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Assad Ally Links Israeli, Syrian Stability, New York Times Says

The first cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is facing the gravest danger to his 11-year presidency, linked Israel’s stability to that of Syria’s, the New York Times reported today.

In an interview with the newspaper, Rami Makhlouf, a tycoon, said Syria’s ruling elite will fight to the end as the administration tries to quell anti-government demonstrations that began in March.

“If there is no stability here, there’s no way there will be stability in Israel,” Makhlouf said in the May 9 interview. Indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria, mediated by Turkey, broke down in December 2008.

Makhlouf is one of 13 Syrian officials targeted by European Union sanctions that include a visa ban and an asset freeze.

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