Saturday, September 22, 2018

United States Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray Visits Lebanon

By U.S. Embassy Beirut | 21 September, 2018
Today, FBI Director Christopher Wray visited Lebanon to reaffirm the U.S. government's commitment to the Lebanese-American partnership. Director Wray, accompanied by Ambassador Elizabeth H. Richard, met with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, and Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, among other senior Lebanese officials. They discussed issues relating to the close law enforcement and security cooperation between the United States and Lebanon.
Lebanon is a key partner on law enforcement, including the fight against terrorism and the preservation of cultural heritage through preventing antiquities trafficking. Director Wray's visit highlights the importance that the United States places on its relationship with Lebanon, and our continued commitment to the security of both the United States and Lebanon.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Lieutenant General Michael Garrett’s Visit to Lebanon

By U.S. Embassy Beirut | 19 September, 2018, the Commander of United States Army Central, Lieutenant General Michael Garrett, met with the Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces, General Joseph Aoun, and visited the Air Assault Regiment, to discuss Lebanon's integration of 32 U.S.-provided Bradley Fighting Vehicles into its forces. The Bradley Fighting Vehicle is the most advanced combat system in Lebanon. The U.S. government is committed to the Lebanese-American partnership and support of the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as the sole defender of Lebanon.


Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Lebanon Travel Advisory September 4 2018

Reconsider travel Lebanon due to crime, terrorism, and armed conflict. Please read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • the border with Syria due to terrorism and armed conflict
  • the border with Israel due to the potential for armed conflict
  • refugee settlements due to the potential for armed conflict

U.S. citizens should reconsider or avoid travel to certain areas in Lebanon because of the threats of terrorism, armed clashes, kidnapping, and outbreaks of violence, especially near Lebanon's borders with Syria and Israel. U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should be aware of the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks.

U.S. citizens who choose to travel to Lebanon should be aware that consular officers from the U.S. Embassy are not always able to travel to assist them. The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. government personnel in Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. The internal security policies of the U.S. Embassy may be adjusted at any time and without advance notice.

Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Lebanon. The potential exists for death or injury in Lebanon because of the attacks and bombings perpetrated by terrorist groups. Terrorists may conduct attacks with little or no warning targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.

The Lebanese government cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. citizens against sudden outbreaks of violence. Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes can escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with no warning. Armed clashes have occurred along the Lebanese borders, in Beirut, and in refugee settlements. The Lebanese Armed Forces have been brought in to quell the violence in these situations.

Public demonstrations can occur with little warning and could become violent. You should avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings. Protesters have blocked major roads to gain publicity for their causes, including the primary road to the U.S. Embassy, and the primary road between downtown Beirut and Rafiq Hariri International Airport. Access to the airport may be cut off if the security situation deteriorates.

Kidnapping, whether for ransom, political motives, or family disputes, has occurred in Lebanon. Suspects in kidnappings may have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Lebanon:

  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the 2018 Crime and Safety Report for Lebanon.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler's Checklist.

Border with Syria

Since August 2014, deadly terror attacks have occurred in border towns along Lebanon's border with Syria, as have episodic clashes between the Lebanese Army and Syrian-based violent extremist groups. A 2017 Lebanese Army offensive expelled ISIS militants from territory along Lebanon's border with Syria. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Lebanese-Syrian border region. The U.S. Department of State also warns U.S. citizens of the risk of traveling on flights that fly over Syria, which include some flights to Beirut.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Border with Israel

There have been sporadic rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel in connection with the violence between Israel and Hizballah: the last reported incident was in 2014. The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to avoid this border area.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas

Refugee Settlements

The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to avoid travel to refugee settlements, where violence has resulted in shootings and explosions.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Remarks following the Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2433 Renewing the Mandate of UNIFIL

Rodney Hunter
Political Coordinator
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
August 30, 2018

AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Madam President. The United States is pleased to join consensus in support of the mandate renewal today. I also want to commend France for the cooperative spirit in which it led this process.

Maintaining peace and stability between Lebanon and Israel is of paramount importance.

The mandate makes clear that UNIFIL must have freedom of movement and access to the Blue Line.

The mandate also underscores the importance of the arms embargo included in Resolution 1701. With the support of Iran, Hizballah has grown its arsenal in Lebanon in direct threat to peace along the Blue Line and the stability of all of Lebanon. In support of the Taif Accords, the Security Council decided that all States shall prevent the sale or supply of arms in Lebanon to any entity other than the Government of Lebanon or UNIFIL. Twelve years later, it is unacceptable that Hizballah continues to flout this embargo, Lebanon's sovereignty, and the will of the majority of Lebanese people.

Another important component in this mandate is the language on the Maritime Taskforce. At the inception of the Taskforce, the Security Council failed to provide a clear transition strategy and goal for the Lebanese Navy to work towards eventually assuming responsibilities for the Taskforce. We have taken steps to correct this oversight and urge the international community to support the strengthening and expansion of Lebanese naval capabilities accordingly.

As we review missions against our Peacekeeping Principles, the United States will continue to work to ensure that UNIFIL remains an effective mission. We reiterate our commitment to supporting the stability and peace the people of Lebanon and Israel have long desired. Thank you, Madam President.

###


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Major General Michael Langley, USCENTCOM Director of Strategy, Plans, and Policy, Visits Lebanon

EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BEIRUT LEBANON
August 18, 2018
Media Notice
For Immediate Release

Major General Michael Langley, United States Central Command Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy, visited Lebanon from August 15 to 18. Major General Langley's is responsible for Foreign Military Sales programs for Lebanon, including the A-29 Super Tucanos, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and Cessna aircraft. While in Lebanon, Major General Langley met with the Lebanese Armed Forces Commander, General Joseph Aoun. Major General Langley attended a dinner in honor of Lebanese officers who recently attended training in the United States. He also visited a LAF Air Force base.
The U.S. government is committed to the Lebanese-American partnership and supports the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as the sole defender of Lebanon.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Notice Regarding the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Lebanon

On August 1, 2007, by Executive Order 13441, the President declared a national emergency with respect to Lebanon pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions of certain persons to undermine Lebanon's legitimate and democratically elected government or democratic institutions; to contribute to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Lebanon, including through politically motivated violence and intimidation; to reassert Syrian control or contribute to Syrian interference in Lebanon; or to infringe upon or undermine Lebanese sovereignty.  Such actions contribute to political and economic instability in that country and the region.

Certain ongoing activities, such as Iran's continuing arms transfers to Hizballah — which include increasingly sophisticated weapons systems — serve to undermine Lebanese sovereignty, contribute to political and economic instability in the region, and continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.  For this reason, the national emergency declared on August 1, 2007, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond August 1, 2018.  Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to Lebanon declared in Executive Order 13441.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
July 27, 2018.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sen. Cruz Introduces STOP Using Human Shields Act

LEADS BIPARTISAN BILL SANCTIONING THOSE ENGAGING IN AND SUPPORTING THE USE OF HUMAN SHIELDS

July 24, 2018

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202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today, joined by Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and David Perdue (R-Ga.), introduced the bipartisan STOP Using Human Shields Act. The bill imposes sanctions on those who use or facilitate the use of human shields, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and ISIS.

"America, Israel, and our other allies are engaged in a fight against radical Islamic terrorist organizations, from Hamas and Hezbollah to Al Qaeda and ISIS, who cynically use human shields against us," Sen. Cruz said. "Unfortunately, organizations like the United Nations incentivize this barbaric tactic by blaming civilized countries, who do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, for whatever civilian casualties that do occur. The United States should hold accountable the monsters who commit these war crimes. This bill will impose consequences on those who enable and facilitate the use of human shields."

Donnelly, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, "The use of human shields – including by terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah – is barbaric, illegal, and offensive to the most basic standards of human decency. I hope the Senate will soon consider this bipartisan legislation that I'm partnering on with Senator Cruz, because it would condemn this practice and impose sanctions on any individuals involved in such reprehensible activities."

"The bipartisan STOP Using Human Shields Act enables the United States to lead international counter-terrorism efforts to deter civilians being placed in harm's way by Hamas to conduct and conceal it campaign of war crimes against Israel. I have long supported strong sanctions to specifically target foreign terrorist organizations, from Hezbollah to Hamas, who are responsible for maiming and murdering Americans and our allies and partners," Sen. Blumenthal said.

"As groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah continue to put innocent lives in grave danger by using human shields, it is essential that action is taken to punish these organizations," Scott said. "We know these and many other terrorists have little regard for human life, and they need to be sent a strong message that the use of human shields will not be tolerated."

"Terrorist organizations like Hamas in Gaza continue their efforts to kill and terrorize innocent civilians while using human shields in the process showing their utter disregard for human life," Rubio said. "This bill is an important step in holding accountable those involved in this heinous practice." 

"Hamas and Hezbollah have no respect for human rights or innocent lives," said Senator Perdue, a member of the Armed Services Committee. "These terrorists have turned schools into arsenals, hospitals into targets, and are even using children and adults as human shields. Pure evil is the only way to describe these heinous actions, and this new sanctions category will give the United States Treasury Department another tool to cut off Hamas and Hezbollah from the global community."

The full bill text may be viewed here. The STOP Using Human Shields Act would:

  • Direct the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations to use the voice, vote, and influence of the U.S. to secure support for a UN Security Council resolution that would condemn the use of human shields as a violation of international law; impose multilateral sanctions against terrorist organizations for utilizing such tactics; and require member states to take specific steps to prevent the use of human shields from occurring.
  • Impose sanctions on each foreign person that is a member of a foreign terrorist organization, or each agency or instrumentality of a foreign state that the President has determined knowingly encouraged, supported, ordered, controlled, or has otherwise been complicit in any attempt to use civilians or protected property to deliberately cause casualties or shield lawful targets from attack.