Tags: Russia | Michael McFaul | Worried | Copycat | Assassins

Former Amb. Michael McFaul Worried About Copycat Assassins

Image: Former Amb. Michael McFaul Worried About Copycat Assassins

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. (AP)

By    |   Monday, 19 Dec 2016 02:50 PM

The situation is horrible in Aleppo, Syria, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul agreed Monday afternoon, but it in "no way" justified the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov, 62, who was killed while presenting a speech at a photography exhibition in Turkey on Monday.

"It's shocking that this can happen," McFaul told MSNBC, where he is now a contributor, Monday afternoon. "I have spoken many times about how horrible, what the Russians have done with their ally Mr. [Bashar al]-Assad in Aleppo, is. In no way can this justify an assassination of anyone, let alone the ambassador."

The killer, identified as an off-duty Turkish police officer, fired at least eight shots at Karlov, while shouting "Don't forget Aleppo, don't forget Syria!" in Turkish, referring to the war-torn city where Russian bombing has helped the Assad regime drive rebels out.

The gunman also shouted "Allahu akbar," Arabic for "God is great" and continued, in Arabic: "We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad, for jihad," according to witnesses.

McFaul said he has been thinking about his diplomatic friends around the world, Americans and Russians alike, who "must feel nervous after the assassination," and he is worried that the shooting could inspire other assassinations.

There has been a great deal of tension between Russia and Turkey, including when Turkish forces shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border in November 2015, said McFaul, but relations had been moving in more positive direction.

"I just have to imagine this will now increase tensions between those two countries," said McFaul. "I also worry about copy cats. I worry that there are lots of people in the Sunni world in Turkey and within the Russian Federation upset with the images from Aleppo.

"It is a major story covered in a way where this is scene as a crime against humanity. And so one should expect this will inspire others to do something so awful as what we were just witnessing now."

For years, he continued, Sunni populations in Syria and throughout the region have blamed Russia for supporting Assad, "in what they consider a crime against humanity, against their people," while Russians see the devastation as the "liberation of Aleppo."

"That disagreement about what's happening is real, fierce. major tragedy," said McFaul. "That's why I'm guessing tensions are heightened and somebody would do such a dastardly act. I want to really emphasize that doesn't excuse in any way, shape or form this kind of assassination."

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The situation is horrible in Aleppo, Syria, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul agreed Monday afternoon, but it in "no way" justified the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov...
Michael McFaul, Worried, Copycat, Assassins
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2016-50-19
Monday, 19 Dec 2016 02:50 PM
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