Next step, Bashar. The cousin of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad announced that he is quitting business and entering charity work, according to Syrian television. Rami Makhlouf is Syria's most powerful businessman, a confidant of his cousin the president, and hated by protesters. Makhlouf reportedly intends to sell his communications, construction, oil, and other businesses and donate the profits to charity. The move was seen as an attempt to appease protesters, but even if purely symbolic, it is a surprising concession from the regime.