Friday, March 05, 2010

Final push for the Armenian genocide resolution showdown

    Monday, March 1, 2010
   A group of Turkish parliamentarians in Washington this week to do a final push before the Armenian Genocide Resolution which will be put on a vote this Thursday at the House Foreign Relations Committee. Turkey's new ambassador to the US, Mr. Namik Tan exchanged the credentials with President Obama last Wednesday and has been busy with holding meetings since then to make some progress over the issue, an issue that is to many Washington insiders is already a lost cause.
Ambassador Namik Tan gave his first interview to "Studyo Washington", a daily news program, last Friday, and responded to questions over the resolution first time publicly. He acknowledged that he already met with the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman a day before and also met with some officials of the US administration.
Tan said: "Turkey wants to bring peace and stability to the Caucusus region, and I think America has the same goal. The US Congress is not a place to make a decision over this issue, neither the legislative branches of other countries. We have been talking to US administration as well and telling them what the Turkish public think about the matter."
When asked about the on-going silence of the US administration, Tan said: "as many know, the US administration is the biggest lobbying power in the town. I think that they can step in the right direction while looking at the whole picture of the relationships between Turkey and America. The public in Turkey is closely following the developments over the issue. We worry that the Turkish public would see what is happening at this time [the withdrawn attitude of the US administration]. Americans should know that this behavior sends the wrong signals and the Turkish public would display a strong reaction. We do not want this because this would effect very negatively our relationships."
Although the Ambassador said that "we do not even want to think about the possibility of a successful passage at the Committee level," and there are understandable and obvious reasons for the Turkish administration to take this stand for the Committee level voting, one needs to know that a miracle is needed to stop the resolution at this point
There are two different interpretations in Washington over the withdrawn posture of the Obama White House at this time. One is to say that there is a motionless because the US administration is intentionally wants the resolution pass this year to sharpen the sword of Democles to utilize more pressure over the Turkish administration for other foreign affairs matters that are coming up into the play. The upcoming sanctions debate over Iran is one of those matters that Turkey's attitude will be closely watched at the UN Security Council by Washington. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a hearing at the US Congress last week that she expects the UN Security Council to impose new sanctions against Iran in the “next 30 to 60 days.” The timing just coincides before the April 24, when the US President releases the traditional Presidential Remembrance Day statement and chooses the adjectives in his statement over what happened during World War I.
Another interpretation for the numbness of the White House told by a Washington source last week. According to this source, who has been watching closely and writing about the US administrations for the last quarter of a century, the Obama White House is the messiest and combined by the most amateurish team of policy makers he has ever witnessed.
The members of this disconnected White House team also have been fighting with each other for a while. Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, shot back to his critics who have been demanding for his resignation recently. Emanuel said through Dana Milibank's column in Washington Post last week that the two of the most visible senior White House teammates, Valerie Jarrett and Robert Gibbs, should be fired because of the poor job performance they have shown so far. While defending his record, Emanuel also blamed his boss, Obama, for not taking his advice for the health care reform and many other policy issues, which are either stalled or failed for the time being.
In the foreign affairs front, policy differences within the U.S. foreign policy apparatus also hindered the implementation of an effective and coherent U.S. policy toward the Iranian nuclear program. On the one hand, Hillary Clinton slams the Iranian regime every other day with the harshest words in the international diplomatic arena, on the other Obama and his White House team still argue that the diplomatic channels to Iran are open. While State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters last Monday that Washington was "looking at the full range of possibilities" regarding Iranian problem, implying that the military options are still on the table, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said on the same day in a Pentagon briefing that he supports using diplomatic and economic pressure against Iran, noting "no strike, however effective, will be in and of itself decisive," displaying his unwillngness to talk about a military option as a head of the US Army.
The Washington Post's veteran columnist David Ignatius gave a stark statement when he joined the Chris Matthew Show a week ago and said that manufacturing of the bunker-buster bombs have been accelerated recently. These bombs penetrate deep into the earth or girth through a dozen feet of reinforced concrete before exploding. Ignatius was clear while pointing out the direct link between this acceleration of manufacturing with the Iranian nuclear facilities, which are reportedly under the ground.
One of the members of the Congress, who has close ties to Israel, stated in an off-the-record talk just last week that he and his friends gave up on working on a gasoline sanctions against Iran. Instead, he acknowledged that as a Congress, they will work on to transfer those bunker busters to Israel as soon as possible. I believe, this statement is one of a kind, showing how the Obama administration is regarded, or not trusted over the Iran issue, by the lawmakers who have proximity to Israel one way or another, .
According to an AP story, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who introduced the ' 'Genocide' resolution for consideration, said he sees more favorable conditions than in 2007. "Last time we had President Bush calling lawmakers at their homes to oppose the resolution," he said.
It seems that Obama needs to make many phone calls to many members for many issues to get them done. Though, so far Obama we know, lacks the leadership skills sorely, has a hard time prioritizing the foreign policy agenda and getting anything done domestically.
I should make myself clear. I am with the second school of thoughts, who believes that with an administration that appears this messy and rambling, anything can happen in Washington, including passing the resolution in the Committee this week.
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Guest - kim (2010-03-02 18:12:52) :
the resolution will pass and will be stopped by the US administration thereafter.. same story every year 

Guest - denis arvay (2010-03-02 15:47:36) :
Please, Turkey, withdraw from NATO and expel our military from your country, help us come to our senses. 

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