"Rami Makhlouf's Facebook videos are dangerous. No mere mortal would ever survive such a thing in Assad's empire. Ultimately, though, these direct challenges to the president's authority could prove to be a life-saving maneuver. Those who fall out of favor with the regime, after all, tend to be removed via "suicide," in the form of several bullets in the back of the head. But after these videos, it is unlikely that anyone would believe that Makhlouf took his own life, should he turn up dead.
Makhlouf, in any case, is still living in Syria, allegedly having moved from his estate in Jaafur, near Damascus, to his hometown of Latakia. But his videos also haven't yet triggered an uprising by loyal Alawites or among the thousands of people on Makhlouf's payroll. At least not yet. The authorities have recently been ratcheting up the pressure. Not only did the Finance Ministry order the seizure of assets belonging to Rami and to his wife and children, but he has also been slapped with a travel ban."
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