Tuesday, September 29, 2009

LAF Officers Strengthen Capabilities Through U.S. Military Training

On September 24, members of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) who participated in the U.S. government’s International Military Education and Training program (IMET) gathered to celebrate the continued cooperation between the United States and the Lebanese Armed Forces.U.S. Ambassador Michele J. Sison congratulated the officers, noting that “the U.S. commitment to the LAF is not just an investment in machines and metal, but in people and their capabilities.”The United States has trained more than 500 members of the LAF since 2005. Training through the IMET program is a part of the U.S. government’s direct support for developing Lebanon’s military and security forces. IMET graduates are working to enhance the LAF’s support and service capabilities, focusing on supply, maintenance, ordnance and medical administration. The program also enhances the strong relationship between the U.S. military and the LAF.Since 2006, the United States has provided over $410 million in assistance to the LAF. The U.S. is committed to strengthening the capacity of the LAF as they defend Lebanon’s borders and safeguard the peace, unity and sovereignty of Lebanon.

Embassy Of The United States. Beirut. Lebanon - Press Release


THE WHITE HOUSE, Office of the Vice President, For Immediate Release September 28, 2009
Earlier today, Vice President Biden spoke with Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, underscoring the United States’ continuing support for Prime Minister-designate Hariri’s efforts to form a new cabinet in line with results of the parliamentary elections, which produced a clear majority for his parliamentary coalition. He also stressed the United States’ hope that the ongoing discussions over cabinet formation will proceed smoothly and that a new government will be in place to undertake its important work without delay. The Vice President highlighted the United States’ continued commitment to Lebanon, stressing the importance of Lebanon’s independence and sovereignty.

Monday, September 28, 2009


THE WHITE HOUSE, Office of the Vice President, For Immediate Release, September 28, 2009.
Earlier today, Vice President Biden spoke with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and conveyed the Administration’s firm support for Lebanon’s efforts to form a new government soon. The Vice President emphasized the United States’ continued support for Lebanon, stressing the importance of Lebanon’s independence and sovereignty. In his conversation with President Sleiman, Vice President Biden expressed his hope that the ongoing discussions over cabinet formation will proceed smoothly and that a new government will be in place to undertake its important work without delay. The Vice President thanked President Sleiman for his efforts and expressed support for his leadership.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

U.S. Trained Internal Security Forces Cadets and Officers Graduate

September 17, 2009 Ambassador Michele J. Sison celebrated the graduation of 265 cadets, who completed the U.S.- Lebanese Basic Cadet Course, and 25 officers, who completed the U.S.-Lebanese Supervision and Management Course, at the Internal Security Forces (ISF) Academy in Warwar.

The U.S. instruction team has trained over 1500 ISF members in basic and advanced police courses since January 2008. The cadet course is a ten-week, state-of-the-art training program, taught by U.S. instructors with the assistance of Lebanese police and legal professionals. Cadets learn the latest policing and law enforcement skills and how to apply these to on-the-job situations.

Mobile training by U.S. instructors and ISF officers is on-going. More than 1400 Mobile Force cadets will be trained in modern techniques over the next six months. This training uses video simulations, placing the cadets in realistic situations.

The $88 million U.S. assistance program to the ISF strengthens the professional capacity of the ISF and is part of the overall U.S. security assistance program to Lebanon. The law enforcement program assists the ISF to enforce the rule of law and protect the Lebanese people. The professional development of the ISF is critical for Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence and security

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

U.S. Government Supports Lebanon’s Judicial System

September 16, 2009 As a part of the U.S. Government’s program aimed at “Strengthening Judicial Independence and Citizen Access to Justice” in Lebanon, U.S. Judge Steven Swanson has spent the past several weeks conducting an assessment of the Lebanese legal aid system. Judge Swanson, who has 17 years of experience working in legal aid in the United States and abroad, has been evaluating policies for recruiting and assigning lawyers to cases, reviewing and analyzing Beirut Bar Association procedures, and studying training offered to legal aid lawyers. Judge Swanson’s resulting report will provide practical recommendations to the Ministry of Justice and the Bar Association to ensure greater access to justice, improved legal representation, and a sustainable structure for legal aid.

Judge Swanson’s visit is a part of a broader $8 million program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Implemented by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), this program supports the efforts of the Lebanese judiciary to strengthen judicial capacity and infrastructure, increase independence and transparency, improve legal training, and expand access to justice for all.

USAID and the NCSC have also begun a $750,000 project to rehabilitate the Beirut Executions Court. The project will finance the reconstruction and refurbishment of the Court, located in the Palace of Justice, and will provide information technology equipment and a modern case filing system at the Court.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

U.S. Sponsored Operating Rooms Open at the Central Military Hospital in Badaro

September 15, 2009
Today, Ambassador Michele J. Sison opened a new expansion to the Central Military Hospital operating and recovery rooms in Badaro. Ambassador Sison was joined by Mr. Mark Rumohr, Regional Deputy for the Middle East for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), and Lieutenant Colonel Todd Cyril, the Lebanon Desk Officer for the DSCA. The $242,000 expansion upgraded the existing operating rooms, added a fifth operating room, and enlarged the recovery room. These additions will enhance the hospital’s capacity and ability to provide quality care to Lebanese soldiers and their families.
Since 2006, the U.S. Government has committed over $410 million in assistance to Lebanon. The U.S. Embassy, through its Office of Defense Cooperation, provides humanitarian assistance to Lebanon and works closely with the Lebanese Armed Forces, providing training and equipment. The United States remains committed to supporting the government of Lebanon, its people and its institutions.

U.S. Government Provides Training in Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal to the Lebanese Armed Forces

September 15, 2009 Over the past two weeks, U.S. Navy personnel conducted diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training with soldiers from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Engineering Regiment. The LAF soldiers were trained on techniques to remove both underwater and land-based unexploded ordnance. The LAF Engineering Regiment EOD specialists and divers are now better trained to safely clear mines, unexploded ordnance, and improvised explosive devices throughout Lebanon. This EOD and diving training included classroom instruction and practical exercises.

The United States Government has contributed over $20 million for de-mining activities in south Lebanon since 2006. The U.S. also assists the de-mining and ordnance removal efforts carried out by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Lebanon Mine Action Center (LMAC).

The U.S. Government has expanded its humanitarian mine clearance program in Lebanon to reduce the dangers to civilians posed by landmines and other unexploded ordnance. The program focuses on de-mining, victim assistance programs and the removal of unexploded ordnance.


Saturday, September 12, 2009


September 11, 2009
Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) made the following statement today on the floor of the United States Senate to commemorate the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the situation in Lebanon:

“While all Americans take occasion today to commemorate the terrible attacks of 2001, each of us also has cause to reflect on some of the lessons our nation learned in the wake of 9/11. It’s often hard to think clearly about the days before those attacks, when the world seemed at once a safer and more distant place, and our country a superpower in a secure neighborhood. We saw before 9/11 that America had interests across the globe, and we believed that our actions must be motivated by the ideals that have made us great. Yet we also often assumed – wrongly – that the volatility that spilled across distant shores would never wash over ours; that instability and repression in remote and obscure places was cause for tragedy but not for alarm.

“We’ve learned a lot since that day. We’ve learned that history is often made in the very remote and obscure places that draw so little of our attention. We’ve learned that the degree of freedom and stability in other countries is connected to the security we enjoy at home. And we’ve learned that we must remain the authors of history, or face becoming its victims.

“Today I’d like to spend just a few moments discussing recent events in one of those places which, I’d bet, seems like a peripheral concern to most Americans. Few of us wake up in the morning scouring the papers for the latest news from Lebanon, or follow the ins and outs of politics in Beirut. Yet in recent days we’ve seen the portents of new political crisis in Lebanon and, while all of us must hope that it will be resolved easily and peacefully, we know from the history of that country that it very well may not be.

“Yesterday, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri stepped down, unable to form a national unity government some two and a half months after his election in June. After his moderate and relatively pro-Western party won the largest number of seats in the Lebanese parliament, Mr. Hariri proposed the formation of a broad based government that would even award a share of the cabinet posts to Hezbollah. Yet Hezbollah has been intent on thwarting these efforts to form a cabinet.

“Despite the fact that the Lebanese constitution confers on the President and Prime Minister the power to make cabinet appointments, and irrespective of Mr. Hariri’s repeated attempts to form a government, talks have broken down over the demand by a Hezbollah-allied party that it retain the Telecommunications Ministry. This may appear to be a small and insignificant point of contention, and surely not one that would prompt an incoming Prime Minister to abandon his post, until we consider that Hezbollah badly wants to retain control over telecommunications and surveillance in Lebanon.

“Hezbollah, of course, not only possesses a surveillance capacity and an independent communications and broadcasting system, but also retains vast weaponry befitting its status as an independent militia. Along with its Syrian and Iranian sponsors, Hezbollah continues to both exert influence outside the constitutional process and invite foreign meddling in Lebanese affairs.

“I believe that the United States should take a strong stand in favor of respecting the outcome of the June democratic elections, and urge the parties in Lebanon to form a government in a manner that respects the constitutional process. Over the longer term, it is abundantly clear that there can be no durable peace in Lebanon – nor any long term stability in the political process there – as long as Hezbollah continues to act freely as an armed, independent militia. According to some reports, Hezbollah remains today the best armed force in the country – better armed, indeed, than even the Lebanese Armed Forces. Such a situation invites further fighting at some point between Hezbollah and Israel and suggests that Hezbollah will continue to use its military power to induce cooperation with its demands at home. Sooner or later, one way or another, and as the United Nations Security Council has demanded, Hezbollah must be disarmed.

“We should also make perfectly clear to Syria that better ties with the United States will require an end to its malign interference in its neighbor’s affairs. The Administration has made a major effort this year to reach out Syria, sending a number of delegations to Damascus and making clear that better ties with the United States are possible if Syria changes its ways. Yet we should recall that it has been just four years since Mr. Hariri emerged onto the political stage after his father, Rafik Hariri, was murdered in a bombing. Reports indicate that suicide bombers continue to cross the Syrian border into Iraq. And Syria maintains its hostility to Israel and its close ties to the government of Iran. We must be clear that there must be real change on these issues in order for Syria to enjoy significantly warmer relations with the United States.

“Some Americans might reasonably ask why. Why should we care about the freedom and democratic aspirations of the Lebanese people? What matter is it of ours? Don’t we have enough problems here at home, without spending our time and attention on the affairs of a small country far from our shores?

“In answering this, I’d return to the theme with which I set out these brief remarks. We have learned since the attacks of 9/11 that instability in such places is not often confined to its borders. In lands where repression and despair are rife, intolerance and extremism grows in the hearts of some – and violence in the minds of a few. In Lebanon, as in so many other places around the world, the population aspires to something better than to be pulled from side to side by a thuggish and cruel militia. The vast majority of the Lebanese people want only that which we here in America desire – the freedom and security to build, through their talents and industry, a better life for themselves and their children. As Americans, we must demonstrate that we stand beside them in this hope. As we commemorate today the terrible acts of a small group dedicated to extinguishing this very ideal throughout the world, we should, I believe, rededicate ourselves and our policies to advancing this noble goal.”