From 2018 to 2019, the US Gave Azerbaijan $100 Million in Military Aid
Dave DeCamp / AntiWar.com
(October 6, 2020) — A growing number of Democrats in Congress are calling for the Trump administration to suspend military aid to Azerbaijan, as fighting between Azeri and Armenian forces continues in the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
President Trump presided over a major increase in security aid to Azerbaijan. From 2016 to 2017, the Azeris received $3 million in aid from the US. From 2018 to 2019, the number increased to around $100 million. The US maintains its neutrality in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but it delivers a disproportionate amount of security assistance to the Azeri side. Armenia received $4.2 million in security aid from the US in 2018.
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and ten other Senate Democrats called for the suspension of aid to Azerbaijan. The Democrats blamed Azerbaijan for instigating the fighting and criticized Turkey for supporting the Azeris.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, said he had been warning the administration for months over the possibility of a war breaking out in Nagorno-Karabakh, citing joint Azeri-Turkish military drills and the rhetoric coming from Baku.
Rep. Pallone also questioned the administration on the increase in military aid to Azerbaijan and warned it could be used against Armenia. “If you give them $100 million to pay for things, that’s $100 million extra for things that could be used against Armenia,” Pallone told Defense News. “The concern we had, that was justified, was that you had this money going toward military purposes at the very time we knew there was this [military buildup].”
Azerbaijan Is Using Israeli-Made Cluster Bombs in Nagorno-Karabakh
Amnesty International Says the Bombs Have Been Used on Residential Areas
(October 6, 2020) — Amnesty International said on Tuesday that Israeli-made cluster bombs are being used against civilians by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azeri and Armenian forces have been locked in deadly clashes in the disputed region since fighting erupted on September 27th.
Amnesty International analyzed footage from Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital Stepanakert, a city Armenia accused Azerbaijan of shelling on Monday. The rights group identified Israeli-made M095 DPICM cluster munitions and said Azeri forces “appear” to have fired the bombs towards residential areas in the city.
Cluster bombs are a form of explosive that release and scatter smaller submunitions. The weapon’s indiscriminate nature makes it extra deadly if dropped in residential areas. Some smaller munitions can be left unexploded, making them a hazard for civilians who come across them.
“The use of cluster bombs in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law, so their use to attack civilian areas is particularly dangerous and will only lead to further deaths and injuries,” Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty’s acting head of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said in a statement.
Over 100 countries have signed a convention banning the use of cluster munitions, but neither Azerbaijan, Israel, or Armenia are signatories. Israel is estimated to provide Azerbaijan with about 60 percent of its weapons. An Azeri official said last week that Azerbaijan is using Israeli-made attack drones in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Dave DeCamp is the assistant news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave. Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.