The United States Senate has passed a bill, called the “Armenia Protection Act of 2023”, which seeks to suspend all military aid to Azerbaijan for the next 2 years over Azeri military action against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), and military threats against Armenia.
The bill will next head to the House of Representatives to attain house approval, where it will then head to the President to become law.
What does it do..?
Technically speaking, the US already prohibits military aid to Azerbaijan as a part of its 1992 “FREEDOM Support Act” (Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets Support Act). Section 907 of the act specifically prohibits Azerbaijan from participating in the act, which primarily sought to send aid to the various former-Soviet republics. Section 907 was specifically put into the act due to Azerbaijan’s blockade of Armenia during the first Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh war.
However, in 2001 the US Senate adopted an amendment to the act which gave the President the ability to waiver section 907, which they have since done. Meaning, although the act technically prohibited aid, the President was able to waive it and send aid anyways.
The “Armenian Protection Act” seeks to remove the ability of the US President to waive section 907 for the 2024 and 2025 fiscal years, which would effectively once again cut off US aid to Azerbaijan.
“The Admin already has the authority to cut off support – but as this conflict has unfolded, they have not taken public action. We must send a strong message that America will enforce conditions we attach to military aid” – Senator Gary Peters, the original sponsor of the bill.
Senator Peters headed the US Congressional Delegation that travelled to Armenia from September 22nd-25th of 2023, while evacuations of people from Artsakh were taking place.