U.S. Republican Hopeful Slams Obama Over Armenian Genocide Recogniti

Emil Danielyan


U.S. — President Barack Obama speaks at the Moving America Forward
rally in Philadelphia, 10Oct2010

A Republican candidate in the U.S. mid-term elections has condemned
President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies controlling Congress
for reneging, so far, on their pledges to formally recognize the 1915
Armenian massacres in Ottoman Turkey as genocide.

In a last-minute attempt to win over ethnic Armenian voters in her New
Jersey constituency, Anna Little also faulted the Obama administration
for lending what she called insufficient support to Armenia in its
difficult relations with Turkey and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The
Karabakh Armenians “continue to face the specter of genocide,” she
claimed, pointing to “the ever increasing war rhetoric emanating from
the Azerbaijani regime.”

“In the elections of 2008, the Democrats swept into power with their
leaders on record in support of U.S. affirmation of the Armenian
Genocide,” Little said in a statement obtained by RFE/RL’s Armenian
service. “However, they have failed to deliver on their promises in
every way.”

“The Democratically-controlled Congress and Democratic Administration
lured voters into a false sense of hope and failed to stand with the
Armenian-American community on this fundamental promise,” she charged.

US – Congressman Frank Pallone, Undated

Little is locked in an unexpectedly tight contest with Democratic
incumbent Frank Pallone, one of the most pro-Armenian members of the
U.S. House of Representatives who has long championed U.S. recognition
of the Armenian genocide.

Pallone is also one of the two co-chairmen of the congressional
Armenian Caucasus, a bipartisan group of more than 150 legislators.

His reelection bid was endorsed last week by the Armenian National
Committee of America (ANCA), one of the two main Armenian-American
advocacy groups.

The Armenian community in the United States has been dismayed by
Obama’s failure to honor his repeated campaign pledges to refer to
the World War One-era massacres as genocide once in office. The U.S.

president has implicitly attributed his stance to an unprecedented
rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey that began shortly after he
took office.

Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime backer of Armenian-American
issues, caused more controversy when he implied, in an Internet video
that surfaced last week, that President Serzh Sarkisian himself asked
the administration and Congress not to press ahead with genocide
recognition for now. The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan effectively denied
Biden’s claim over the weekend.

Obama’s Republican election rival, Senator John McCain, refrained
from calling the mass killings and deportations of Ottoman Armenians
a genocide during the 2008 presidential race. But he did declare in
November last year that “genocide was committed against the Armenian
people” and that “there is ample documentation of that.”

In her statement, Little said that she “will not rest” until a
draft genocide resolution, which was narrowly approved by the House
Foreign Affairs Committee in March, is passed by the full chamber,
if she defeats Pallone. “We cannot afford to break another promise,”
said the Republican challenger.

Whether her party shares this view is an open question. The Republicans
have traditionally opposed Armenian genocide bills, citing Turkey’s
geopolitical importance to the United States.

Virtually all Republican members of the House panel voted against the
latest resolution in March. Some of them subsequently reconsidered
their position amid a sharp deterioration of Turkey’s relations
with Israel.

The draft resolution has still not reached the House floor despite
being backed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and more than a hundred other
lawmakers. One Armenian-American leader told RFE/RL on Monday that
the Armenian lobby still hopes to push it through the House before
new legislators take office in January. In any case, he said, the
mid-term elections “will be more than consequential for us.”

From: A. Papazian