Baku, Azerbaijan, May 18
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 EurasiaNet.org 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.
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.
On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.
The US Department of State affirmed that it is necessary to support the country's efforts to counter international terrorism, which is important to Azerbaijan's border security, the author wrote.
Moreover, the US Department of State will not undermine or hamper ongoing efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the article said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.