House Overwhelmingly Approves Resolution Recognizing Armenian Genocide

October 30, 2019by Sarah D. Wire
The Armenian Genocide Committee holds its March for Justice demonstration in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 24, 2018. Participants convened at Pan Pacific Park and marched to the Turkish Consulate. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly reaffirmed that the U.S. government should recognize the century-old killings of 1.5 million Armenians as a genocide.

The resolution, which is not legally binding, marked the first time in 35 years that either chamber of Congress labeled as genocide the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, which is now modern-day Turkey, between 1915 and 1923. A similar House resolution passed in 1984.

Support for the measure — particularly among some Democrats — grew after Turkey’s recent incursion against the Kurds along the Turkish-Syrian border, which killed about 200 Kurds and displaced more than 200,000.

“Given that the Turks are once again involved in ethnic cleansing the population — this time the Kurds who live along the Turkish-Syrian border — it seemed all the more appropriate to bring up a resolution about the Ottoman efforts to annihilate an entire people in the Armenian genocide,” said resolution sponsor Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

The vote on the bipartisan resolution came on the heels of House passage of economic sanctions against Turkey.

Turkey crossed the border Oct. 9 and began attacks across a broad swath of northern Syria following President Donald Trump’s announcement that U.S. forces would withdraw from the area. The United States had previously allied with Syrian Kurdish forces against Islamic State militants. The withdrawal drew swift condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans.

More than 40 states, including California, and several countries have recognized the genocide. But the Turkish government has refused to acknowledge it. And the U.S. government has stopped short of recognizing it by calling the deaths an “atrocity.”

The Turkish government acknowledges that the killings occurred but rejects the use of the term “genocide,” saying other countries should not pass legislation judging another country’s history.

Schiff, who represents many of the estimated 200,000 Armenians living in Los Angeles County, has pushed the government for decades to recognize the genocide but hasn’t been able to overcome opposition from the Turkish government, a NATO ally.

Although there are currently no plans to bring the companion resolution up for a vote in the Senate, Schiff said the 405-11 bipartisan vote sent a strong message. “The Turkish lobby has few friends and allies anymore,” Schiff said.

Some lawmakers, including Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, questioned why the House was taking time to debate a nonbinding resolution dealing with atrocities committed 100 years ago when Congress had a lot left to accomplish in scant days before the end of the year, including preventing the government from shutting down when its spending authority expires Nov. 21.

“It remains unclear why we are urgently considering this resolution,” he said.

But longtime supporter of the effort Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., said it was important for the United States to take a stance, even so long after the fact.

“It is critical that we counteract Turkey’s genocide denial because genocide denial is the last act of a genocide,” Sherman said. “First, you obliterate a people, then you seek to obliterate their memory, and finally you seek to obliterate the memory of the obliteration.”

Southern California is home to the largest Armenian community outside Armenia, and each spring, thousands march on a day of remembrance.

———

©2019 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Geopolitics

More US Troops Could Be Headed to Mideast as Iranian Threat Intensifies Military
More US Troops Could Be Headed to Mideast as Iranian Threat Intensifies
December 6, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A high-ranking Defense Department official acknowledged during a Senate hearing Thursday that the U.S. government is considering sending more troops to the Middle East to counter an Iranian military buildup. “We’re concerned about the threat stream we’re seeing,” said John C. Rood, undersecretary of... Read More

State Dept. Officials Warn Senate About Russian Threats to US Geopolitics
State Dept. Officials Warn Senate About Russian Threats to US
December 5, 2019
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Top U.S. State Department officials warned Tuesday about aggression from Russia as Congress considers legislation to counter the country’s military and political threats. The officials spoke during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as it reviewed Russia’s compliance with the New START... Read More

From Pimples to Politics: A Hong Kong Boy Band Takes on China Geopolitics
From Pimples to Politics: A Hong Kong Boy Band Takes on China

HONG KONG — It was Eddie Ho’s worst nightmare: calling one of the boys’ parents to say that they’d been arrested. Ho, 31, had managed Boyz Reborn, a teenage boy band in Hong Kong, since the boys were elementary school kids during his social worker days... Read More

As Beijing Seethes, Protesters Celebrate Trump’s Signing of Hong Kong Act In The News
As Beijing Seethes, Protesters Celebrate Trump’s Signing of Hong Kong Act

HONG KONG — Dozens of American flags fluttered in the wind on Thanksgiving night in Hong Kong as thousands gathered at a rally in appreciation of the U.S. passage of two bills supporting human rights in Hong Kong that were signed into law by President Donald... Read More

Inside the Bloody Cartel War for Mexico’s Multibillion-Dollar Avocado Industry Mexico
Inside the Bloody Cartel War for Mexico’s Multibillion-Dollar Avocado Industry

URUAPAN, Mexico — The cartel members showed up in this verdant stretch of western Mexico armed with automatic weapons and chainsaws. Soon they were cutting timber day and night, the crash of falling trees echoing throughout the virgin forest. When locals protested, explaining that the area... Read More

Troll Armies, a Growth Industry in the Philippines, May Soon Be Coming to an Election Near You Elections
Troll Armies, a Growth Industry in the Philippines, May Soon Be Coming to an Election Near You

MANILA, Philippines — As public anger mounted last year over delayed plans to shake up the Philippines’ outage-plagued telecommunications sector, angry comments and one-star ratings flooded a government-run Facebook page. When employees suspected online trolls, President Rodrigo Duterte’s digital mastermind offered a solution. “I’ll handle this,”... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top