I must admit to doing this myself when I tried to make hay from Bashar al-Assad's long absense from public view after the bombing of his military headquarters on 18 June 2012. Mummar Qaddafi used a reverse variation of this ploy to trick protesters into Green Square to celebrate his fleeing Libya, a rumor he had started himself. Then he brought out the machine guns and slaughtered more 700 unarmed protesters in Tripoli's Long Night, 21 February 2011.
Given the long history of this trick, recent reports that General Salim Idris, commander of the Free Syria Army had fled to Doha, Qatar should have been met with considerable scepticism. After all, doesn't he have a home in Turkey? Doesn't he cross the border often in the course of his duties because he is not only the FSA's supreme commander, he is their point person in dealing with the international community. So how many times has he "fled" the country in the past three years?
For all this reason, reports like this one from UPI should have been met with suspicion:
The Wall St. Journal ran a similar story which has immediately tweeted out by many supporters of the Assad Regime:
U.S.-backed Syrian rebel commander flees countryDec. 12, 2013 at 1:27 AM
WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The top Western-backed Syrian rebel commander fled the country after Islamist militant fighters ran him out of his headquarters, U.S. officials said.
Free Syrian Army Gen. Salim Idris flew to the Qatari capital of Doha Sunday after fleeing to Turkey, the officials told the Wall Street Journal.
"He fled as a result of the Islamic Front taking over his headquarters," a senior U.S. official said.
An Islamic Front spokesman said Idris, an East German-trained electronics professor who was a Syrian army general until he defected to the rebel side in July 2012, fled to Turkey.
The New York Times said Idris flew temporarily to Doha but was now back in Turkey, where he has a house. More...
Confirmed: Idris wasn't at the SMC site when it was overtaken. He went to Doha for a meeting, now back in Turkey. WSJ source wrong.— michaeldweiss (@michaeldweiss) December 12, 2013
Zaid Benjamin is reporting that he is on post and meeting with his senior commanders as usual:
#BREAKING: Gen. Salim Idris concluded a meeting in Hatay Province with the commanders of the fronts. Another meeting expected Friday— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) December 12, 2013
Basel Abdulla has given us the following English language summary of what General Idris said in this video:
Gen Idris confirms that he is still in Syria north close to Syria-Turkish borders. The news published by WSJ said that " he fled via Turkey to Qatar ,and he came back to hold FSA headquarter in Syria due to USA pressure after Islamic front seized FSA bases". He denies completely all these information asking WSJ to clarify the sources it relied on confirming that he has never left Syrian lands. He also minimized the importance of Islamic front operation saying: what they seized is mere light arms and munitions but no specific or heavy strategic weapons.Consider that even if the commander of the FSA had fled Syria, supporters of the FSA would never be out front in claiming it, instead we have a business trip to Doha spun as "the FSA is falling apart, even its supreme commander has fled." With friends like these, who needs enemies?
I find it very interesting that pro-Assad journalists like Sy Hersh and Robert Fisk are quick to accuse the Obama administration of lying about almost everything connected with Syria but they are just as quick to take them at their word when they claim that they really do support the struggle to unseat Assad.
So now we know positively that General Idris never "fled" Syria. This was an ugly rumour promoted by enemies of the struggle to overthrow the Assad Regime and given that it was started by US officials and initially spread by US mainstream media outlets, now would seem to be a good time for those media outlets and the Left to stop referring to the FSA or its leadership as "Western backed."
Its not hard to figure out why all the Assad supporters have been spreading this false rumour, nor should it be hard to figure out why US officials started it. If you need more help, maybe this story published today will give you a clue.
The Lebanese Daily Star is reporting this today:
And the same sentiment is being expressed in Israel. From the Times of Israel:
Assad win may be Syria's best option: ex-CIA chiefDecember 13, 2013 09:44 AM
WASHINGTON: The sectarian bloodbath in Syria is such a threat to regional security that a victory for Bashar al-Assad's regime could the best outcome to hope for, a former CIA chief said Thursday.
But Michael Hayden, the retired US Air Force general who until 2009 was head of the Central Intelligence Agency, said a rebel win was not one of the three possible outcomes he foresees for the conflict.
"Option three is Assad wins," Hayden told the annual Jamestown Foundation conference of terror experts.
"And I must tell you at the moment, as ugly as it sounds, I'm kind of trending toward option three as the best out of three very, very ugly possible outcomes," he said.
The first possible outcome he cited was for ongoing conflict between ever more extreme Sunni and Shiite factions.
The rebel groups are dominated by Sunni Muslims, while Assad is generally backed by Syria's Alawite, Shiite and Christian minorities.
And the second outcome, which Hayden deemed the most likely, was the "dissolution of Syria" and the end of a single state within the borders defined by a 1916 treaty between the French and British empires.
"It means the end of the Sykes-Picot (Agreement), it sets in motion the dissolution of all the artificial states created after World War I," he said. More...
Ex-IDF chief: Israel prefers that Assad stay in powerBy Spencer Ho
December 11, 2013, 10:58 am
Israel would prefer that Bashar Assad hold onto the presidency in Syria, rather than leave a power vacuum that could be filled by Islamic radicals, according to former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz.
“The regime in Syria kills its citizens every day, but we must acknowledge that the opposition in Syria is composed of Muslim extremists like al-Qaeda,” he said at a fundraising event for Israel’s Tel Hashomer hospital in Moscow on Monday, according to the daily Maariv. “The question ‘what is better for Israel?’ is an important question because we must ask ourselves if we want to trade the bad regime we know for the very bad regime that we don’t know, and this is something that requires serious consideration.”
“At the moment it looks like even in the rest of the world, they understand that they cannot replace the Assad regime as long as they don’t know who will take its place,” he added. “Right now it looks like the alternative is forces that will endanger the stability of the region." More...
As I have been saying for a long time, Obama is really on Assad's side. Now they are just starting to come out with it. This rumour, published as fact, was just designed to advance that.
Like I've been saying:
How Obama has supported Assad's gas murder always
Obama's Real Syria Policy: Endless War
The Courtship Continues: Obama stopped French strike on Assad
The Courtship Continues: Obama's New Gift to Assad
How Obama Helped Assad Kill with Poison Gas in Syria
Win-Win for Assad as Obama Response to CW Mass Murder Put on Hold
Obama Denied Gas Masks to Assad's Victims
Obama's Dilemma and Assad's Opportunity
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad Exposed!
Obama "green lights" Assad's slaughter in Syria
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
Chemical weapons use in Syria, Has Obama's red-line has been crossed?
AP weighs in on Obama's Green Light for Assad's slaughter in Syria
Syria: Obama's moves Assad's "red line" back as SOHR reports 42,000 dead!
SecState John Kerry and his "dear friend" Bashar al-Assad
How Obama's 'No MANPADS for you' policy in Syria is backfiring
More thoughts on Obama's 'No MANPADS for you!' policy
Obama: Did the CIA betray Assad's opposition in Syria?
Obama planning drone strikes against Assad's opposition in Syria
How Obama helps Assad: US tried to start war between FSA & al Nusra Front