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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Conspiracy theory of the day: Jews to colonize Iraq!

From the nutty Online Journal, January 30:
Israeli expansionists, their intentions to take full control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and permanently keep the Golan Heights of Syria and expand into southern Lebanon already well known, also have their eyes on parts of Iraq considered part of a biblical “Greater Israel.”

Israel reportedly has plans to relocate thousands of Kurdish Jews from Israel, including expatriates from Kurdish Iran, to the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Nineveh under the guise of religious pilgrimages to ancient Jewish religious shrines. According to Kurdish sources, the Israelis are secretly working with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to carry out the integration of Kurdish and other Jews into areas of Iraq under control of the KRG.

Kurdish, Iraqi Sunni Muslims, and Turkmen have noted that Kurdish Israelis began to buy land in Iraqi Kurdistan, after the U.S. invasion in 2003, that is considered historical Jewish “property.”

The Israelis are particularly interested in the shrine of the Jewish prophet Nahum in al Qush, the prophet Jonah in Mosul, and the tomb of the prophet Daniel in Kirkuk. Israelis are also trying to claim Jewish “properties” outside of the Kurdish region, including the shrine of Ezekiel in the village of al-Kifl in Babel Province near Najaf and the tomb of Ezra in al-Uzayr in Misan Province, near Basra, both in southern Iraq’s Shi’a-dominated territory. Israeli expansionists consider these shrines and tombs as much a part of “Greater Israel” as Jerusalem and the West Bank, which they call “Judea and Samaria.”

Reportedly assisting the Israelis are foreign mercenaries paid for by U.S. Christian evangelical circles that support the concept of “Christian Zionism.”

Iraqi nationalists charge that the Israeli expansion into Iraq is supported by both major Kurdish factions, including the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan headed by Iraq’s nominal President Jalal Talabani. Talabani’s son, Qubad Talabani, serves as the KRG’s representative in Washington, where he lives with his wife Sherri Kraham, who is Jewish.

Also supporting the Israeli land acquisition activities is the Kurdistan Democratic Party, headed by Massoud Barzani, the president of the KRG. One of Barzani’s five sons, Binjirfan Barzani, is reportedly heavily involved with the Israelis.

The Israelis and their Christian Zionist supporters enter Iraq not through Baghdad but through Turkey. In order to depopulate residents of lands the Israelis claim, Mossad operatives and Christian Zionist mercenaries are staging terrorist attacks against Chaldean Christians, particularly in Nineveh, Irbil, al-Hamdaniya, Bartalah, Talasqaf, Batnayah, Bashiqah, Elkosheven, Uqrah, and Mosul.

The ultimate aim of the Israelis is to depopulate the Christian population in and around Mosul and claim the land as biblical Jewish land that is part of “Greater Israel.” The Israeli/Christian Zionist operation is a replay of the depopulation of the Palestinians in the British mandate of Palestine after World War II.

Wow, these Joooz are amazing! I guess that since Israel's attempt to expand to the Nile was derailed by that damned peace agreement with Egypt, they are setting their sites on the Euphrates.

The author, not surprisingly, is a 9/11 conspiracy theorist as well.

Even though this is simply stupid, Iraqpundit points out that the fact that it has been translated into Arabic makes it potentially dangerous:

When talking about what might derail progress in Iraq, people rarely mention the power of the conspiracy theory. Rumours have traditionally done a great deal of damage in the Middle East, and Iraq was never spared from this exercise. Sometimes the talk can be so silly that it's harmless, such as Saddam Hussein wore a crucifix under his suit. And sometimes it can be so carefully constructed that it can persuade even the cynical. I used to think the stories were created only by locals. But here's an American-made conspiracy rumour that is spreading.....

The problem is his story was translated into Arabic, which makes it sound more credible. The the Middle East, if something is written by Americans, British, etc, it is more likely to be believed. Many times people start a rumour and attribute it to a western source.

On the surface, the story sounds so absurd that it should be dismissed, right? But Madsen wants to make sure he ignites something: "According to Kurdish sources, the Israelis are secretly working with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to carry out the integration of Kurdish and other Jews into areas of Iraq under control of the KRG."

Tensions are rising between Kurds and non-Kurds in Iraq. And when Madsen introduces such a conspiracy, he is bound to stir up trouble. The disagreement between the Kurds and non-Kurds centers on a land dispute. And when Madsen brings in Israel, he is playing with fire.

Whether wittingly or unwittingly, conspiracy theorists know to play with the Mideasterner who loves to find the most negative angle possible to explain any situation. Some pretty strange stuff has happened in our past, which is why conspiracy theories are not always so easy to disregard.

Conspiracies have been powerful in Iraq. Under the Baathists, access to information was so limited that people depended on gossip for news. Saddam Hussein used gossip to help control the population. Such habits, the belief in rumours, can be very difficult to break. But ignoring the problem is not a good idea. Serious news coverage in Iraq would be helpful. Maybe when people see that Israel does not colonise Iraq, they can figure out that such stories are not to be believed. If Madsen succeeds in persuading Iraqis that Israel is helping Kurds to take over, say, Mosul -- I don't even want to go there. All I can tell you is that it would be foolish to underestimate the power of the conspiracy rumour.

Iraqpundit is right on. No one knows which theories disappear and which gain traction, but the ones that get believed can have deadly results in the Arab world.

(h/t Suzanne)