcast a program in November about "Zionist attempts to transmit dangerous diseases like AIDS through exports to Arab countries." Iran's Mehr News Agency ran a story titled "Israel Exporting Carcinogenic Foodstuff to Arab States" on November 24, writing, "The trend has led to an increase in leukemia and liver and stomach cancer in the Arab countries which have imported Israeli foodstuff."
8) Iran Accuses Al-Zarqawi of Working for Jordan: The Iranian Mehr News Agency alleged on December 26 that "Jordan sent Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Iraq to carry out destabilization activities," and that Iraqi President Iyad Allawi is controlled by Jordanian officials. The report also accused Jordan of planning to re-settle five million Palestinians in Iraq.
7) Jews Were Behind the September 1st-3rd Chechen Beslan School Attack: Dozens of religious, political, and media personalities from the Middle East have blamed the Beslan attack on Jews and Israelis. Ali Abdullah, a conservative Bahraini religious scholar, claimed on September 5, 2004 that Israelis - not Muslims - were behind the attack, as part of an effort to "tarnish the image of Muslims."
6) Israel Stealing Body Parts of Palestinian Children: Iran's Sahar 1 TV is currently airing a weekly series that premiered on December 13 called "Zahra's Blue Eyes." The show includes graphic scenes of Palestinian children whose eyes have been surgically removed and stolen by Israel.
5) Jews Tamper with The Koran: The Kuwaiti English daily Arab Times published an article on September 21 titled "New Education Plan 'Enforced'; Jews tamper with Holy Quran." The article reported on the Dean of the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies of Kuwait University, Dr. Mohammad Abdul Razak Al-Tabtabaei, who had "warned citizens and residents of some versions [of the Koran] which have been manipulated by Jews…" Al-Tabtabaei explained, "For long Jews have been plotting against Muslims using various means… They have been damaging the Holy book by the changing and deleting verses with the aim of hiding the truth."
4) U.S. To Invade Pakistan and Annihilate Muslims: Maqdoom Mohiuddin favorably reviewed a book in the Saudi Gazette on October 19, which advances the theory that "there have been rumors about a possible invasion of Pakistan… The U.S. has started implementing its program… The book also reveals that the other possible targets of the U.S. will be Sudan, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey…" Mohiuddin claims that President Bush's true goal is the "total annihilation of the Muslims."
3) U.S./Jews Behind the October 7th Taba Attacks in Egypt: Adli Barsum of the Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhuriya is one of dozens of Arab columnists who propagated conspiracy theories about the Taba attacks. He asked in Al-Gumhuriya on October 12: "Who planned the bombings in Taba? … Is it the Mossad? …Is it the CIA?" The London Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that a headline in Egypt's weekly Al-Mustaqbal Al-Jadid, the official organ of the National Party's Policies Committee under the leadership of Gamal Mubarak, read "Proof of Mossad Involvement in the Explosions in Taba."
2) Israel Killed Yasser Arafat: Writing in the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram, Ghada Karmi claimed on November 11, "… A close confidant of Ariel Sharon has stated that the latter had 'eliminated' Yasser Arafat 'through his cooks'…" On November 11, Khaled al-Batesh, leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, told UPI that "during Sharon's last visit to Washington, he told U.S. President George W. Bush, 'We will help G-d to get rid of him.'" An article in the Tehran Times on November 17 stated that "a special Zionist commando group" was responsible.
1) U.S. Soldiers Stealing Organs from Iraqis: In the Saudi daily Al-Watan on December 22, an article by Fakhriya Ahmad alleges that, based on European secret military reports, U.S. personnel in Iraq are stealing human organs: "The reports confirm the finding of tens of thousands of mutilated cadavers missing parts… These teams offer $40 for every usable kidney and $25 for an eye…" The report also appeared in the Syrian daily Teshreen and in Iran's Jomhour-ye Islami.
With 2004 over, Arab and Iranian conspiracy theories were again rampant. This follows an ongoing trend, which seems certain to continue in 2005.
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Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of The Middle East Media Research Institute (www.memri.org). Click here to comment on this column.
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© 2004, MEMRI