As the global fight against the coronavirus intensifies, conspiracy theories continue to appear in the Arab media to explain the source of the virus and its spread. Many of the articles and social media posts allege that the coronavirus was created by the U.S. with the goal of toppling the economy of China, a country which, the writers claim, threatens America's economic and political hegemony.
Cartoon in a Qatari-sponsored daily: Trump announces state of emergency due to the coronavirus (Source: Al-Quds Al-Arabi, March 16, 2020)
The following are excerpts from these articles.
Iraqi Leader Muqtada Sadr: Trump Behind Coronavirus; We Will Reject Any American Treatment Against The Disease
In a March 11, 2020 tweet, the leader of the Shi’ite Sadrist Movement in Iraq, Muqtada Al-Sadr, attacked U.S. President Donald Trump, accusing him of being responsible for the spread of the coronavirus, particularly in the countries that are hostile to the U.S.: "I was taken aback when Trump said: 'We are doing a great job against the coronavirus, and the situation would have been worse had it not been for our intervention.' Oh, Trump, you and others like you are suspected of being behind the spread of this disease, especially since most of those suffering from it are opponents of America." He went on to ridicule President Trump, writing: "Yesterday you claimed that America has brought down great empires and suppressed terrorism, and today you are fighting a virus that is invisible to the naked eye. Are you not ashamed of yourself[?]!" He concluded by saying: "Any treatment dispensed by you and from your infected companies will not be approved by us and we do not want it. You are not only the enemy of Allah but the enemy of the people. You are a virus [that kills] peace that spreads wars and illnesses."
Al-Sadr's March 11 tweet (Source: Twitter.com/Mu_AlSad, March 11, 2020)
On March 4, 2020, Al-Sadr posted a video on Facebook depicting his visit to the shrine of Imam 'Ali in the Iraqi city of Najaf, after it was closed briefly for sterilization against the coronavirus. During the visit, he instructed the custodians of the shrine not to close it for any reason, saying that he would be visiting it on a daily basis to ensure that it remains open to the public.
Shi’ite cleric Assad Al-Naseri, a supporter of the protests against the Iraqi government who split off from the Sadrist Movement, criticized advice of this sort, warning people not to believe the “myths" spread by “ignorant clerics.” In a March 9 tweet, he wrote that "many clerics are ignorant when it comes to their own field of knowledge [religion] as well other fields that are not related to them, so do not believe their superstitions and scams, because their main concern is to preserve their assets, delusions and misleading of minds." He added: "The coronavirus is a pandemic that posed and poses a great danger to people's lives. The solution is to adhere to what science says and medicine decides, and ignorant [clerics] should remain silent."
Al-Naseri's tweet (Source: Twitter.com/asaadalnaseri, March 9, 2020)
Writers in Syrian Establishment Dailies: The Coronavirus Was Created In The West To Wage Medical Terrorism Against China And Other Countries
In Syrian establishment dailies, conspiratorial articles were prominent, alleging that the coronavirus is part of a biological war being waged by the government of U.S. President Trump against China, which is competing with the U.S. for the position of the world's strongest economy. For example, Sha’ban Ahmad, a columnist for the government daily Al-Thawra, wrote: "…Whoever follows the coronavirus understands that Trump has adopted a policy of biological warfare against China and against the world, [a policy of] trading in people’s lives by creating a disease that will benefit the pharmaceutical companies and vaccine [manufacturers]. This is the next war, and the world must be more aware of the danger posed by this American administration, which strives to destroy the world and leave [only] its false empire [after] destroying all of mankind, and which is now ready to destroy the world in the service of its own interests.”
Muhyi Al-Din Al-Muhammad, a columnist for the Syrian establishment daily Teshreen, wrote: "The coronavirus is most likely not a natural phenomenon but a product of a Western lab, manufactured in order to wage medical terror against China and many other world countries, and restrain the Chinese economy which is racing to take the lead in the global [economy]. The coronavirus appeared after President Trump’s [other] defense measures, [such as] the raising of tariffs on Chinese products, failed. This deadly virus stopped travel to China to a large extent, by air, land, or sea, and many countries began to close their borders and place themselves under lockdown, which is [something that] the forces of global arrogance [i.e., the U.S.] cannot impose using weapons. Although the coronavirus does not threaten only China, and its spread across the world is now only a matter of time, the media attention is focused on China alone. This means that this virus is being exploited in a criminal manner in order to wage a new kind of Western war against China…”
Ziad Ghassan, another columnist for the Teshreen daily, wrote: "What has been written by dozens of spies and collaborators with the West in their memoirs about the despicable operations they carried out around the world proves that it cannot be ruled out that the coronavirus is the product of a biological warfare lab. In my opinion, what John Perkins disclosed in his best-selling book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, from 2004, strengthens the claim that the West is responsible for most of the deadly diseases that appeared suddenly in our modern world and some of which disappeared [just] as suddenly.”
Editor Of Arab Daily: The U.S. Created The Coronavirus To Damage The Economies Of China And Iran; An International Investigation Is Called For
'Abd Al-Bari 'Atwan, a Palestinian journalist who lives in Britain and edits the London-based online Arabic daily Rai Al-Yawm, wrote: "The spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry wrote on his English Twitter account that the U.S. military may have been responsible for introducing the coronavirus to the city of Huwan, which was hardest hit by the disease. This is a very serious claim that implicitly accuses the U.S., and President Trump personally, of perpetrating crimes against humanity – for this disaster has affected most of the world's peoples, as well as their stock markets and financial systems, and the number of victims has so far reached 3,000, and this is only the beginning.
"The Chinese economy is poised to become the number one economy in the world, toppling the U.S. from the [global] throne it has occupied since World War II. The Chinese leadership is planning to softly throttle the U.S. by means of a new Silk Road and establish an alternative financial system that will end the hegemony of the dollar within five years. All these are facts that may have motivated a hasty president like Trump to perpetrate this war crime, if the Chinese accusations are indeed true.
"There is need to perform a quick international investigation and establish a committee to examine the facts in depth, to check these Chinese accusations and publish the findings for the entire world, with maximum transparency. Europe and Russia should support this and assist in any way they can.
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"The U.S. is the only [country] in the history of mankind that ever used atomic bombs, in Japan. Since it is the one responsible for all the wars, we cannot rule out that it is also the first [country] to ever use biological weapons, [in the form of] the coronavirus.
"Yes, I believe the conspiracy theory, because, as Arabs and Muslims, we have been and still are the greatest victims. Our best proof [of this] is the lie about [Saddam Hussein’s] weapons of mass destruction in Iraq [during the 1990-91 war].
"Our renowned poet, the late Mahmoud Darwish, did not lie and did not disregard reality when he said that the U.S. is a plague and that the plague is the U.S. We will not be surprised if the day comes when the facts are exposed and [it transpires] that the U.S. [indeed] created the coronavirus and spread it in China and Iran in order to destroy these two countries and their economies."
Lebanese Journalist: Coronavirus: An American Plan To Weaken China Economically
'Ali 'Abadi, who writes on the website of Hizbullah’s Lebanese Al-Manar channel, wrote: "…The spread of the coronavirus is the result of an American plan intended to weaken China, now that the latter has become a global player that competes with the U.S. in nearly every domain. If it continues developing at the [current] rate, China could be on the verge of becoming the world's foremost economy… There are reports, still unconfirmed, about the presence of a bacterial agent in the inner courtyard of the U.S. consulate in Wuhan, China. This is reminiscent of the plot of the 2011 movie Contagion, in which a deadly virus originating in bats spreads rapidly and is carried by a woman from China's Hong Kong to the rest of the world. This story is similar in some of its details to the circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak, and it is said that bats, which are eaten by the Chinese and other Asians, are the possible source of the [corona] virus… Some science fiction stories and conspiratorial stories in cinema are not far removed from reality, and some of them mysteriously come true. There have been reports that the U.S. was experimenting on germs that target certain ethnicities. Such reports were published last year by the Russian [news agency] Sputnik… "What is certain is that the coronavirus is an epidemic whose epicenter was China and which affected many aspects of China’s economy. This leads us to ask: Who benefits from this? We know, at the very least, that the U.S. is very concerned about China’s steady economic growth and has tried for years to restrain this growth by means of political pressures. [It tried] to force China to devalue its currency, the yuan, since the persistent drop in its value boosted Chinese export, [making Chinese products cheaper] in comparison to American and other goods. The Trump administration took some blunt and direct measures, such as imposing tariffs on Chinese products in order to offset their advantage] over American ones. [The U.S.] also imposed security restrictions on the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, which is developing G5 cellular phones.
"The American elites are worried that the U.S. will lose its status as world leader due to China's rapid growth, which extends to Asia, Africa and Europe thanks to its Belt and Road Initiative, the largest infrastructure project in the history of mankind, while the U.S. is shackling itself with its obsessive policy of opposing many countries. This gives China constructive soft power, as opposed to the coarse and destructive image of the U.S.” 
Jordanian Columnist: The U.S., Which Used Nuclear Weapons Against Japan, Is Now Destroying China With The Coronavirus
Rashid Hassan, a columnist for the Jordanian Al-Dustour daily, mentioned the coronavirus in a February 23, 2020 column about the Deal of the Century. He wrote: "The one who attacked Japan with nuclear weapons, occupied Iraq and Afghanistan on the pretext of [waging war on] terror, established military bases in 88 countries, invented ISIS and the organizations of takfir [accusing other Muslims of heresy] in order to spread destructive chaos, and spread AIDS in Africa is now destroying its number one enemy, China, by disseminating the coronavirus. The one who was capable of doing all these things and more is prepared to do anything to remain the pirate of the world and steal its resources…"
Coronavirus threatens the entire world (Source: Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, March 13, 2020)
Palestinian Journalist: The American Elite Is Exploiting Corona To Reprogram The Global Economy For The Benefit Of The U.S.
‘Abd Al-Muwati Al-Sadeq, who writes on the Palestinian Amad website, affiliated with the camp of Muhammad Dahlan, wrote: "First, let me say that I am convinced that the coronavirus is a dangerous epidemic that may endanger humanity if it spreads and cannot be controlled. [Furthermore], I am one of the people who believe in the conspiracy theory and are convinced that there is a Deep State controlling most of the events in the world. Even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that this cursed virus was not manufactured in American labs, I am sure that the Deep State that controls the U.S. made the most of its appearance, in order to wage a vicious war against the economies of the world, especially those of China, Iran, Russia and Europe, so as to reprogram the world economy, remove the Chinese Dragon from the arena of economic competition, and destroy the economies of the rest of the countries…
"The best proof of this is the media’s inflation [of the epidemic], which is meant to sow fear by reporting on the spread of the virus and to cause most countries to take measures that increase the panic, [all] in compliance with the instructions of the World Health Organization, which is itself part of the Deep State. These measures have caused the states that were targeted [by this plot] to lose billions of dollars. It is a known fact that the medical reports and statistics show that the death rate from this virus is much lower than that of other epidemics, both viral and non-viral. For example, according to international reports, the number of people who die of hunger [in the world] is 28,000 a day
"The Coronavirus Epidemic" (Source: Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, March 15, 2020)
Lebanese Journalist: The Coronavirus Is Intended To Realize America's Goal Of Wiping Out The Chinese Giant
Writing in the Al-Binaa daily, Lebanese columnist Samaher Al-Khatib also wrote that the coronavirus is part of a biological war being waged by the U.S. against China. She wrote: "It wasn't by chance that this fatal virus appeared just as a trade war is raging between the U.S. and vast, industrious China that threatens to compete with [America's] companies, technology and cyberspace [capabilities] on a global scale… The coronavirus is part of the unfolding American-Chinese confrontation…
"As the world advanced and science and technology developed, wars also developed. Military experts discern six generations of wars… A sixth-generation war, according to the military strategy experts, is a 'remotely conducted war,' waged by means of smart weapons, with the internet networks at its center… The means [employed in these wars] are varied and include new spying techniques utilizing birds, animals, and fish…
"The most important weapon invented in this generation [of wars] is the 'stealth satellite system,' as it was called a few years ago by a Washington Post reporter because it is based on highly-developed technologies that sound like pure [science] fiction, while others refer to it as 'biological hacking.' This system comprises about a half a million tiny satellites which revolve around the Earth, far from the paths of the regular satellites. They have many objectives, such as helping to scan the magnetic activity of the human brain and body, examining the possibility of controlling people by so-called chips for the control of humans, and also cooperating with HAARP weapons to increase control of the artificial natural phenomena and disasters. [The system] also helps to attack people by means of magnetic waves and to conduct espionage around the world. There are more and more projects of modern hacking of various kinds…
"The coronavirus is not far removed from this generation of biological wars. It appears as Patent No. 10130701 in the American list of patents for 2018, and there is no need to mention the involvement of big pharma, whose goal is to earn billions of dollars annually by inventing viruses like cancer and AIDS and using additional forms of biological warfare which stop at nothing, however loathsome, to achieve their aim. And this applies even more when the American goal is to unhesitatingly wipe out the Chinese giant, regardless of the consequences, even if the number of victims reaches millions. After all, it was [the U.S.] that fired two nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki…"
 See MEMRI Report: Arab Writers: The Coronavirus Is Part Of Biological Warfare Waged By The U.S. Against China, February 6, 2020.
 Facebook.com/salihMAliraqii, March 5, 2020.
 Twitter.com/asaadalnaseri, March 9, 2020.
 Al-Thawra (Syria), February 2, 2020.
 Tishreen (Syria), February 23, 2020.
 Tishreen (Syria), February 3, 2020.
 The "New Silk Road" initiative, also known as the "Belt and Road" initiative, is a new strategic plan announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, whose objective is to create a geographic connection, by land and by sea, between China and the other countries, in order to streamline the transfer of merchandise from China to the rest of the world. As part of this initiative, China invests large sums of money in projects outside of the country, which boosts its influence in various countries and on the global economy.
 This appears in Darwish’s 1983 poem “In Praise of the Lofty Shadow.”
 Almanar.com.lb, Feb 9, 2020.
 Ad-Dustour (Jordan), February 23, 2020.
 Amad.ps, March 10, 2020.
 HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is an American research program whose aim is to study the ionosphere to develop new technologies which will employ this layer for the benefit of radio and espionage communications. The program is fodder for numerous conspiracy theories, especially those concerned with the manipulation of global weather.
 Al-Binaa (Lebanon), February 3, 2020.