It's only April, and already 2005 has seen its share of conspiracy theories from the Middle East. They began to appear in the early days of January, immediately following the tsunami, which was blamed on the usual suspects: America and Israel. The most popular accused America, Israel, and India of performing nuclear tests in the Indian Ocean, which caused the disaster. The following are the top 10 conspiracies so far this year:
10) On Iran's Sahar TV, an Iranian former Education Ministry official spoke on a February 8 program devoted to a Zionist ship sailing around the world kidnapping children to harvest their organs.
9) The Palestinian Authority's ambassador in Sri Lanka, Attallah Quiba, was quoted by the Malaysian National News Agency on March 19 as stating that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was killed by Israelis using powerful lasers.
8) Egypt's adviser to the United Nations, Shahida Al-Baz, was interviewed on Iqra TV on February 10, discussing drug abuse in his country explaining why Israel is responsible: "Although some people say this is a conspiracy theory, it is not... There is an enemy. Israel serves as a channel for drugs. Israel profits from this financially, and at the same time corrupts our youth."
7) The Syrian daily Teshreen on March 7 claimed the CIA and Mossad were behind the attacks of September 11, 2001: "The September 11, 2001 events in New York and Washington were a pretext to justify the implementation of the new domination strategy, knowing that the real perpetrators of the tragic events have been a toughly-controversial issue as many analysts still argue that those events were the creation of the U.S. CIA and the Israeli Mossad."
6) The Saudi Royal family Web site Ain-Al-Yaqeen reported on April 8, "A Palestinian official has unveiled news about the Israeli forces use of killer radiation in its war against the Palestinians. The Director of Al Shifa medical complex in Gaza Jom'a Al Saqa said Israeli troops force the Palestinian crossing the borders from Egypt and Jordan to enter into close chambers, remove their clothes and subject them to electromagnetic radiations. He added that electromagnetic radiations cause dangerous... and these include damage in the blood cells, breaking of blood platelets, cancerous tumors, blindness, mental retardation, and infertility."
5) Saudi journalist Suheila Hammad appeared on Saudi TV Channel 1 on February 3 and discussed conspiracy theories: "I'm not saying I believe in conspiracy theories, but, by Allah, this is a conspiracy. [The Americans] say so. The neocons have said: 'Within 30 years, we will eliminate Islam.' Among the targeted regimes are Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Iran. This is part of the existing conspiracy. It will divide all the Arab countries into ministates... Sudan is being divided so that Darfour will become a secular state... the south will become a Christian state, and there is a conspiracy and a secret agreement among the Egyptian Copts in the U.S. for establishing a Coptic autonomy in the south of Egypt."
4) A report in the Tehran Times of March 8, citing Al-Jazeera as its source, claimed that the CIA and the Mossad were involved in kidnappings and beheadings in Iraq as well as claiming the American military tried to assassinate Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena in Iraq.
3) Following up from leading Arabic dailies in Saudi Arabia and Syria reporting that American soldiers are stealing the body parts of Iraqis, the general commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Yahya Rahim-Safavy, told Iranian Channel 4 on February 6 that American soldiers at Fallujah harvested and sold the organs of dead Iraqis.
2) Discussing the killing of Lebanon's Prime Minister Hariri, Syrian columnist Hassan M. Yousef wrote in the Teshreen daily on February 16 that "the U.S. and Zionist entity" were behind it. A Tehran Times headline report on February 16 was titled "Mossad Behind Hariri Assasination." Rakan Majali contended in the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour on March 7 "that the killing ... was part of the American scheme to start a confrontation between Syria and Lebanon. "The latest hit song of Egypt's most popular singer, Abdel-Rahim, whose songs include, "I Hate Israel" and other songs that blame the attacks of September 11, 2001, on America, holds Ariel Sharon accountable for Hariri's death.
1) Egyptian journalist Sayyed Nassar appeared on Dream 2 TV on February 6 to explain that the Iraqi elections were a theatrical production conducted by an American filmmaker.