Oil prices increased by $1 during early morning Monday trading, after reports of the death of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The news caused traders to worry because Assad’s death might escalate the tension in the Middle East driving the oil price to go higher than its current level.
The information regarding Assad’s death came from the Twitter account of Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev. The twitter message reads: RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT CONFIRMS: BASHAR AL ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA HAS BEEN KILLED TODAY IN LATAKYJA WITH HIS WIFE AND TWO PEOPLE.
Two other messages were sent from the same account, stating that the Russian Ambassador/diplomats in Damascus reported that President Assad was either injured or killed.
On the other hand, the Russian government denied circulating the report or issuing any comment regarding the Assad’s health. The same twitter account sent a message stating that the account was a hoax created by Italian journalist Tomasso de Benetti.
People have different reactions regarding the twitter message, but the majority believed that the report is not true. An anonymous source from Australia said that it was a “classic trading tactic.” An interesting comment, comong from an individual with the user name Precious, stated that it was a “Pure PSYOPS to force Assad to expose himself to become primary target of further assassination attempts by bomb.” Furthermore, the comment reads:
"BLACK PSYOP. Covert PSYOP is not a function of the U.S. military but instead is used in special operations due to their political sensitivity and need for higher level compartmentalization… Further, black PSYOP, to be credible, may need to disclose sensitive material, with the damage caused by information disclosure considered to be outweighed by the impact of successful deception. In order to achieve maximum results and to prevent compromise of overt PSYOP, overt and covert operations need to be kept separate…"
Last week, Kofi Annan resigned from his position as representative of the United Nations and Arab League to negotiate peace plan in Syria. Annan refused to renew his contract and continue the initiative to restore peace in the country, due to the increasing militarization on the ground and the lack of unity in the Security Councils, which affected his role as a peace envoy.