Thursday 26 April 2018 Last Update: 04:58 PM

Pro-Armenian Groups Appealing To DAESH Sensitivities To Pass Genocide Bill In US Congress

Published: 03-24-2017

Armenian-American interest groups in the U.S. have stepped up their efforts in the U.S. Congress to pass a resolution that recognizes Armenian deaths in 1915 as a genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire.

Armenian groups failed last year, on the 100th anniversary of the 1915 killings that are traditionally remembered on April 24, to force former U.S. President Barack Obama to acknowledge the incidents as a genocide. Surprisingly, the text failed to make it through the House of Representatives.

This year they have a creative approach. H. Res. 220, introduced on Wednesday by Republican Rep. David Trott and 15 other bipartisan co-sponsors who are members of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, focuses on past genocides, not only the Armenian killings. The draft resolution said, "That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States, in seeking to prevent war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against Christians, Yazidis, Muslims, Kurds, and other vulnerable religious and ethnic groups in the Middle East, should draw upon relevant lessons of the United States government, civil society, and humanitarian response to the Armenian Genocide."

The representatives specifically mention Daesh atrocities and genocides in Syria and Iraq against the Yezidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims, which is perceived as a way to garner more support in Congress due to ongoing anti-Daesh efforts in the Middle East.

Armenian American National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian said in a message posted on their website that his group was looking forward to working with members of Congress to see this measure adopted by the U.S. House.

Reps. Trott and Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, said in their letter inviting their House colleagues to co-sponsor the draft resolution that it was time for the U.S. government to officially end what they call "genocide denial."

This year's resolution also accuses the Ottoman Empire of running a broader genocidal campaign not only against Armenians but also Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Greeks and other Christian groups - a charge that Ankara flatly denies. The Turkish and Armenian governments tried to reconcile their differences a couple of years ago, but other regional actors, such as Azerbaijan, prevented Turkey from going along with the planned steps. Opposition groups also pressured the Armenian government not to normalize relations with Turkey until it recognizes an Armenian genocide and accepts reparations for the killings.