Al-Masdar has recently spoken to Mr Steven Oshana of the A Demand for Action (ADFA) organization. ADFA states on its website that “A Demand For Action is a global initiative which seeks protection for Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs and other ethnoreligious minorities in the Middle East. We came together in June 2014 from a dozen countries to pool our energy and resources into a unified international effort.”
Al-Masdar’s Paul Antonopoulos spoke with Mr Oshana.
PA: Could you introduce yourself and what you do?
SO: I’m the executive director of ADFA, I work as a lobbyist in Washington DC and advocate on behalf of Assyrians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. I do a lot of legislative work pertaining to security, appropriations and immigration.
PA: Why is it important that the Assyrian people need support in Iraq and Syria?
SO: There’s a genocide against our people which has really been ongoing since 2005. Our people in Iraq need basic support such as humanitarian assistance, but also longer term support for their own local security forces and a long term political solution that involves some level of self administration. After the Iraqi army and Peshmerga abandoned the Nineveh Plains we lobbied to secure an amendment in the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) to authorize local security forces in the Nineveh Plains, which was a first in US policy. The reality is the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac people have been shown time and time again that the larger administrations in Iraq and Erbil will fail them and there is a real sense that there needs to be some direct support to our own local organizations and security forces.