House Members Introduce Amendments to Exclude U.S. Military Aid to Azerbaijan in 2022 NDAA

WASHINGTON, DC – Senior members of the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced amendments to the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act – NDAA (H.R.4350) excluding U.S. military aid to Azerbaijan.

Amendment #52 to H.R. 4350, sponsored by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), stipulates that “no Federal funds may be 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 to H.R. 4350, sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), stipulates that “None of the amounts authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available to the Department of Defense may be made available to provide any United States military or security assistance or cooperation to the defense or security forces of the Government of Azerbaijan.”

Amendment #122 to H.R. 4350, sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), stipulates that “None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2022 to carry out the authority of section 333 of title 10, United States Code, be made available for assistance for Azerbaijan.”

Amendment #123 to H.R. 4350, sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (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 include recommendations to improve human rights training and additional measures that can be adopted to prevent these types of violations.”

Amendment #560 to H.R. 4350 sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), expresses the “Sense of Congress on Azerbaijan’s illegal detention of Armenian prisoners of war.” It also states that the government of Azerbaijan should immediately return all Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians and 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 to H.R. 4350 sponsored by 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 to H.R. 4350 sponsored by Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Schif (D-CA), creates a report on Azerbaijan’s activities in Nagorno Karabakh in 2020 to be submitted to the relevant congressional committees by the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Secretary of State.

Amendment #696 to H.R. 4350 sponsored by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), requires the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to submit to the congressional defense committees a report on Azerbaijan.

Given last year’s 44-day war launched by Azerbaijan, which resulted in war-crimes towards the peaceful civilian population of Artsakh (some brutally beheaded according to Human Rights Watch) and a death toll of over 4,000 Armenian soldiers, and over 100,000 Armenians forcibly displaced from their homes, the destruction of vital infrastructure including schools and hospitals, the deliberate destruction of Armenian cultural and religious heritage sites, and the continued unlawful imprisonment of Armenian POWs by Azerbaijan,  the Armenian Council of America wholeheartedly supports the above mentioned amendments to not only hold Azerbaijan accountable, but to further investigate Azerbaijan’s gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.

The House Rules Committee is likely to meet the week of September 20 to decide which amendments will be considered “in order,” paving the way for full U.S. House consideration later that week.

The following are the Rules Committee Members who will consider the amendments:

Armenian Council of America is committed to promote the civic and civil rights interests of the Armenian American community. ACA also aims to strengthen U.S. – Armenia and U.S. – Artsakh ties, the development of programs promoting sustainable economic growth and good governance in Armenia, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship.