12 September 2006

1007) Developments In The United States

With regard to the Armenian Question the most important recent development which took place in the Unites States has been the affirmation of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to appoint Richard Hoagland as the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia. Under normal circumstances the appointment of an ambassador to a country is not a significant affair. However, this matter has been brought to the fore as the appointment of Hoagland, and his predecessor Evans having been recalled, is ultimately linked to the U.S. Government’s position on the Armenian genocide allegations. . .

By way of refraining from characterizing as “genocide” Armenian allegations in this regard, the U.S. has averted drawing sharp reactions from Turkey, its close ally which it is in need of particularly during this period of time. On the other hand, to appease the Armenians, whose political clout in America can not be underestimated, President Bush has invoked such phrases as “annihilation” and “mass killings” which carry approximately the same meaning as genocide in the annual statements issued on the 24th of April. Although this tactic satisfies neither the Turks nor the Armenians it does preclude them from displaying strong reactions.

On the issue of Armenian genocide allegations, U.S. civil servants have to align themselves with the President and must refrain from using the term “genocide”. Although this is generally the case, the U.S. Ambassador to Yerevan, John Evans, during a visit paid to the Armenian Community in the U.S. and at their insistence, has characterized the events of 1915 as genocide. This course of action, which is contrary to the Government’s policy, did not immediately draw negative reactions. However, Evans was recalled without having completed his term in office and the U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan, Richard Hoagland, was appointed in his place.

This occurrence drew strong reactions from Armenian circles in the U.S. and in particular the Dashnaks. Upon the inability to secure the continuation of Evans term in office, endeavors were made for Hoagland to accept Armenian allegations in public.

For this task, pro-Armenian members of the Senate of Foreign Relations Committee were taken advantage of. Despite the insistence of these members, Hoagland, drawing on the expressions of President Bush, did not mention the term “genocide” throughout the meeting of the Committee during which his appointment to Yerevan was taken up. Upon this, both in the U.S. and in Armenia, a press campaign against Hoagland was initiated. Certain Armenian newspapers went as far as to tag Hoagland as a homosexual.

As a result of the extreme reaction of Armenians, The Senate of Foreign Relations Committee delayed affirming the appointment of Hoagland two times. Yet, during the meeting of September the 8th this appointment was confirmed by 13 votes as against 8. Paul Sarbanes, Norm Coleman, Christopher Dodd, John Kerry and Barbara Boxer who voted against the appointment are individuals who have been serving Armenian interests all along. It is viewed as almost certain that this decision of the Committee will approved by the Senate General Assembly.

This decision of the Committee should be interpreted as a crushing defeat on the part of Armenian institutions in the U.S.. Yet, these institutions have brought this defeat upon themselves having adopted such an insistent and aggressive stance on a matter with which the U.S. President is also concerned.

Another incident upon which we would like to elaborate is the refusal of the eligibility of parole of the Armenian terrorist Harry Sasunian, captured and convicted to jail for having murdered Turkey’s Los Angeles Consulate General in 1982. Such a demand can not be made again on the part of Sasunian before the year 2010.

Armenians retain considerable political clout in the state of California. Since judges and public prosecutors serving under the U.S. legal system are elected, it may be expected that these individuals would look favorably upon Armenian demands and might find an individual having served 24 years in jail eligible for parole. The person in question remains in jail essentially due to having committed a terrorist crime. Naturally, having committed this crime a few days prior to September the 11th has also been unfavorable for Sasunian.

Comment: Ömer Engin LÜTEM
12 Sep 2006
IKSAREN

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