TEL AVIV – Egypt is awash in conspiracy theories surrounding the downing of EgyptAir Flight 804 last month, with numerous politicians and prominent media figures blaming the U.S. and Israel for the crash as part of the West’s supposed “Satanic plot” against the country.
Former Egyptian justice minister Ahmed Suleiman published a post on Facebook claiming that Israel downed the jet during aerial maneuvers that its airforce conducted in Greek airspace. His claims were supported by journalists Sameh Al-Laboudi and Muhammad Al-Muslimani, with the latter further arguing that the crash led defense minister Moshe Ya’alon to resign the following day.
“The maneuver was supposed to start just as the Egyptian plane entered Greek airspace, and [the plane] vanished 27 minutes after the Israeli combat planes began [their] aerial maneuver,” Laboudi wrote in Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm.
In comments translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Muslimani said: “Some analysts claimed that Ya’alon resigned because he opposed Israel’s involvement in the downing of the Egyptian airliner and did not desire it. Others believe he was fired for failing to manage the military maneuvers in the Mediterranean that caused the crash of the airliner.”
Political commentator and lawyer Nabih Al-Wahsh argued on national television that the “filthy Zionist entity” launched a missile to down the plane and that Ya’alon resigned over his opposition to the plan. He also called on Egyptians to form “death squads” to kill Israelis and mutilate their bodies.
Meanwhile, other pundits have claimed that the U.S. and Britain were behind the downing of the plane – in addition to being responsible for other calamities that have struck Egypt over the past year – as part of a plot to destroy Egypt.
Mohammed Sabrin, a columnist for the official Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, argued that the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268 in the Sinai in October 2015, the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni, and the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 were all connected, and were carried out by terrorist groups that are mercenaries of the U.S. and Britain.
“What is happening on the ground is far removed from any emotion or morality, and is subordinate to the interests of countries and the industrial, military, and financial complex of the world’s strongest superpower [i.e., the U.S.] and its subordinate – Britain. They do not know the meaning of compassion, even though they are good at expressing condolences,” Sabrin wrote.
He argued that Britain and the U.S. provide aid and support terrorist organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State, which target Egypt.
“Is anyone asking what is behind this Western, and particularly British, embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood and its leaders and other extremist organizations – and did the term ‘Londonistan’ come out of nowhere?” he asks.
Writing in Al-Wafd, Wagdi Zein Al-Din agrees with Sabrin, and accuses the U.S. of sponsoring terrorist organizations and being “behind all the plots.”
“The terrorism currently afflicting the world is an American-Western product,” notes Wafd. “The American-Western plans regarding the Middle East are imperialist plans … taking advantage of [terror groups], on the pretense of liberty, democracy, and human rights.”
Wafd continues by arguing that the acts of terror perpetrated by the West are in the hopes of “sowing chaos throughout the Arab ummah, particularly in Egypt.”
Two Egyptian members of parliament have also spoken out about the West’s alleged plans to destroy the country. MP Suleiman Wahdan said that “it is currently clear to the Egyptian public that there is a global plot against Egypt” while MP Khaled Youssef warned that “foreign tourist companies will use this disaster to cancel flights using the Egyptian airline” and thus “participate in the plot against the Egyptian economy.”