I say I don’t like conspiracies, but as soon as I see something like this, my first thought is “they’re gonna kill the Pope and blame it on Iran.”


Infectious disease experts are expressing concern about Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Iraq, given a sharp rise in coronavirus infections there, a fragile health care system and the unavoidable likelihood that Iraqis will crowd to see him.

No one wants to tell Francis to call it off, and the Iraqi government has every interest in showing off its relative stability by welcoming the first pope to the birthplace of Abraham. The March 5-8 trip is expected to provide a sorely-needed spiritual boost to Iraq’s beleaguered Christians while furthering the Vatican’s bridge-building efforts with the Muslim world.

But from a purely epidemiological standpoint, as well as the public health message it sends, a papal trip to Iraq amid a global pandemic is not advisable, health experts say.

Their concerns were reinforced with the news Sunday that the Vatican ambassador to Iraq, the main point person for the trip who would have escorted Francis to all his appointments, tested positive for COVID-19 and was self-isolating.

In an email to The Associated Press, the embassy said Archbishop Mitja Leskovar’s symptoms were mild and that he was continuing to prepare for Francis’ visit.

Beyond his case, experts note that wars, economic crises and an exodus of Iraqi professionals have devastated the country’s hospital system, while studies show most of Iraq’s new COVID-19 infections are the highly-contagious variant first identified in Britain.

The concern is being framed around coronavirus, which only ups my suspicions.

The US just bombed Iraq in December, claiming that “Iranian-backed militia” – which are almost universally just CIA fronts, or don’t even exist at all – are “very active.”

We are in weird days, and I would not be weirdly surprised if they claimed that Iran had assassinated the Pope as a way to get Biden’s Serious Wars going.

I can tell you this: he’s got a very low chance of catching the flu in a hot country.