Usually, it is Israel that stars in the grandiose conspiracy theories spun by the Middle East’s hateful – but highly imaginative – media outlets and the regimes that fund them. Besides being held responsible for the 9/11 attacks (a claim still widely believed by significant minorities in numerous Muslim countries) the “Zionist entity” has been blamed for a long list of acts of espionage, clandestine military operations, and intrigues directed against Muslims.

Most recently, an Israeli backed by 100 Jews was singled out as responsible for producing the short incendiary film called Innocence of Islam.

Subsequent verified reports – circulated as early as September 13 – that “Sam Bacile” was the pseudonym of Nakoula Basseley Nakoulanot, a Coptic Egyptian behind the making of the movie, failed to convince the Muslim world.

Terrorists belonging to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes, a Salafi jihadi group, declared that their September 21 killing of twenty-year-old Netanel Yahalomi of the IDF Artillery Corps – while he was giving water to African migrants on the Egyptian border – was carried out in response to the anti-Islam film.

And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated the libelous claim that the “Zionists” made the film on September 25, the night before he addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Earlier this year, Ankara claimed Israel was using a type of bird known as the European Bee-Eater to spy on Turkey. The bird’s “unusually large nostrils” were said to be the damning bit of information that aroused Turkish suspicions that the bird was “implanted with a surveillance device.”

Two years ago, when a shark attacked several tourists and killed one while she was swimming off the Egyptian shore of the Red Sea, high-ranking Egyptian officials did not rule out the possibility that the Mossad had thrown the shark in their waters.

They were being quite serious.

These conspiracy theories – and myriad others – follow in a long ignoble tradition of blaming Jews for anything from plagues and communism, to fascism and world domination.

But now a Middle East media outlet is disseminating a new conspiracy theory or perhaps a confirmed news report – and it has nothing to do with Israel. This time Syria, together with Iran, Hezbollah and Russia are the targets. According to Syrian intelligence documents purportedly leaked to and published by Al-Arabiya on Saturday, the two pilots of a Turkish F-4 Phantom which was shot down by Syria in June were not killed in the crash.

They were captured, tortured and them murdered on Russian orders. A file sent from President Bashar Assad’s palace allegedly approved the Russian order to “eliminate” the pilots in a “natural way.”

Syria had claimed that the plane was downed by accident, and at one point asserted that it believed the plane was Israeli – hence the need to down it.

According to the Al-Arabiya report, the plane was in international, not Syrian, air space, and a Grad missile, not artillery fire, was used to bring the plane down, which seems to point to a high-echelon decision – perhaps even by Assad himself with close Russian coordination.

At one point, a plan to transfer the two pilots to Lebanon, where they would be placed in the custody of Iran-backed Hezbollah, was reportedly also considered.

Al-Arabiya is funded by the Saudis who are staunch enemies of the Assad regime and of Iran and have a clear interest in undermining the axis that has been formed by Russia, the Assad regime and Iran with its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Whether this story is true or not it is refreshing to see bitter enemies of the State of Israel (Iran, the Assad regime and Hezbollah) pitted against a Sunni coalition made up of Turkey, the Saudis and perhaps Egypt (President Mohamed Morsi has recently backtracked from a call made at the end of August to intervene against Syria’s “oppressive regime”).

Ideally, the Jewish people – and the vast majority of humanity – hope and pray for a time when wars and bellicose coalitions will become a thing of the past.

However, in the meantime, as the Jewish people celebrate Succot, it is perhaps a small bit of consolation to know that the most recent conspiracy theory (or unverified news report) does not focus on Israel.

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