U.S. Representatives are leading the charge to block U.S. arms and aid to Azerbaijan, as part of a series of eight pro-Artsakh/Armenia amendments to the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.4350) filed this week, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). Other amendments demand Azerbaijan’s immediate release of Armenian POWs; call for an investigation of the use of U.S. technology in Turkish drones used against Artsakh and Armenia; explore ways to expand U.S. aid to Artsakh; and, designate Turkey’s “Grey Wolves” as a terrorist group.
The ANCA is leading a nationwide grassroots effort to secure cosponsors for each of the amendments, which are set to be considered by the House Rules Committee as early as Monday, September 20th. The full U.S. House will have the opportunity to vote on each of the amendments ruled “in order” during consideration of H.R.4350. Amendments with strong, bipartisan backing are generally considered more favorably by Rules Committee members.
“We thank Representatives Cardenas, Pallone, Schiff, Sherman, Speier, Titus, and Valadao for offering their Congressional colleagues a long-overdue opportunity for an up-or-down vote on zeroing out all U.S. military aid to oil-rich Azerbaijan and other key pro-peace initiatives,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “In the wake of Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing last year of 100,000+ indigenous Armenians from Artsakh – amid Aliyev’s ongoing invasion and occupation of Armenian territory – the Congress must act in a bipartisan manner to hold both Azerbaijan and Turkey accountable for their violent anti-Armenian aggression.”
A brief overview of each of the eight amendments is presented below along with their lead sponsors, listed as numbered by the House Rules Committee:
Amendment #52 – Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA): Blocks Federal funds from being obligated or expended to provide any United States military or security assistance or cooperation to the defense or security forces of the Government of Azerbaijan.
Amendment #90 – Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA): Prohibits the transfer of United States security assistance to the Government of Azerbaijan.
Amendment #122 – Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ): Withholds U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan through the Section 333 Building Partner Capacity Program.
Amendment #123 – Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ): Requires a report from the Secretary of Defense, in collaboration with the Secretary of State, addressing allegations that some units of foreign countries that have participated in security cooperation programs under section 333 of title 10, U.S.C. may have also committed gross violations of internationally recognized human rights before or while receiving U.S. security assistance. This report would also includes recommendations to improve human rights training and additional measures that can be adopted to prevent these types of violations.
Amendment #408 – Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) / Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA): Requires a report within 180 days of all US humanitarian and developmental assistance programs in Nagorno Karabakh, including an analysis of the effectiveness of such programs and any plans for future assistance.
Amendment #560 – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) / Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA): Expresses the Sense of Congress that the government of Azerbaijan should immediately return all Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians. It also urges the Administration to engage with Azerbaijani authorities, including through the OSCE Minsk Group, to make clear the importance of adhering to their obligations under the November 9 statement and international law to immediately release all prisoners of war and captured civilians.
Amendment #579 – Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV): Requires a report by the Secretary of State on the activities of the Grey Wolves organization (AKA Bozkurtlar & Ülkü Ocaklari) undertaken against U.S. interests, allies, and international partners, including a review of the criteria met for designation as a foreign terrorist organization.
Amendment #586 – Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA): Requires a report from the Secretary of Defense on U.S. parts found in Turkish Bayraktar drones deployed by Azerbaijan against Nagorno Karabakh and an assessment of potential violations of Arms Export Control Act.