‘No conspiracy theorists’

In its editorial condemning the assassination of Lebanese journalist Gibran Tueni, The Jordan Times came down hard on believers of conspiracy theories. Here is an excerpt:

The criminals who are orchestrating all these attacks are definitely doing Syria no favour. Still, this is no time for conspiracy theories. Only backward elements, sad dinosaurs entrenched behind a long-gone cold war mentality and naïve enough to think that anyone could believe them in this 21st century of ours, would point the finger at their usual suspects: The Zionist enemy, imperialist America, or both.

Thinking that serious allegations could be brushed off merely by resorting to decades-old rhetoric and propagandistic slogans is as ridiculous as irresponsible.

Indeed. I voiced similar sentiments in an earlier post published after the release of Melhis first report, saying then:

I wonder how believers in conspiracy theories in the Arab world (and there are loads of them) will spin this one? How will they find a way to pin the blame on the favorite Middle East culprits, the US or Israel? It will be interesting to watch. Never underestimate the creativity of analysts in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, I’m starting to believe that conspiracy theories will never die in this part of the world. They will always find a niche in the Middle East.

By Natasha Tynes

I’m a Jordanian-American journalist, writer, and media development professional based in Washington, DC.


  1. Don’t feel too bad. Conspiracy theories are all over America. Just watch C-SPAN sometime. I’ve heard at least half a dozen callers call in saying 9/11 was an “inside job”. Another call in saying the tsunami last year was set off by a nuclear bomb. And at least five call in during a special about AIDS saying that Western countries created AIDS to steal resources from the Africans. Then there’s Skull and Bones, the Illuminati, The Elite, etc, etc, and etc.

  2. Well boohoo .. someone in the Jordan Times (it rhymes with Tynes by the way :D) is bored of listening to conspiracy theories. Well I don’t blame them really, I’ve grown sick of hearing them too, but you know what? We’ve been living in a region ruled by chaos and turbulance that really does the spectator have anything else but theories? And is every theory a conspiracy theory? And what is so bad about saying someone conspired to do something?
    I personally have 3 suspects when it comes to the murder of Gibran Tweini, here they are in random order:
    1) Syria
    2) Hezbollah
    3) The US
    Now. Does Syria gain from his murder? Certainly! Because there would be less opposition to it within Lebanon. Does it hurt from his murder? Certainly too because we already see the world reaction and how Syria is now more on the spot.
    Does Hezbollah gain from his murder? Again it too does gain because they were never on good terms with him. Does Hezbollah suffer from his death? Mmmmmaybe you can say, but Hezbollah gets saved because the focus is more on Syria.
    Does the US gain from his murder? Again it too gains from his death because now the US has one extra excuse to go after both Syria and Hezbollah. Does the US hurt from his death? I don’t see how it could.
    These are the three suspects in my mind.

  3. 4) My man-hating feminist neighbor: she gains from his death because there’s one less male on the planet (she’s also a tree hugger and its helps on that front, less waste, global warming, etc..) and she hurts from his death becauze he could have contributed to the spawning of more women.
    Isn’t this a conspioracy theory?

  4. ok so if something should happen in lebanon ever then it must be syria. forget about evidence, they are automatically guilty until proven innocent
    to blame anyone else (just as blindly) must be a crazy “arab conpiracy theory”
    my fear is not that conspiracy theories will never die in our region but that we will never understand the concept of justice. we just go with the flow and nod our heads to whatever the media tells us to think because to think otherwise is a sin.

  5. I was deeply saddened to hear of the murder of Mr.Tueni.And maybe I’m naive,but it isn’t it logical that Syria was behind it,seeing as they were being strongly criticised by this man?
    It really bothers me when people blame the US for every problem or disaster in the world,especially since we supply so many nations with millions of dollars in foreign aid,and are usually among the first to respond to natural disasters.
    And contrary to Hollywood movie plots,the CIA and big oil companies are not to blame for the troubles in the Middle East,although they certainly have an influence on perceptions and politics.
    Btw,the UN is threatening sanctions against Syria for it’s alleged role in the killing of Hariri and support for terrorist groups.Yep,that ought to be sufficient to make them repent and change their ways!

  6. Dan, what you said is logical; of course Syria will benefit from his death. But logic often contains composite logical statements: I think the damage that will soon be done to Syria’s regime might be even greater than the benefit of having one if its opponents in Lebanon eliminated.
    And unfrotunately for you, the US does stand to benefit a lot from distabalizing the Middle East, and people realize that. And I think it is logical. And even though the US sends out millions of dollars a year in aid, it doesn’t loose billions thanks to the distabalized situation in the Middle East.
    Think 3rd world economies that are the number one exporters of oil. What can that mean other than wasted potential? And how can that potential be wasted if it weren’t for the chaos and uncertainties ruling the region? And how would that change for the US if those economies were now small super powers?

  7. Dan, I think you are living in denial and your comment portray’s the US as the savior of the world, that can do no wrong. Yes we do a lot of good in the world…but alot of that is on the surface. We give money, but we also get back that money one way or another, we give aid, but think why do we do that? Is it because we feel morally obligated to act? Because our government is saddened by sight of the poor and weak? We have that in our back yards and no one blinks an eye. There are so many things you and I know nothing about that our government does, both good and bad. Call me a conspiracy theorist or whatever, but when I hear about things such as the assassination I look at who benefits and who is the most likely scapegoat or easiest entity to pin it on.
    Please someone tell me, when all eyes are on Syria for their roles in these stupid killings, why on Earth would they continue to carry them out? And are sanctions a really deterant to force nations to their knees? I think not. We have some fine examples of this in the Axis of Evil countries and with Cuba.

  8. Hamzeh and Luai–
    Logic tells you that Syria could not have killed all those anti-Syrian figures because of potential damage to the regime? Because it doesn’t make sense to you that killers kill those who point out their crimes? What kind of logic is that you believe in? Murderers are innocent because their crimes incriminate them? I hope you realize that this is what you sound like!
    I don’t care what your feelings are towards the US. Spare me the conspiracy crap. An Arab country is murdering the citizens of another and all you can come up with are disbelief and shameful justifications of murder.

  9. Kais, first, thanks for calling my words “crap”.
    Second, I didn’t say “Syria couldn’t have killed these figures”. I believe I said more than once here in this very same blog entry by Natasha that Syria stands to benefit from the deaths of their opposition figures in Lebanon (this is now the third time I have said this). I also pointed out that Syria will suffer from their deaths too, because the majority in the world today are suspicious of Syria (including myself, 4th time I say it now) and that will only make matters worse for them among the global community.
    As I told Dan, just because you make one logical statement doesn’t necessarily mean you’re absolutely right. You could be neglecting a thousand more logical statements. It’s by putting these pieces together in the correct form that a good picture of what’s going around you begins to unfold.
    Now, is that still conspiracy crap for you?

  10. Why would they Luai? Try reading about Syria from a Syrian:
    The ruling power isn’t interested in reform, the reformers are powerless and *neither* has any real control over the radicals in the country, not even within their own political party. I get the impression that if Chaos and incompetence could be distilled into a tangible substance, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between that distillation and the Syrian regime. These are not people in enough control of the situation to act ractionally. They are backed into a corner by their own past mistakes, an inability to change and the lack of a functional opposition movement that has the guts or ability to force out the incompetents. And when you back a wounded animal into a corner, does it do rational things?

  11. Perhaps I am in denial,but I’m happy in my little world,ok? lol!
    But seriously,I am not implying that the US is perfect or that the government does not lie and deceive when it suits their purpose.But is it wrong for us to have a slightly ulterior motive in our foreign policy,and are we the only ones who do? I still believe this is the greatest country in the world right now in many ways.If it were not so,then why would millions of immigrants seek to live here,legally or illegally?
    I should have differentiated between government and private aid,btw.American citizens routinely donate to relief agencies like the Salvation Army,Feed the Children,Operation Blessing,United Way,etc,which help both our own citizens and those in other countries.
    I have to agree with Kagehl that a wounded animal does not act rationally or logically,though there is no proof (as yet) that Syria is behind the murders in Lebanon.

  12. To those who think that Syria was not behind the murder of Gebran Tueni:
    The Syrian regime knows it now has nothing to lose-it is suicidal. It therefore plans to wreack has much havoc as possible in Lebanon. It gains a number of ways; it sends a message to those who were brave like Gibran to stand up for Lebanon, albite his flaws. He was not perfect but who is? Also, if Syria destabilizes Lebanon to the point of war (which is where we are heading if a major leader like Walid Junblatt or Hassan Nasrallah are killed) Damascus will also be throwing off track Washington’s plan for the Middle East, including presenting Lebanon as a democratic state in the region.

  13. Mildly insightful, heavily presumptious.
    Where are the supporting facts in your argument? How do you know that the ‘Syrian regime knows it has nothing to lose and is suicidal’? Are you the Syrian regime, did you speak to it recently?
    I think there is more evidence suggesting that Syria has a lot to lose, otherwise, they simply wouldn’t have denied the accusations right? I am not defending Syria, but I also refuse to jump on the bandwagon (or bakum) of attacking her because I am not in a position to do so.

  14. Hamako,
    I greatly appreciate the fact that you replied since it means that you are prepared to for a healthy discussion over this matter. However, when you questione whether I believe that can do this through slightly more concrete arguements than ‘are you the Syrian regime, did you speak to it recently’?
    Tsk, tsk, tsk….
    One of the good things about Lebanon is the very wide array of newspapers. They are not exactly objective but when you read through most of them, you can pretty much form an idea of what is happening on the ground.
    Kindly refer to these papers-or even pan-Arab ones-and then let’s chat.

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