Nearly a dozen U.S. lawmakers have turned against a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. The resolution on the World War I-era massacres of Armenians, which until Tuesday had seemed certain to pass, is now very much in doubt, the New York Times reported. Among those now opposing the measure are two prominent Jewish representatives, Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.).
In explaining their shift, some legislators acknowledged that concern for U.S. objectives in the Middle East could be compromised by the resolution. The Turkish government has spent millions lobbying to defeat the measure. â€œWe simply cannot allow the grievances of the past, as real as they may be, to in any way derail our efforts to prevent further atrocities for future history books,â€ said Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.), who withdrew his support for the measure Monday night. The shift was prompted in part over reports that Turkey’s Parliament is considering authorizing incursions into Kurdish areas of northern Iraq to attack separatists of the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK. The rebels have been fighting for more than two decades for autonomy in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeast. The United States opposes Turkish incursions, but Syrian President Bashar Assad told reporters Wednesday that Turkey has every right to act against the separatists, according to The Associated Press. “We understand that such an operation would be aimed toward a certain group which attacks Turkish soldiers,” Assad said. “We support decisions that Turkey has on its agenda, we are backing them. We accept this as Turkey’s legitimate right.”