Friday, March 5, 2010

Armenia promise broken

Turkey warned the Obama administration on Friday of negative diplomatic consequences if it doesn't impede a U.S. resolution branding the World War I-era killing of Armenians genocide. . . .

A U.S. congressional committee approved the measure Thursday. The 23-22 vote sends the measure to the full House of Representatives, where prospects for passage are uncertain. Minutes after the vote, Turkey withdrew its ambassador to the U.S.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, saying the toll has been inflated and those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

President Obama's administration had been silent about the resolution until shortly before the vote when it said it opposed its passage.

Obama hasn't been "silent about the resolution". In fact, during his election campaign, in an appeal to California's significant voting block of Armenian Americans, Obama promised to sign the resolution.

Resistance to the resolution marks a reversal for . . . Obama . . . all of whom had campaigned on the premise of support for an Armenian genocide resolution.

"It's disheartening to see this, at the eleventh hour," acknowledged Bryan Ardouny, the executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America.

Obama is in this jam because he's breaking a campaign promise, and because Turkey realizes it's easy to get Obama to break a campaign promise.

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