From Syria to Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan, the most corrupt states are also torn apart by political conflicts, showing the strong connection between the two.
Bashar al Assad's estranged cousin and the poster boy of crony capitalism, Makhlouf is making desperate attempts to position himself as a populist figure amongst Syria’s disillusioned Alawites, Assad's key support base.
Rami Makhlouf's estrangement with regime leader Bashar al Assad first came to the open on April 30 when he denounced taxes imposed on Syriatel, which the Makhlouf family controls.
Recently, the US suggested that Assad does not necessarily have to go. Nonetheless, experts say it is still too early to ascertain whether the West's attitude towards the regime has changed.
The first batch of designations target 39 people or entities, including Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad personally as well as his wife Asma — the first time she has been targeted by US sanctions.
Sunni majority Syria was carved out of Ottoman Turkey in 1945, but since 1970, the Assad clan from an Alawite minority has ruled over it.
Experts say Syria's economic woes could weaken Bashar al Assad's military stranglehold over the country.
The interim government and local councils announced the decision amid the Syrian Pound’s freefall as economic conditions worsened.
Protests erupted in Suweida over deteriorating living standards, as Assad struggles to keep the economy afloat.
The country's economy is disintegrating but if Bashar al Assad wants to fix it, he risks losing his grip over power.
Iran has a longterm ideological and military aim that doesn't require the Syrian regime to reform, or redeem itself.
Rami Makhlouf, the head of Syria's largest mobile operator Syriatel, has been grappling with authorities over demands that the firm pay $185 million.
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