ANCA LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING:
Pro-Accountability Amendments to the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act
Should the Senate adopt amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act holding Azerbaijan accountable, by investigating its pattern of war crimes and stopping the flow of U.S. foreign assistance (including military aid) to its corrupt, oil-rich, and aggressively anti-Armenian Aliyev regime?
Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, enacted in 1992, bans most forms of assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan until it takes demonstrable steps to cease all blockades and other offensive uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.
— The White House, under both Democratic and Republican administrations has allocated more than $120,000,000 in U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan through Foreign Military Financing (FMF), International Military Education and Training (IMET), and Section 333 (Authority to Build Capacity) programs. This conduct plainly violates the spirit and letter of Section 907.
— As a candidate, President Biden called on the Trump Administration to fully enforce Section 907 – stating, on October 28, 2020, that “The [Trump] administration must fully implement and not waive requirements under section 907 of the Freedom Support Act to stop the flow of military equipment to Azerbaijan.”
— In a sharp reversal from his campaign position, President Biden waived enforcement of Section 907 on April 23, 2021 (one day prior to recognizing the Armenian Genocide) – allowed continued U.S. aid to Baku – despite Azerbaijan’s recent ethnically cleansing of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and ongoing invasion and occupation of Armenian territory.
— On July 28, 2021 the U.S. House adopted the Pallone amendment to the FY22 State-Foreign Operations Bill to prohibit FMF and IMET aid to Azerbaijan.
— On September 23, 2021, the U.S. House adopted the Pallone amendment to the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to require a State Department report on the human rights violations committed by units that have received Section 333 (Authority to Build Capacity) assistance.
— On September 23, 2021, the U.S. House adopted the Cardenas-Schiff amendment to the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act, which called for Azerbaijan’s immediate and unconditional release of illegally held and abused Armenian Prisoners of War, and required a State Department investigation into Azerbaijani war crimes – including Turkey’s recruitment of Syrian jihadist terrorists, Azerbaijan’s use of illegal cluster bomb and white phosphorous, and the discovery of U.S. parts in the Turkish killer drones deployed against Artsakh.
— In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan – materially aided and morally emboldened by U.S. military assistance – attacked and ethnically cleansed 100,000 Armenians from Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh).
— Multiple U.S. parts were discovered in the Turkish Bayraktar drones deployed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh.
— To this day, Azerbaijan continues to invade and occupy additional Armenian territory, illegally hold and abuse Armenian prisoners of war, desecrate Christian Armenian holy sites, and choke off water to Armenian families across Artsakh.
The U.S. Senate should adopt the following three amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act:
#1: Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has introduced an amendment (#4177) to the NDAA, H.R.4350, to prohibit the White House from exercising a statutory exemption waiver of Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.
As per Senator Menendez: “As the regime in Baku, with Turkey’s support, continues choosing a path of violence instead of a peaceful, negotiated process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is long past time for this and all future administrations to halt this type of assistance and fully respect Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act.”
#2: NDAA amendment (#4150), also introduced by Senator Bob Menendez, mandates that the State Department and Pentagon report on Turkish drone exports since 2018 and identify whether those drones contain parts or technology manufactured by U.S. firms. The amendment also requires State to determine whether Turkey’s exports are a violation of the Arms Export Control Act or any other U.S. law or sanctions. Turkish drones played a decisive role in last year’s war between Armenian and Azerbaijan.
As per Senator Menendez: “Turkey’s drone sales are dangerous, destabilizing and a threat to peace and human rights. The U.S. should have no part of it, and this amendment is a recognition that we must prevent U.S. parts from being included in these Turkish weapons.”
#3: In response to Azerbaijani war crimes during the 2020 Artsakh war, including the use of U.S. technology during the attacks; the use of white phosphorous, cluster bombs, and other prohibited munitions, and Turkey’s recruitment of foreign mercenaries to fight alongside Azerbaijani forces, Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced an amendment (#4251) to the NDAA mandating a joint State Department and Defense Department report on these violations.
— Now, more than ever, Congress must act in a bipartisan manner to enforce Section 907 and stop subsidizing Azerbaijan’s relentless aggression against Armenians.
— War crimes by Azerbaijan and its Turkish ally must be thoroughly investigated, and their leaders held accountable for their anti-Armenian aggression.
— Amid so many pressing needs across America, why are U.S. taxpayers being asked to subsidize the rogue, oil-rich, anti-Armenian petro-monarchy of Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev?
— In the wake of Azerbaijan’s unprovoked ethnic cleansing last fall of 100,000+ indigenous Armenians from Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) – and amid Azerbaijan’s invasion and occupation of Armenian territory – sending Aliyev more U.S. military aid will just embolden him to be even more aggressive.
— The more than $120,000,000 in military assistance the U.S. allocated for Azerbaijan materially aided and abetted Azerbaijan’s war crimes against Artsakh last September.
— The U.S. should not reward Azerbaijan for illegally deploying Turkish killer drones (containing U.S. parts) and Turkish-recruited jihadist mercenaries.
— The U.S. should not reward Azerbaijan’s illegal detention, abuse, and murder of Armenian prisoners of war, held illegally in contravention of the Third Geneva Convention and other international treaties.
— Sending U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan, a human rights abusing country, undermines our U.S. commitment to human rights as a core tenet of our foreign policy.
— The cost of green-lighting military aid to oil-rich Azerbaijan extends beyond the Caucasus – signaling the world’s most authoritarian regimes that the U.S. will compromise our core values if the price is right.