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Senate Votes 100-0 To End Aid to Azerbaijan As War Concerns Grow

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The Senate voted 100-0 to suspend assistance to Azerbaijan for the next two years, out of concern that the country may soon invade neighboring Armenia, in an uncommon display of broad bipartisanship.

Wednesday marked the unanimous approval of the Armenian Protection Act by all senators using unanimous consent. Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan) introduced the legislation, which prohibits President Joe Biden from granting a waiver to continue providing security assistance to Azerbaijan in fiscal years 2024 and 2025.

The passage of the measure occurred after the displacement of more than 100,000 Armenians from the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has been under continuous siege by Azerbaijan for over nine months. Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of engaging in ethnic cleansing.

“We must send a strong message and show our partners around the world that America will enforce the conditions that we attach to military aid,” Peters, who sits on the Armed Services Committee, said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “If we do not take action when countries willfully ignore the terms of our agreements with them, our agreements will become meaningless and toothless.”

In mid-October, Politico reported that Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed a select group of lawmakers that officials were monitoring the potential for Azerbaijan to launch an invasion against its neighbor in the coming weeks.

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President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan has previously urged Armenia to construct a “corridor” along its southern border, connecting the Azerbaijani mainland to an exclave that shares borders with Iran and Turkey. Amir Aliyev has issued a threat to resolve the matter “by force.”

The lawmakers pressed Blinken on potential measures against Aliyev in retaliation for his nation’s September invasion of the Nagorno-Karabakh region during a phone call on October 3, according to anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter.

Blinken replied that the State Department is considering ways to ensure accountability for Azerbaijan and has no intention of renewing a lengthy waiver that permits the United States to supply military aid to Baku.

“Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday before the Senate vote that the Biden administration does not intend to renew the waiver needed to provide security aid to Azerbaijan,” Defense News added. “The waiver is a longstanding point of contention between the State Department and the Congressional Armenian Caucus, which boasts more than 100 lawmakers.”

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Meanwhile, the migrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border under President Joe Biden has gotten even worse than it was before, hitting the highest single-day number of encounters at the border.

As reported by Fox News, multiple Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources told the outlet “that there were over 12,000 migrant encounters on Tuesday, adding that “over 10,200 of those were Border Patrol encounters of illegal immigrants coming between ports of entry.”

“That Border Patrol number is among the highest number of encounters ever recorded for the agency by itself but breaks a record when combined with the encounters by CBP’s Office of Field Operations at ports of entry,” the outlet noted further.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress can’t agree on a border package.

The GOP wants limits on admissions and parole after blaming President Joe Biden’s reversal of then-President Trump’s immigration and border enforcement policies for the current crisis. Democrats, meanwhile, say they will only agree to policy changes if they can get amnesty for all illegal migrants currently in the country. And the Biden administration is requesting $14 billion more for border operations in a supplemental measure.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is essentially just carrying out the White House’s policies, told CNN Wednesday that the administration is open to some GOP proposals but not others.

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