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Azerbaijan has advantage over Armenia in US military aid

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Azerbaijan has gotten $20 million in military aid from the US Department of Defense over the last ten years, while Armenia has gotten nearly nothing, a review of US government documents shows, Joshua Kucera, a freelance writer and journalist specializing in foreign affairs and international relations, wrote in his article on website.

Although the US Department of State for the most part observes a policy of "parity" in aid to the two countries, the Department of Defense has been less cautious in maintaining a balance, Kucera wrote.

"Baku has benefited in particular from two Pentagon aid programs, known as Section 1004 and Section 1206, which are subject to less Congressional oversight and less stringent public reporting requirements," he wrote.

Azerbaijan has gotten $8.5 million since 2005 in funding from Section 1004, which provides counternarcotics assistance, and $11.5 million from Section 1206, which provides counterterrorism aid, the article said.

Armenia, by contrast, has gotten just $41,000 in Section 1004 funding and no Section 1206 money, according to data collected by the Washington Security Assistance Monitor advocacy group, which maintains a database of the various US military assistance programs, according to the article.

Much of the money for Azerbaijan has been targeted toward naval forces because of the US's interest in protecting Caspian energy infrastructure, the author wrote.

The U.S. forces have focused particularly on Azerbaijan's 641st Special Warfare Naval Unit with a curriculum that has included "Diving and Floating Mine Response,” he wrote.

Last month's flare-up in fighting on the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops has revived debate about US military aid in the region, according to the article.

U.S. law, in particular another "Section" -- 907 -- has restricted U.S. aid to Azerbaijan since 1992, but since 2001 those restrictions have been waived every year. The most recent waiver was issued April 21, when the State Department affirmed that U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, Kucera wrote.

“In the wake of the fighting there have been calls to fix Section 907; Armenian lobby groups have called for the U.S. to suspend all aid to Azerbaijan, while Azerbaijan has said the restrictions should be removed altogether.

"Section 907 was adopted against Azerbaijan in 1992 under the Armenian lobby's pressure and it should be abolished," said senior presidential adviser Ali Hasanov earlier this month”, said the article.

2016.05.19 / 13:03
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