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michael norton
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Joshua M. Landis (born May 14, 1957) is an American academic who specializes in the Middle East and is an expert on Syria.
[Probably where they got the name Pamela Landy] ( CIA) the Jason Bourne films.

There is “stuff” going on with the maternal relatives of Assad the butcher.
His elder brother Bassel al-Assadan heir to the presidency died in a car crash, sat next to him was one of his cousin’s head of Intelligence/security, Hafez Makhlouf, brother of Rami Makhlouf .

On 18 July 2012, Al Arabiya reported that Makhlouf was killed in a bombing which targeted Syria’s National Security headquarters in Damascus. Other sources however indicated that he was only wounded in the attack.

In September 2014 multiple sources reported that he had relocated to Belarus with his wife. Earlier in the month Makhlouf had been removed from his powerful intelligence post in Damascus but pro-government sources said at the time that it was a “routine” move. Joshua Landis, a U.S. expert on Syria tweeted that Makhlouf had left Syria.
Now we learn that Rami Makhlouf( possibly) the richest business man in Syria has been unfriended by Assad.

If true this may be a tactic learnt or encouraged by Putin.