[tweetmeme] Depending on your point of view, yesterday was either a great or terrible day for foreign diplomats. If you are a foreign diplomat who needed a relaxing paid vacation from your job, get out the suntan lotion, but if you care about your country and despise terrible policies, bummer.
With Obama set to give a speech on 24 April about the deaths of Armenians during WW1 (was it genocide?), the Turkish government has decided to wait until it hears the President’s remarks before reinstating its ambassador. Recall that Turkey recalled the ambassador when the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 23-22 to call on Obama to call the Armenian deaths genocide. Obama made a campaign promise to use the term genocide, but also cannot afford to lose Turkey as an ally, given the US preoccupations in Iraq and Afghanistan (Turkey provides significant assistance, as well as airspace and transit privileges).
Meanwhile, Britain has kicked out the head of Mossad (the Israeli spy agency) for the usage of British passports in the Dubai assassination of Mahmoud Mabhouh. Citing what it said was considerable evidence of Israeli responsibility for the assassination (and, of course, the use of British passports…and French…and Australian), Foreign Minister David Miliband gave the head of Mossad the boot and cancelled an appearance at the Israeli embassy.
Miliband has also announced that Israeli actions are a “hazard for the safety of British nationals in the region” (perhaps echoing the Petraeus/Biden accusation that Israeli actions were endangering US troops in the region). Miliband went further too, saying that “[w]e recommend that you only hand your passport over to third parties including Israeli officials when absolutely necessary.” Paul Woodward notes that, because you need to give your passport to Israel to travel there (or Palestine), the announcement is implying that British nationals should stay away from Israel completely.
So, the Turkish ambassador to the US and the Mossad chief in Britain get to put their feet up for a while and British nationals are advised against going near Israel. Yikes.