Friday, August 29, 2014

Lebanon asks, and America delivers.

August 29, 2014
Today American Ambassador David Hale presided over the delivery of a shipment of U.S. military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) at the Beirut Airbase. Brigadier General Manuel Kerejian represented LAF Commander General Jean Kahwagi. Below are Ambassador Hale's remarks from the event.
Lebanon asks, and America delivers.
Support for the Lebanese Army and Lebanon's other security services is a top priority for the United States.
On August 2, extremists attacked in Arsal. On August 3, I met with General Kahwagi and asked what America could do to help. After coordinating with Prime Minister Salam, Defense Minister Moqbil and other leaders, we acted. We moved to supply the Army with the weapons and the ammunition it asked for and that it needs to secure Lebanon's borders and defeat these extremist groups that threaten Lebanon's security.
Two weeks ago, I informed the Prime Minister and Defense Minister that the American response would begin within weeks.
And we kept that promise. This is just the latest in a series of deliveries that have arrived in the last 36 hours. Yesterday: 480 anti-tank guided missiles, more than 500 M16-A4 rifles, and many mortars. Today: one thousand M16-A4 rifles. Soon, more mortars, grenade launchers, machine guns, and anti-tank weapons will be arriving.
And over the coming weeks, more ammunition and more heavy weaponry will be delivered from the United States to the Army. The Embassy will not be making press statements after every shipment arrives, but I can assure you deliveries will be constant, just as our partnership with Lebanon has been constant over the years.
This weaponry and ordnance is paid for by the American people.
My team and I are working very closely with the Army – on a daily basis – to ensure that we deliver exactly what the Army urgently needs.
To those who say American assistance to the Army is not sophisticated enough, my answer is: go ask a soldier in Arsal, or at Rayak, or at the HQ in Yarze, or at the countless other places where the Army works to keep all Lebanese safe and secure. The answer you will get from that soldier is that he needs exactly what we are providing today and in the weeks to come.
We are also discussing with the Army how to meet additional needs, and I will have more to say about that soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Statement by Ambassador David Hale following his meeting with President of the Chamber of Deputies Nabih Berri

August 26, 2014
Media Notice
For Immediate Release
Good morning, I just left a productive meeting with the President of the Chamber of Deputies, and speaking on behalf of the United States government, I want to express our full confidence in the Lebanese government and its security institutions as they face the challenges spilling over from the conflict in Syria.  There is no doubt that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other extremist groups seek to sow division and chaos in the region, and this poses a threat to Lebanon.
This is the extremists' strategy because only amidst chaos do they have a chance to succeed.  The obvious answer to that threat is order, determination, and unity:  unity within Lebanon, and unity with Lebanon's friends such as the United States.  That was my message to Speaker Berri today.  America stands united with Lebanon to counter extremism and promote moderation.
But without a president, the full unity needed to meet Lebanon's challenges is missing.  The president is the symbol of the unity of the country.  When that key position is empty, Lebanon itself is weaker, and therefore Lebanon's friends are weaker.  Extremists can only gain as a result.  The process and choice of a president is for only the Lebanese, but Lebanon's leaders must swiftly create the conditions to elect a president, for the sake of Lebanon's unity and stability. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Congressman Darrell Issa Visits Lebanon

August 19, 2014
Media Notice
For Immediate Release
Congressman Darrell Issa visited Lebanon yesterday to discuss a number of local and regional issues and show support for the strong U.S- Lebanese partnership.  Congressman Issa and Ambassador Hale met with a number of political leaders, such as former president Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.  Following his meeting with Prime Minister Salam, Congressman Issa highlighted that the United States is "dedicated to ensuring that the Lebanese Armed Forces has all the tools it needs in order to preserve the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon."  Congressman Issa affirmed continued U.S. support for Lebanon's security institutions and coordination with regional allies to meet the training and equipment needs of Lebanon's security services. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Remarks by Ambassador Hale on U.S. Assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces

August 14, 2014
It was just over a week ago that militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the Nusra Front attacked the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF) in the vicinity of Arsal, killing soldiers and innocent residents, kidnapping security personnel, and forcing many families to flee the area. Though the violence has stopped thanks to the efforts of the LAF, the threat to Arsal and all of Lebanon posed by violent extremists persists.
The United States has always stood in support of Lebanon's security and stability. We agree with Lebanon's leaders that the state, through the LAF, must be capable of safeguarding Lebanon from the potential acts of terror and violence these groups bring.
The LAF and other state security institutions have the sole legitimacy to defend Lebanese territory, because they alone are accountable to all the Lebanese people. And in Arsal, they demonstrated the will and the capacity to do precisely that – defend the Lebanese. But help is needed.
In response to the LAF's request for emergency assistance to protect Lebanon and all Lebanese from these threats, I have just informed Prime Minister Salam and Defense Minister Moqbil, and am pleased to announce, that the United States will soon deliver additional munitions and ordnance for offensive and defensive combat operations by the LAF. This assistance will enhance the LAF's ability to secure Lebanon's borders, protect Lebanon's people, and fight these violent extremist groups. U.S. military assistance will begin arriving in the next few weeks and continue in the months to follow.
In addition, we are in intensive consultations with the Lebanese government and our partners about how to best respond to additional needs of the LAF.
Our deliveries are part of a long-standing U.S.-Lebanese military partnership; U.S. assistance has exceeded $1 billion since 2006. Since just last October, the United States has provided more than $120 million worth of training and equipment to the LAF to strengthen its role as the sole legitimate defender of Lebanon's sovereignty. We will add to that number in the coming months, providing urgent assistance as well as long-term capabilities that will enable the Government of Lebanon to implement UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701.
We are proud to be a strong partner of the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces. And we continue to stand with Lebanon and with the LAF and ISF as they protect the country from the spillover of violence from Syria.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Remarks by Ambassador Hale following his Meeting with Prime Minister Salam

August 5, 2014
I just met with Prime Minister Salam.  The United States has been following the situation in Arsal very closely.  The Prime Minister just briefed me on the latest there, and I saw General Kahwagi on Sunday morning as well.  Throughout and this morning I reiterated United States support for the LAF and all of Lebanon's security services in their work to secure Lebanon's borders, protect Lebanon from terrorism, and insulate Lebanon from regional conflicts through the dissociation policy.  The United States commends the bravery of the members of Lebanon's security services and particularly the Army as they confront these unprecedented threats.  They have all of our confidence and sympathy.
Obviously, condemnations and moral support, while important, are not enough.  Our assistance program with the LAF is longstanding, ongoing, and is helping the LAF to meet this challenge.  We are in close consultation with our partners in the LAF.  We are committed to further efforts to build up the capabilities of the Lebanese security forces to counter terrorism and address other challenges.  Lebanon can count on continued American support for the Lebanese Army.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Ambassador Hale Meets with General Kahwagi

August 3, 2014
Today American Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale met with Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Commander Jean Kahwagi. Ambassador Hale expressed his condolences for the death of nine soldiers in clashes against armed gunmen in Arsal and praised the courage of members of all of Lebanon's security services in their work to provide safety and stability throughout the country, and to secure its borders. Ambassador Hale expressed American solidarity with the LAF and encouraged all parties to work to insulate Lebanon from regional conflicts. In their discussion of the security situation in Lebanon, Ambassador Hale reiterated American support for the dissociation policy and reaffirmed continued support for Lebanon's security services in this mission.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Terrorist Attack on the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 2, 2014
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The United States strongly condemns the al Nusra Front's attack today on the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in Arsal, where reportedly at least seven soldiers were killed and some Internal Security Forces (ISF) members were briefly held hostage. We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims' families and wish a full recovery to those who were wounded.
As the violence spills over to Syria's neighbors, including from violent extremists, we urge all parties in Lebanon to respect the Lebanese government's policy of dissociation from regional conflicts, as stated in the Baabda Declaration.
The United States is committed to Lebanon's security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. We will continue our strong support for Lebanon's state institutions, including the LAF and the ISF, as they work to preserve and protect a stable, sovereign, and secure Lebanon.