April 9, 2008 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 422

Darfur and the Middle East Media: The Anatomy of Another Conspiracy

April 9, 2008 | By Steven Stalinsky*
Sudan | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 422


The Darfur region of Sudan first made headlines in February 2003 with news of massacres, rapes, mutilations, and other atrocities perpetrated by the Sudanese government and its allied armed Arab militia, the Janjaweed, against civilians in the black Arab and non-Arab south. Shortly thereafter, the Arab and Iranian media came out with reports explaining these events as the result of a conspiracy. The campaign was led by the most influential Arab and Iranian newspapers and TV channels, and was enhanced by leading Middle East religious figures, heads of state, members of academia, and other notable individuals.

According to these media reports, what was really happening in Darfur involved secret plans to create a Christian state in Sudan; a Jewish attempt to annex the African country to become part of Israel; a U.S. government effort to control Sudanese oil, uranium and other natural resources; plots by U.S. presidential candidates; and a U.S. government attempt to deflect attention from its actions in Iraq, as well as schemes by Jews, Freemasons, the United Nations, and the African Union. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion have also been cited as evidence to prove the existence of a conspiracy in Darfur.

As the conspiracy theories expanded, a new phenomenon developed - namely, downplaying and even denying the atrocities taking place in Darfur. The deniers have included the Sudanese and Iranian leaderships and the Arab government-controlled media. It must be noted that this phenomenon is strikingly similar to Holocaust denial, and in fact many proponents of the Darfur denial have been known to question the Holocaust.

The Sudanese Leadership and the "Darfur Conspiracy"

The Sudanese government, military, and religious establishment who stand behind the Janjaweed militias have been extremely vocal in spreading conspiracy theories about Darfur. Within a month of the first Western media reports of killings in Darfur, in 2003, Sudan's representative to the U.N. in Geneva, Ibrahim Mirghani Ibrahim, described these reports as a "total denial of reality." [1]

According to the Sudanese paper Al-Sahafa, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir said, during the opening session of the international "Mercy for All Creatures" conference in Khartoum in November 2007, that Western plots against Sudan have been ongoing since the land was occupied by the British, and that lust for Darfur's treasures was feeding the current crisis. Al-Bashir was quoted by Al-Sahafa as stating that the West was shoving its nose into Islam's affairs and punishing those who doubted the Nazi Holocaust, while giving legitimacy to insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad at the same time calling it freedom of expression. He added that the unholy alliance between the extreme Christian right and global Judaism was setting the Darfur conflict on fire. [2]

Sudanese presidential aide Majdhob Al-Khalifa was quoted by the Sudanese Media Center on August 23, 2007 alleging a conspiracy in Darfur. Al-Khalifa's statement focused on "U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the U.N., involved in what Al-Khalifa termed 'sabotage' and 'indiscriminately killing civilians and usurping the oil wealth of the region [of Darfur].' He cited as his evidence 'the Bush administration['s]... plan to create [the] Greater Middle East by dividing large Muslim states into tiny entities, according to a map released by an official U.S. army magazine." [3]

In a July 25, 2007 interview with the Saudi daily 'Okaz, Sudan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Muhammad Hussein Al-Naqb replied, when asked about "the infiltration of Jewish organizations in Darfur," that "over 24 Jewish organizations" were behind the international outrage about Darfur "through their control of the media and their influence over American and British circles..." [4]

The secretary-general of Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Ibrahim Ahmad Omar, told the Egyptian Al-AhramWeekly in an interview published in the February 22-28, 2007 edition that "the West wants to see Darfur divided. This is the scheme adopted by Western foreign policy." He added, "The Americans cannot accept the fact that Sudan has large and very much unexploited oil reserves while it is not bowing to the will of Washington. They know that they cannot get this government to succumb to their wishes."

On the Zionists' "schemes" in Darfur, Omar commented: "Once Sudan is divided, Israel would get rid of this big Arab/Muslim country that is still calling it an enemy, and would have instead smaller entities [to contend with]," adding that Israel would be able to conduct relations with most of them. He continued: "The fact of the matter is that Sudanese public radio is still calling Israel the enemy." According to Omar, "this is a good reason why the Israelis and Zionist groups all over the world, especially in the U.S., are dedicating much attention to the issue of Darfur when it is not the only humanitarian crisis in the world..." [5]

Al-Jazeera TV: America is Behind Darfur Atrocities

Since its inception, Al-Jazeera TV has been influential in shaping the Arab world's opinion about current events such as Darfur. Dr. Mamoun Fandy, one of the world's leading scholars on Arab media, was highly critical of Al-Jazeera's reporting on Darfur in his authoritative new book (Un)Civil War of Words. [6]

Dr. Fandy quoted one observer of the Arab media as stating: "Al-Jazeera, notwithstanding the courage shown by its employees on battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, did not send any of its correspondents to Darfur." Fandy elaborated on this by asking: "...Al-Jazeera aired the reports of Egyptian doctors returning from Darfur asserting there was no famine, rapes or murders. Why did the benevolent Al-Jazeera fail to send any of its correspondents there, especially when its correspondents have gone into the heart of the battles of the murderers and transmitted their pictures as they hailed the Iraqi leader Saddam?" [7]

Al-Jazeera's role in spreading a distorted picture of Darfur was also evidenced by a program aired by the channel on October 23, 2007. The program's guests included Egyptian-American writer Magdi Khalil, who debated an Islamist sheikh on the situation in the Middle East. Khalil was highly critical of the program itself and of how the Arab media has reported on Darfur. The debate captured the essence of the overall issue of the "Darfur conspiracy" in the Arab media, with Khalil arguing that "the discourse coming out of the Arab and Islamic region is a disgrace. In Darfur and south Sudan, severe [human rights] violations occur - ethnic cleansing, the murder of millions, and rape - yet no one but the West exposes what is happening in south Sudan and Darfur. The New York Times was the first to raise this issue, and it is the West that is now defending the rights of the Muslims in Darfur... There is no justice at all in the Arab region. There is only criticism of any spark of hope for international justice... They are used to condemning everything, and doing nothing but supporting terrorism and extremism."

The Al-Jazeera interviewer responded to Khalil by asking: "With regard to Darfur, are you trying to convince the Arab world that the 'American wolf,' as Dr. Al-Mubarak [the other guest] called him, is shedding a tear over what is happening in Darfur? It is the fragmentation of Sudan, the partitioning of Sudan - the partitioning of something that is already partitioned. There is oil in Darfur, and they don't care about all the Arabs and Muslims put together."

Khalil responded: "That's all nonsense. That deceiving propaganda is all around you - oil and all that... Do you know how much was spent on Iraq? Even if America were to take Iraq's oil for the next 200 years, it would not compensate for what it has spent on Iraq. You are used to spreading delusions, lies, and deceiving propaganda..." [8]

In another Al-Jazeera program, that aired on July 28, 2007, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan, Sheikh Sadeq Abadallah bin Al-Majed, was asked by the Al-Jazeera correspondent: "We are visiting you at a time when events in Darfur are casting a shadow on Sudan. I would like to ask you for your opinion about what is happening, and who is responsible for it..." Sheikh Al-Majed answered: "The West, and the Americans in particular, have been planning this for years... The reason is that they studied this region extensively - the Darfur region in particular - and realized that it is full of treasures, the likes of which have never been found elsewhere in Sudan." The Al-Jazeera correspondent then asked, "So in your opinion, the Americans are behind what is happening in Darfur?" The sheikh answered, "Yes. They are behind all the tragedies that are taking place in Darfur." [9]

A U.S. Government Conspiracy to Gain Control of Sudan’s Oil

In another Al-Jazeera TV report, one that covered a conference of Islamist leaders in Sudan and that aired July 3, 2007, Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood representative Dr. Hassan Al-'Audha told the audience, "America believes that it owns the oil discovered in Sudan. These are not my words. [Former U.S. president Jimmy] Carter declared some two years ago: 'We wanted the oil of Sudan to be used for the pleasure of the American people after 2005." [10]

Libyan leader Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi devoted much of his October 22, 2007 speech to Cambridge University students via video link to the issue of Darfur, saying: "The clash of interests between these powers has internationalized what was barely a tribal dispute." He added that what is really happening centers on "...superpowers who are interested in oil and other things." [11]

An editorial in the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly of July 29-August 4, 2004 stated: "The suspicion in the Arab world is that America's eagerness to intervene in Darfur is an American conspiracy to gain control of Sudanese oil." [12]

"Oiling the Wheels of Greed" was the title of another article on Darfur, in the Al-Ahram Weekly of May 31-June 6, 2007. Written by Gamal Nkrumah, the article discussed claims that what is really happening in Darfur is "part of America's strategy to lay its hands on Sudanese oil," and, furthermore, that "the imposition of American sanctions against Sudan should be viewed in the context of the increasingly fierce competition between the U.S. and China for control of Africa's oil wealth..." [13]

The leader of the Sudanese opposition Popular Congress Party, Sheikh Hassan Al-Turabi, who is Sudan's chief Islamist ideologue as well as an influential former parliamentary speaker, was quoted by the May 31-June 6, 2007 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly as stating that he was "convinced" that the "CIA" was involved in Darfur, and, more explicitly, that "the Americans are only interested in [Darfur’s] oil." [14]

A November 28, 2007 article titled "Israel in Darfur and National Arab Security," by Ahmad Hussein Al-Shimi, posted on the Sudanese Media Center website, enumerated Israel and U.S. conspiracies in Darfur, on issues ranging from supporting insurgents in Sudan to geography and oil. He depicted Darfur as "a great arena for settling conflicts and disputes between Arabs and Israel..."

He added: "Israeli/American interest and plans interlink in Darfur, to establish an independent state in western Sudan... besides establishing a technologically advanced military base under common American-British-Israeli observance, the purpose of which is to control security status and political interactions in Egypt, Sudan, Libya, African states, and the Red Sea. It also aims at protecting [the] oil pipeline that the U.S. is conducting negotiations to build, which shall be extending from Iraq, [via the] Gulf states, to the Red Sea, [and] then to Darfur province through Libya and Morocco, to the Atlantic Ocean... with coordination between U.S. intelligence and the Israeli Mossad. And Darfur insurgents aiming on destabilizing the province and creating chaos and terror within its ranks, also aims at obtaining international sympathy for deploying international forces in the province, to become a jumping point to get full control over the African Horn, which tallies with its strategy and control on the new oil basin there... [1]t is clear that what is taking place on the ground uncovers Israeli/American intentions to support, first, separating the province from Sudan, and, later, to fragment Sudan and other African states, to give an overall deadly blow to the Arab national security..." [15]

A U.S. Presidential Election Conspiracy - In 2004 and 2008

Shortly before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, reports appeared in the Arab media claiming that what was happening in Darfur was actually a conspiracy to help President Bush win reelection. The Egyptian daily Al-Ahram Al-Arabi published an extensive investigative report by Dr. Amani Al-Tawil, titled "The Key to the American Voting Booths Is in Darfur: The Plot Which Is Called Oil," on June 31, 2004. In an interview on Saudi Al-Majd TV, on August 11, 2004, Sudanese Ambassador to Cairo Dr. Ahmad Abd Al-Halim spoke at length on Darfur and other issues, including the U.S. presidential elections, and explained that "extremist" voters in America wanted to transform Sudan into a Christian state. [16] In another report, the editor of the Egyptian government evening daily Al-Ahram Al-Masai, Mursi 'Atallah, explained in Al-Ahram on July 24, 2007 that the U.S.'s interest in Darfur was a ploy connected to the U.S. presidential elections, as well as an attempt by the U.S. to get its hands on a large strategic reserve of uranium already found in Darfur. [17]

A U.S. Government/Zionist Conspiracy to Deflect Attention from Iraq

An April 20, 2007 editorial in the Egyptian government daily Al-Gomhouriya stated that the depiction of events in Darfur as a humanitarian tragedy was aimed at cloaking the West's campaign to redraw the map of the Arab world in accordance with its own interests as well as attempts to avert attention from Iraq and Palestine: "[A]t a time when, in Iraq, there are hundreds of Iraqis being killed every day under the nightmare of the American occupation, which has turned Baghdad into the capital of death... the issue of Darfur, which the West has described as a humanitarian tragedy, has become a cover for what is really being planned and carried out by the Western forces of hegemony and control in our Arab world. They aim to redraw the map [of the Arab world] in accordance with their interests and with the interests of Israel, without taking into account the true humanitarian crises that will be caused as a result." [18]

A Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, who also heads the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the International Council of Muslim Scholars, said in an interview published on September 10, 2004 in the Qatar daily Al-Sharq, "Look for the Zionists behind every disaster. We have found their fingers in Darfur." [19] In a September 1, 2007 interview with IslamOnline, Al-Qaradhawi said, in reference to Darfur, that the Western media "often make too much fuss about nothing," and added, "The Western media also wanted to drift attention away from the situations in Palestine [and] Iraq." [20]

The February 8-14, 2007 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly featured a cartoon of a blindfolded Sudanese man speaking into multiple microphones as behind him Uncle Sam carves up a bleeding map of Sudan, which hangs from a meat hook, as two dogs representing Israel and Britain lick their chops. Under the cartoon was an article titled "The Real Conspiracy," in which the author, Ayman Al-Amir, states that "it is safe to assume conspiracy is at work" in all conflicts in the Middle East that are perpetrated by Israel. He wrote: "Westerners have often scoffed at Arabs as conspiracy theory addicts. Throughout the 20th century, everything Arab nationalists suspected as a scheme by colonial powers against their interests and aspirations was dismissed as a figment of Arab imagination....Yet after decades of secrecy, declassified documents of confidential meetings, agreements, diplomatic correspondence, and reports, from the early years of the last century to the mid-1990s, reveal that the stretch of Arab imagination is much narrower than the scope of the conspiracy." [21]

Ahmad Hussein Al-Shimi explained in his November 28, 2007 article on the website of the Sudanese Media Center: "The strategic importance of Darfur is not only of great interest to the U.S., it is [of interest] to Israel too, [which] hides behind [its provision of] humanitarian help to execute its secret plans... Israel aims on achieving two goals: [to draw attention to the fact] that it is giving humanitarian help for peoples suffering from tragedies... [and to create a] distraction... from the drastic human conditions Palestinians are living in [in the] occupied territories, and to guide the attention of the human society to Darfur..."

The influential former editor of the London Arabic daily Al-Hayat, Jihad Al-Khazen, wrote on April 13, 2007 that while killing in the Darfur region was indeed taking place, "the Israel lobby" was to blame for making the situation out to be worse than it actually is. In a piece headlined "Since the Victims Are Arabs and Muslims," Al-Khazen wrote: "In New York, Darfur is the most important issue in the world, or at least this is what the resident or visitor sees and hears. From subway tunnels to the streets, there are thousands of posters talking about 'genocide' and 400,000 people killed." However, he argued, "the lobby to save Darfur" is inflating the casualty count. "Darfur is a terrible humanitarian disaster that should not be played down. I am not doing that myself. However, the United Nations itself said that 200,000 were killed and that what had been committed there were war crimes, not genocide." According to Al-Khazen, "the lobby to save Darfur is just the Israel lobby renamed. The goal is to divert attention from Israel's crimes, or [from] the catastrophe of the war in Iraq." [22]

In a September 27, 2007 article in Al-Hayat, Al-Khazen wrote a nearly identical article on "the Israel lobby" and Darfur - but with a new ending: "...In Darfur, the victims are Muslims. There are 200,000 Muslims killed by Muslims. This lobby, whether of Israel or Darfur, does not defend them. It just makes use of them as a smokescreen to obscure the other crimes stretching from Palestine to Iraq. The Israeli lobby, after all, has been very active in the pursuit of war, and still defends it; i.e. still supports killing youth of the U.S. in an unjustified war to protect Israel's security..." [23]

The Iranian press has also spread conspiracy theories about Darfur. An Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) article titled "Zionist Regime Uses 'Darfur Crisis' as Distraction" focused on how the Zionists are using the events in Darfur to deflect attention away from their own activities against the Palestinians. It reported that "the powerful American Jewish lobby which tightly controls the American Congress" was behind "a high-profile propaganda campaign" about Darfur, while at the same time targeting Muslims. [24]

A Christian-Zionist Conspiracy

In a February 3, 2005 interview on Saudi government Channel 1 TV, Saudi journalist Suheila Hammad discussed how Darfur is a Christian conspiracy: "By Allah, this is a conspiracy... There is a conspiracy in Sudan - Sudan is being divided so that Darfur will become a secular state, independent from Sudan, [and] the south will become a Christian state..." [25]

In the Tehran Times of July 13, 2005, Hassan Hanzadeh wrote: "The war in southern Sudan and the Darfur crisis have caused serious economic and political problems... In the region, neighboring countries [have], with the help of the Zionist regime which is trying to weaken African Muslim countries by triggering civil wars, tried to dismember the great African Islamic country of Sudan by arming the Sudanese rebels. Their main objective is to create a Christian country on the banks of the Nile in order to end the domination of Egypt and Sudan over the world's longest river." [26]

Darfur Denial

As conspiracy theories about Darfur within the Arab and Iranian media have expanded, a new phenomenon has developed - downplaying and even denying the killings, rapes, and displacements taking place. The deniers range from the Sudanese and Iranian leadership to the Arab government-owned and controlled media.

Reports from the Iranian press on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's March 2007 meeting in Sudan with the Sudanese leadership quoted him as expressing pleasure at the country's "tranquility." Referring to Darfur, he said: "There is no place in the world that suffers from divisions and wars unless America or the Zionists' fingerprints are seen there." [27] According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting news network, Ahmadinejad urged Islamic states to thwart such "conspiracies." [28]

In an earlier meeting between top Iranian and Sudanese officials, on January 15, 2007, Sudanese Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Muhammed Hussein claimed during a visit to Tehran that what was happening in Darfur was really a "satanic plot" by "the U.S. and Israeli regimes, [which] are working hard to incite the conflict." [29]

In a September 20, 2007 IRNA story headlined "Bashir Reveals Zionist Plot in Darfur," Sudanese President Al-Bashir lambasted "a Zionist plot to dismember his country and plunder its resources... particularly its oil reserves, and then place it under a de facto U.N. trusteeship..." He said: "Humanitarian agencies are exaggerating the extent of the suffering of Darfur civilians to secure increased funding."

On February 24, 2007, President Al-Bashir told conferees at the Nation of Islam conference in Detroit, via satellite link, that America is "exaggerating troubles in Darfur" so that it can control the country as it has Iraq. His comments were broadcast live on Sudanese state television. [30]

When International Criminal Court prosecutors first filed warrants against Sudanese Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ahmad Haroun and a Janjaweed leader, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd Al-Rahman (also known as Ali Kushayb), Sudanese President Al-Bashir called the allegations of crimes against humanity in Darfur a "fabrication" in a March 19, 2007 interview on NBC TV.

Sudanese Media Center deputy editor Dr. Jassim Taqui stated on August 23, 2007: "There is absolutely no truth in the Western propaganda that Sudan violates human rights in Darfur..." In an interview with the Pakistan Observer, Dr. Ismail Al-Haj Musa said, "[O]ne should not be misled by the Western false propaganda against Sudan and Islam..." Musa maintained that Darfur problem had found broad publicity in the Western media - "which complicated the problem and finding a solution for it..." [31]

An editorial in the July 29-August 4 2004 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly criticized those who claimed that "the Sudanese government is undertaking operations of ethnic cleansing against the inhabitants of Darfur, and especially against non-Arab tribes."

Arab Intellectuals Criticize Darfur Conspiracies, Denounce Denial

While the conspiracies surrounding Darfur within the Arab and Iranian media continue unabated, many leading Arab intellectuals have strongly denounced those who spread them, as well as those who are denying the atrocities taking place.

On June 24, 2004, the former editor of the London Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, and presently Al-Arabiya TV director Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, published an op-ed about the Arab press's indifference to Darfur: "They are not the victims of Israeli or American aggression; therefore, they are not an issue for concern. This is how an approach of indifference toward others outside the circle of conflict with foreigners, and of permitting their murder, is spread as you read and write about the Darfur crisis... Is the life of 1,000 people in western Sudan less valuable, or is a single killed Palestinian or Iraqi of greater importance, merely because the enemy is Israeli or American?...As for Arab intellectuals... who consider any blood not spilled in conflicts with foreigners to be cheap and its spilling to be justifiable - they are intellectual accomplices in the crime..." [32]

An article titled "The Arab Silence on Darfur Revisited," by Abu Khawla, former chair of the Tunisian section of Amnesty International, captured the position of many Arab reformists critical of the Arab media's coverage of Darfur. The article, which appeared on the liberal Arabic website Middle East Transparent on December 22, 2004, stated: "The catastrophe unfolding these days in Darfur... is considered to be the worst humanitarian crisis in the world... [Former U.N. secretary-]general Kofi Anan described the matter as a collective massacre of civilians... In contrast, a deafening silence was observed throughout the Arab world on the horrendous crime being committed by their fellow Arabs in Sudan..." [33]

As columnist Diana Mukkaled eloquently wrote in a July 5, 2007 article titled "The Devil on Horseback," in the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "The Arabs and their media are split over Darfur. There are people who see the issue as 'a grand conspiracy.' Others tend to hold the view that it contains clear bias against non-Arabs, considering that the Darfur issue involves African tribes. This view holds that the accusations are made against some Arab tribes in Darfur, so the Arab media have not been concerned with the issue of human rights of the Africans there... It is sad to see the frightening extent which our lack of humanity has reached."

In his book (Un)Civil War of Words, [34] Dr. Mamoun Fandy wrote: "In the case of the Darfur atrocities, we find that Arab media have demonstrated little interest in moving the issue to the forefront of political debates in the Arab street as Iraq and Palestine have been... Many media outlets, instead of presenting the Darfur issue as a crisis characterized by genocide and human suffering, transformed the issue into a question of imperialism. The Darfur story, as told by the Arab media, was a problem of Western intervention, of which the government of Sudan was a victim. For example, a commentator wrote in Egypt's Akhbar Al-Youm: 'George Bush and Tony Blair... are now both planning another adventure in Africa, this time in Sudan's Darfur, with different pretexts from those they used in the invasion of Iraq.'" [35]

Fandy also wrote, "In a late response to the atrocities of Darfur, the Union of Arab Journalists pledged to produce a report on the truth behind the crisis in Sudan - an implicit recognition that little has been done by the Arab media to investigate the story. The head of the delegation dispatched to compile the report expressed in a statement his support for the 'unity' of Sudan, and condemned 'visible and covert foreign interventions in Darfur.'" [36]

In a May 2006 article that appeared on multiple websites titled "Why Are We Muslims So Silent on Darfur?" Muslim Canadian Congress Communications director Tarek Fatah wrote: "This line of thinking - that Jews have somehow stolen the issue of Darfur's genocide by actively campaigning against it - has been making the rounds in cyberspace and needs a rebuttal. The fact that more than 200,000 Darfurians, almost all of them Muslim, have been killed in an ongoing genocide [and] the fact that more than a million Muslim Darfurians are displaced refugees living in squalor and fear appears not to have registered with the leadership of traditional Muslim organizations and mosques..."

Fatah quoted El-Fadl El-Sharif, a Muslim Sudanese Canadian who organized a massive rally in Canada on Darfur, as saying, "It is nonsense to suggest that the death, destruction and suffering of the Darfurian people is imaginary, or that Zionists are using us as propaganda... [T]he Sudanese government-backed militias are the people who are killing their fellow Sudanese. The tragedy is that it is Muslims who are killing other Muslims..." [37]

An October 5, 2006 article in the Sudan Tribune on Darfur, titled "Pathological Delusions," by Sudanese human rights activist and writer Ahmad Elzobeir, criticized the political culture in the Middle East that, he said, has "created an atmosphere that encourages conspiracy theories to thrive." In the Middle East, Elzobeir stated, "fiction [is] transformed into a reality; illusions become facts, lies become truth, people, elites and media [have] accepted the endless set of conspirac[y] theories that explain miraculously everything. In such [a] political climate, where Islamic fundamentalist[s] dominate the political and theological agenda of the whole region, political dogma and terror [have] replaced any meaningful dialogue between competing ideas. Free, moderate-thinking Muslims and progressive secular liberal views [are] rejected and terrorized into hiding. Conspiracy theory has been adopted to fill the gap as the theory of every 'thing.'"

Elzobier was particularly critical of the accusation that the "Jews are behind everything," including "the case of Darfur": "To consolidate the Jewish conspiracy theory claims, the infamous document of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion [has been] adopted as a gospel truth, although after World War II and the Holocaust most of the world has generally rejected claims that these protocols could represent factual evidence of a real Jewish conspiracy. The exception to this is the Middle East, where large numbers of Arabs and Muslims regimes and leaders have endorsed them as authentic."

Elzobeir's conclusion put the entire issue of the Darfur conspiracy in context: "The reality remains that [those who are] suffering in Darfur [have] moved the conscience of the world and troubled their humanity; [people] are protesting simply because they care. The government of Sudan has consistently failed to resolve peacefully its own problem, [so] the international community has [been] left with no option other than to act to protect civilians in Darfur. If there is a conspiracy [that] needs to be figured out, I guess the nasty mindset that compels this government to commit such horrible crimes [against] its own people will be an obvious candidate."

*Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of MEMRI


[1] United Nations Press Release (U.S.) March 28, 2003,

[2] Al-Sahafa (Sudan), November 14, 2007. MEMRI Blog, "Sudan President: Alliance Between Christian Right, Global Judaism Is Setting Darfur On Fire,"

[3] Sudanese Media Center (Sudan), August 23, 2007.

[4] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), July 25, 2007.

[5] Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), February 22-28, 2007.


[7] (Un)Civil War of Words: Media and Politics in the Arab World, Mamoun Fandy; (Al-Jazeera Channel: Why in Baghdad and Not in Darfur?), Middle East Transparent, August 8, 2004,, visited October 20, 2005).

[8] MEMRI TV Clip No. 1609, "Egyptian-American Writer Magdi Khalil Clashes with Saudi Expert on International Law Mahmoud Mubarak over the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide,"

[9] MEMRI TV Clip No. 1522, "Life in Darfur Revealed in a Series of Al-Jazeera TV Reports,"

[10] MEMRI TV Clip No. 1549, "Sudanese Islamic Leaders Threaten the U.S. Not to Send Forces to Darfur,"

[11], October 25, 2007. Also see BBC News Online, October 25, 2007.

[12] Al-AhramWeekly (Egypt) July 29-August 4, 2004.

[13] Al-AhramWeekly (Egypt) May 31-June 6, 2007.

[14] Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt) May 31-June 6, 2007.

[15] Sudanese Media Center (Sudan), November 28, 2007.

[16] MEMRI TV Clip No. 197, "Sudanese Ambassador to Cairo: The Darfur Issue is an Attempt to Win Zionist and African-American Votes in the Elections,"

[17] Al-AhramWeekly (Egypt) July 24, 2007;, July 24, 2007.

[18] Al-Gomhouriya, (Egypt), April 20, 2007. MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 351, "Darfur in the Arab Press," Egyptian Columnist: Guantanamo is the Real Auschwitz.

[19] Al-Sharq (Qatar), September 10, 2004.

[20] Islam, September 1, 2004

[21] Al-AhramWeekly (Egypt), February 8-14, 2007.

[22] Al-Hayat (London), April 13, 2007. MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 351, "Darfur in the Arab Press," Egyptian Columnist: Guantanamo is the Real Auschwitz.

[23] Al-Hayat (London), September 27, 2007.

[24] IRNA (Iran) May 24, 2006.

[25] MEMRI TV Clip No. 522, "Special Coverage of the Saudi Counter-Terrorism Conference and Jihad: Saudi Researcher Suheila Hammad: Jews and Neo-cons Responsible for Terror in Saudi Arabia,"

[26] Tehran Times (Iran), July 13, 2005.

[27] IRNA (Iran), March 7, 2007.

[28] IRNA (Iran), March 7, 2007.

[29] Sudan Tribune (Sudan), January 15, 2007.

[30] Sudanese State TV (Sudan), February 24, 2007;, "Sudan Defends Record in Darfur," February 24, 2007.

[31] Sudanese Media Center August 23, 2007.

[32] MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 736, "Former Editor of Major Arab Daily on Arab Indifference to the Violence in Sudan," June 30, 2004, Former Editor of Major Arab Daily on Arab Indifference to the Violence in Sudan.

[33] MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 835, "The Arab Silence on Darfur," December 28, 2004, The Arab Silence on Darfur.


[35] (Un)Civil War of Words, pg. 95-96, Mamoun Fandy.

[36] (Un)Civil War of Words, pg. 95-96, Mamoun Fandy (Arab Union of Journalists condemns the killing of journalists in Iraq and prepares a report on Darfur), January 1, 2005, , visited October 20, 2005.

[37] Globe and Mail (Canada), May 3, 2006.

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