Daily News Brief

March 5, 2010

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

- Turkey Balks at U.S. Genocide Vote
- Iraqi Shiites Attend Election Rally
- China Targets 8 Percent Growth
- 9/11 Plotter May Be Get Military Trial

Top of the Agenda: Turkey Balks at U.S. Genocide Vote on Armenia

Turkey recalled its ambassador (CSMonitor) to the United States over a disagreement on how to refer to the mass killings of Armenians  during World War I. The U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution requiring official use of the term "Armenian genocide" in referring to the killings. "We condemn this resolution accusing Turkey of a crime that it had not committed," the Turkish prime minister's office said in a written statement. Turkey had warned that passing the bill could disrupt positive relations with Washington and damage Turkish-Armenian reconciliation.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned fellow Democrat and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman before the vote to say the measure could harm efforts (Telegraph) to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations, the White House said. Despite this appeal, Berman went ahead with the committee debate and vote. It remains unclear whether the bill will reach a floor vote.

Analysis:

In this First Take, CFR's Steven Cook writes that the House committee's vote could rupture U.S. ties with Ankara and set back Turkey's own effort to confront its past.

In the Wall Street Journal, Soner Cagaptay says Turkey's Islamist government is growing more authoritarian, and the United States and Europe should press for free and fair elections in 2011.

In the Financial Times, Daniel Dombey and Delphine Strauss say U.S. President Barack Obama avoided the word "genocide" last year on this issue and "is likely to maintain that position," because the United States relies on Turkey's influence in the Middle East.

MIDDLE EAST: Iraqi Shiites Attend Religious Election Rally

In Baghdad, tens of thousands of supporters of the United Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of Shiite parties, attended a service held by coalition leader Ammar Hakim, who urged them to vote (NYT) in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

Israel: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped to start indirect peace talks (Reuters) with the Palestinians when the Obama administration's special envoy arrives in the region early next week.

PACIFIC RIM: China Targets 8 Percent Growth

China will target an 8 percent growth rate (FT) of this year, according to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The premier also vowed to tackle (Guardian) the country's poverty gap.

Japan: Toyota president Akio Toyoda addressed thousands of employees and suppliers in Japan in a bid to boost company morale (AFP).

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA: Pakistan Reports Another Taliban Capture

Pakistani intelligence officials say they arrested another Afghan Taliban leader (AP), Agha Jan Mohtasim, as part of the government's ongoing crackdown against the Pakistani Taliban.  Separately, a suicide bomber attacked a convoy (Dawn) of civilians guarded by security forces in northwest Pakistan, killing at least ten people and wounding thirty.

Afghanistan: Encouraging signs of progress in Afghanistan indicate the war may be on a path to victory, the Wall Street Journal says.

AFRICA: Nigerian Police Accused of Abuse

At a meeting of police commanders, Nigeria's police minister condemned the police force (BBC) for killings, robbery, and other abuses resulting in public insecurity.

Chad: Chadian Prime Minister Youssouf Saleh Abbas, whose government has been accused of embezzlement (Reuters), resigned.

AMERICAS: 9/11 Plotter May Be Tried in Military Tribunal

The Obama administration is close to recommending that accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed be prosecuted in a military tribunal (WashPost), reversing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's plan to try him in New York City civilian court.

EUROPE: Greek Bonds Sale Proves Successful

Greece successfully raised $6.85 billion (WSJ) in a long-awaited bond sale, but pending debt auctions by other European countries could make it difficult for Greece to raise more.

Britain: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended the Iraq invasion (Guardian) at a British war inquiry but admitted frustration with the United States on postwar planning.