Saturday, January 07, 2012

Conspiracy theories a currency of daily life in Iraq

'Even some supporters of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki criticized the decision to play the videotaped confessions of Mr. Hashimi’s bodyguards.

Iraqi judicial officials pulled out of a news conference the security forces called to announce the arrest warrant because the officials wanted to keep the confessions off the air. Ibrahim al-Sumaidaie, a political analyst close to Mr. Maliki, said broadcasting the confessions shredded due-process rules in Iraq’s Constitution and was reminiscent of how Saddam Hussein manipulated the news media to cow his enemies and expose endless plots against his government.

“It is a crime to put this on television,” Mr. Sumaidaie said. “It is a shame, and it is a legacy of the former dictator. The one who plays these confessions succeeds to divide the people between Shia and Sunni again. What is the benefit?”

But Iraqi officials have largely brushed off the criticism. In a country where conspiracy theories are the currency of daily life, the confessions and images of shackled prisoners offer convincing evidence that Iraqi officials are hunting down criminals.

“If we say we caught the leader of Al Qaeda, who will believe it?” said Maj. Gen. Adel Daham, an Interior Ministry official. “This is to show credibility. We are sure we are doing the right thing.” '

Conspiracy theories are popular among all Arabs, it seems.

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