Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ambassador Connelly Congratulates 360 Graduates from ISF Academy.

March 23, 2011
On March 23, 360 ISF officers from joint U.S./ Internal Security Forces (ISF) training programs and began using their acquired skills in service to the Lebanese public. This group included 245 newly trained police cadets and 115 ISF officers. This graduation ceremony marked the 22th class of cadets who have completed training since the inception of the U.S.-funded Basic Cadet Police Training Course at Warwar. It also marked the 6th graduation for ISF officers from the greatly expanded joint U.S. and ISF Community Policing training program. United States Ambassador Maura Connelly joined ISF Academy Director General Ibrahim Basbous in congratulating the graduates and presenting them with certificates for completing their training.

The 25 graduating police cadets were trained in a ten-week, state-of-the-art program, taught by U.S. and ISF instructors, with the assistance of Lebanese police and legal professionals, while the 135 Community Policing graduates were trained in a specialized eight-week, training course. The training focused on the latest policing and law enforcement skills and the application of these skills to specific law-enforcement situations. The curriculum includes modern police practices, understanding democratic policing and human rights, criminal investigation procedures and other essential law enforcement skills. ISF officers learn the latest policing, law enforcement and community relations skills and how to implement them effectively in real situations.

The U.S. Government has been supporting the ISF with training and equipment since 2007 through several assistance programs. These programs are part of the ongoing $116 million U.S. commitment to law enforcement in Lebanon, which helps the ISF to enforce the rule of law and protect the Lebanese people within their sovereign state. The professional development of the ISF is critical for Lebanon’s sovereignty and security. The U.S. Government is committed to supporting Lebanon, the ISF and the Lebanese people.

U.S. Ambassador Meets with Association of Bankers in Lebanon,Reiterates U.S. Position on Lebanese Banking Sector.

March 23, 2011
On March 23, 2011, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly met with the board of directors of the Association of Bankers in Lebanon (ABL). Ambassador Connelly reiterated to the ABL members that the recent action taken by the U.S. Treasury to designate the Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB) as a financial institution of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the Patriot Act came as a result of a long-term criminal investigation. She assured the ABL that action taken by the U.S. Treasury was not targeted against the Lebanese banking sector but was instead part of the U.S. Treasury’s global effort to protect the U.S. financial sector from illicit activities linked to international terrorism, narcotics trafficking and money laundering. Ambassador Connelly noted that the Treasury Department is working with the Lebanese Central Bank and other relevant Lebanese authorities to address the concerns brought up by the LCB case.

Friday, March 11, 2011

U.S. Trained Internal Security Forces Officers Graduate

March 11, 2011
Robert Gibson, the Deputy Director of the Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Programs at the US Embassy in Beirut, spoke at a graduation ceremony for 14 officers, who completed the 11th U.S.- Lebanese Supervision and Management Course, at the Internal Security Forces (ISF) Academy in Warwar.

The U.S. and Lebanese instruction teams have trained over 4500 ISF members in basic and advanced leadership courses since January 2008. The Supervisor and Management Course is an eight-week, state-of-the-art training program, taught by U.S. and Lebanese instructors and subject matter experts. Officers learn the latest technical and leadership skills and how to apply them in practical situations.

The current $116 million program strengthens the capacity of the ISF and is part of the overall U.S. security assistance program to Lebanon. This law enforcement assistance program supports the ISF to improve the enforcement of rule of law and protect the Lebanese people through training, provision of equipment, and facility modernization. The professional development of the ISF is critical for Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence and security.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Ambassador Connelly Meets Speaker Berri.

On March 7, 2011 U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly met with Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri at Ain al-Tineh. The Ambassador discussed with Speaker Berri the ongoing political developments in Lebanon. Ambassador Connelly reiterated the United States’ view that the international community will assess its relationship with the new government of Lebanon based on the make-up of the next cabinet, its Ministerial Statement and the actions it takes in regard to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and Lebanon’s other international obligations. Ambassador Connelly reiterated the U.S.’s continuing support for Lebanon’s sovereignty, stability, and prosperity, and called on the next Lebanese government to provide stability and promote justice for the people of Lebanon by honoring its international agreements.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Clinton still supports military aid to Lebanon

By Ben Birnbaum
The Washington Times
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that she supports continuing U.S. military aid to Lebanon even though its new prime minister is backed by the Islamist terrorist group Hezbollah.
“I believe still at this point that we should continue supporting the Lebanese armed forces,” Mrs. Clinton said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. “I know that’s been the subject of some debate here in the Congress.”
Mrs. Clinton said that although the Lebanese government has not yet formed, “once it is, we will review its composition, its policies and its behavior to determine the extent of Hezbollah’s politicial influence over it.”
She praised the Lebanese military as a “nonsecatrian institution” that “cooperates with the United Nations mission in the south, to try to keep the peace there.”
The United States has provided $720 million in aid to Lebanon's military since the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, whose armed forces control wide swaths of Lebanon’s Shi’ite-dominated south.
In August, Rep. Howard L. Berman, California Democrat, who then was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, froze funding to Lebanon's military, saying he wanted a policy review of its ties to Hezbollah.
The congressional chorus calling for an end to arming the Lebanese military intensified in January, when Hezbollah toppled the pro-Western government led by Saad Hariri and saw its handpicked nominee, Najib Mikati, win the premiership.
But Mrs. Clinton said ending aid to Lebanon's military would yield dire consequences.
“We worry that if the United States does not continue supporting the Lebanese armed forces, its capabilities will rapidly deteriorate, security in the south and along the border with Israel will be at risk,” she said.
She also stressed the United States’ strong “military-to-military ties with the Lebanese armed forces,” arguing that a similar relationship with the Egyptian military had paid dividends.