Afram Yakoub, president of the Assyrian Federation of Sweden and Naher Arslan, president of the Assyrian Confederation of Europe (ACE) as well as representatives of the Assyrian American National Federation (AANF) conducted in mid-May, an important lobbying in Washington. They met a large number of politicians, officials and organizations that work with issues of the Middle East – especially Iraq. They have drawn attention to the Assyrian demands on the Nineveh Plains. In closed meetings with powerful Christian organizations the Assyrian representatives have informed that the Assyrians are an ethnic group of people – not just a Christian group – who have fought for a century for their national rights. The picture that these distinguished and influential Christian organizations have, and their cooperation with the Kurds, assumes that the Assyrians are a group of Christians who are persecuted by Muslims, without taking into account the Assyrian national identity.
Some individuals or organizations among the Assyrians have in their propaganda tried to exploit some resolutions on recognition of genocide or financial aid to minorities in Iraq, says Afram Yakoub and points out that a resolution or decision of the Congress must pass several stages and be financed before it can become reality. So far, only one such decision was implemented. It was 2007 when $ 10 million was given to Iraq, but Baghdad, the KRG and Sunni Arabs in Nineveh confiscated the money. Just a smal part of it reached the Assyrians, says Yakoub, who otherwise is surprised at the openness that prevails in Washington and how easy it is for anyone to meet with politicians and decision makers. He is also hopeful about the incipient cooperation with AANF, which has experienced stagnation in the last decade. But now the number of young enthusiasts increased working methodically and well organized, concludes Afram Yakoub.