Was last Sunday’s suicide attack in Qamishly against Patriarch Afrem II Karim, or one in a series of attacks to scare Assyrians and other Christians? What forces might be behind the attack? Our debaters Sleiman Yousef and Dr. Gabriel Oussi are speculating about potential candidates;
1. The Turkish regime that would humiliate both Bashar Assad’s regime and stop the patriarch from Seyfo activities, says Oussi. Considering Erdogan’s reaction to German parliamentarians of Turkish origin in connection with the Bundestag recognition of the 1915 genocide, it is not strange that the Turkish government would like to eliminate Patriarch Karim as a symbol of the Church establishing Seyfo monuments in Damascus and now in Qamishly.
2. Assad regime can not be deprived of the moral and political responsibility for having left the patriarch without police protection, despite the fact that the police station is just 200 meters from the site of the new Seyfo monument, says Youssef. He accuses the Patriarch of failure against the Assad regime in terms of the text on the new Seyfo monument in Qamishly, where neither it says that Turkey is the perpetrator or the year of Seyfo. Youssef believes that there is a scheming from Bashar Assad’s side to maybe become friends with Turkey one day. Therefore, the patriarch had not granted permission to mention the Turks as perpetrators, he says. Youssef is also critical to the patriarch’s initiative to create an own Remembrance day for the Seyfo victims on 15 June.
3. Islamic extremist groups may be behind the attack as a blow against Christians in general and the Assyrians in particular. It need not be IS. There are other extremist Islamic groups.
4. Kurdish interests to oust the Assyrians from Gozarto, whom refuse to accept Kurdish supremacy and power graces.
Sleiman Youssef has also called upon the Church and other Assyrian organizations to require an international investigation commission. Such a commission would investigate all the attacks that have taken place against the Assyrians in Qamishly during the past six months, the suicide attempt against Patriarch Karim as well as the kidnapping of the bishops of Aleppo Yuhanna Brahim and Paul Yazici just over three years ago.
Dr. Gabriel Oussi is critical to the fact that the Assyrian political organizations leave a big vacuum, giving the church an opportunity to play on the political arena. They should realize that the public interest outweighs the party differences in these critical times of threats to our very existence in Assyria.
After this program was recorded, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate issued a statement in Arabic where Patriarch Karim rejects the claims of the media that he was the target of the suicide bomber. But in the English version of the statement nothing is mentioned about this matter.
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