2011: Hillary Clinton declared that Bashir al Assad was a reformer.
Rami Makhlouf: Wealthy, powerful cousin of Syria’s president
Makhlouf, 45, is Syria’s richest man and a member of what was described during U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearings as a powerful “mafia” that also includes Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, Makhklouf’s cousin. Before his country plunged into civil war, Makhlouf was allegedly worth $5 billion thanks to his control of monopolies and semi-monopolies in the air travel, telecommunications, real estate, oil and construction sectors. Makhlouf is on U.S. sanctions lists and is a known beneficiary of corruption.