WASHINGTON, DC – Just hours after the Azerbaijani government launched a heavy artillery attack on Armenian military and civilian sites, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and leaders of the Congressional Armenian Caucus issued powerful rebukes against President Aliyev’s aggression and demanded an end to US military aid to the brutal dictator, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“The rapid Congressional condemnation of Azerbaijan’s attack on Armenia needs to be followed by the immediate cessation of all US arms and aid to oil-rich Azerbaijan’s corrupt and violent Aliyev regime,” stated ANCA executive director Aram Hamparian. “Today – more than ever – it’s clear that Azerbaijan deserves the harshest of sanctions, and not another US tax dollar.”
The ANCA has issued a nationwide call to action for President Biden and Congress to: 1) condemn Azerbaijan’s latest attack against Armenia; 2) zero-out all appropriations or authorizations of US aid to Azerbaijan; 3) enact statutory restrictions on US military aid to Baku; and 4) strike or significantly tighten the waiver provision of Section 907. Similar efforts have been launched by the network of ANC offices worldwide. The Hellenic American Leadership Council immediately posted a statement of solidarity with the ANCA against Azerbaijani aggression.
Senate and House leaders demanded clear US leadership and Azerbaijani accountability. “Deeply concerned by reports of Azerbaijani attacks on Armenian territory,” stated Chairman Menendez in a Tuesday evening tweet. “Shelling Armenian towns and innocent civilians is illegal & unacceptable. The world must stand up to authoritarian brutality. The US must end all security assistance to Azerbaijan now.”
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) concurred, noting, “Azerbaijan has reportedly shelled the homes of innocent civilians in Artsakh and is now attacking Armenia’s border. An egregious violation of the ceasefire and direct attack on Armenia’s sovereignty. The US must halt all assistance to Azerbaijan – immediately and permanently.”
Congressional Armenian Caucus co-chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) stated, “I strongly condemn Azerbaijan’s reckless military attack on southern Armenia. Aliyev must end his aggression immediately. The @StateDept and @SecBlinken must work with the @OSCE Minsk Group to secure peace in the region.”
Outraged by reports of heavy and coordinated Azeri artillery strikes on peaceful Armenian towns, Armenian Caucus co-chair Jackie Speier (D-CA), who is of Armenian heritage, explained: “To be clear: these are internationally recognized Armenian towns, NOT disputed territory. It’s unconscionable that the US continues to provide Aliyev w/military aid.”
Central Valley California Congressman David Valadao (R-CA), a Republican co-chair of the Armenian Caucus noted, “I strongly condemn this unprovoked attack on Armenia. The pattern of ongoing aggression from Azerbaijani forces is unacceptable and must end immediately.” Fellow Central California Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) demanded Azerbaijani accountability. “I condemn Azerbaijan’s unprovoked attack on Armenia. My heart goes out to the people of Armenia and I stand strong with them. Azerbaijan has been unwilling to comply with the peace process and we must hold them accountable,” stated Rep. Costa.
At about 12:05 a.m. on September 13, Azerbaijani forces launched a heavy artillery attack using mortars and drones on Armenian military and civilian infrastructure in Sotk, Vardenis, Goris, Kapan, Artanish, and Iskhanasar, located on Armenia’s eastern border with Azerbaijan. The number of casualties and wounded has not yet been confirmed. The attack is the largest on Armenian territory since the 2020 Turkey and Azerbaijan-led 44-day war against Artsakh and Armenia, which claimed over 5,000 Armenian lives.
While Congressional reaction decisively condemned Azerbaijani action, statements from US State Department stopped short of unequivocally condemning President Aliyev’s actions. “The United States is deeply concerned about reports of attacks along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, including reported strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructure inside Armenia. As we have long made clear, there can be no military solution to the conflict. We urge an end to any military hostilities immediately,” stated Secretary of State Antony Blinken.