Sunday, March 18, 2018

Conference in Support of the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces

Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Washington, DC
March 15, 2018

The United States today renewed its support for two of Lebanon's vital national institutions, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Internal Security Forces (ISF), in Rome at the conference in support of Lebanese state security services. U.S. delegate and Senior Bureau Official for Near Eastern Affairs, Ambassador David Satterfield, underscored that the LAF and ISF "are critical to Lebanese security and stability, and ultimately, to the survival of a stable, democratic, and prosperous Lebanon."

The United States has provided nearly $1.7 billion to the LAF and over $160 million to the ISF since 2006. U.S. assistance for Lebanon's security services helps advance our shared goals in the region, enabling the Lebanese government to provide civilian security and assert its authority throughout all of Lebanese territory.

In 2017, the United States provided over $250 million in security assistance to Lebanon, including $121 million in Foreign Military Financing. During the conference, Ambassador Satterfield announced part of the FY 2017 funds will be used to provide the LAF with three additional transportation helicopters, valued at $30 million, as well as a new $9 million investment in ISF training and facilities, subject to Congressional approval.

Examples of recent and upcoming U.S. support for Lebanese security services includes:

  • In August 2017, the LAF expelled the last remaining pockets of ISIS and al-Qa'ida from Lebanon using U.S.-provided systems and munitions, including 155mm Howitzers, M113 APCs, Huey helicopters, Cessna Caravans, Scan Eagle reconnaissance aircraft, and precision-guided munitions including Copperheads, Hellfires, and TOW missiles.
  • This year, the United States will complete the delivery of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and 32 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, which are part of $340 million in assistance to improve the LAF's strike capability in the air and to build its modern, mechanized maneuver capability on the ground.
  • Through International Military Education and Training (IMET), 946 members of the LAF (to include 86 in FY 2017) will have received U.S.-instructed training, which has increased professionalization, enhanced U.S. joint interoperability, and strengthened our enduring military-to-military relationship.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Zeldin, Budd Introduce Legislation to Designate Hezbollah as Transnational Criminal Organization Funded by Drug Trafficking & Money Laundering

February 28, 2018 Press Release
WASHINGTON - Representatives Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) and Ted Budd (R, NC-13) introduced the Hezbollah Kingpin Designation Act (H.R. 5035), which designates Hezbollah as a Transnational Criminal Organization based on its international drug trafficking and global money laundering, which allows the U.S. Treasury Department to more aggressively target Hezbollah's finances.  

In December, a POLITICO investigation revealed Hezbollah's robust narcotics operation as detailed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Project Cassandra, which, since 2008, has been investigating Hezbollah's funding.

"On the international stage, this legislation finally calls Hezbollah for what it is - a transnational criminal organization, one that for decades has funded their radical terrorist group by profiteering on money laundering, drug trafficking and other nefarious activities," said Congressman Zeldin. "This legislation that I have introduced with Congressman Ted Budd puts Hezbollah and all those who do business with them on notice. The United States will no longer stand idly by as Hezbollah pumps drugs onto our streets. We will root out Hezbollah's complicit accomplices and topple their financial support network around the world."

"Hezbollah is a known supplier of cocaine into the United States. While they claim to be a morally upright political organization in their home country, the reality is they are nothing more than drug smugglers and transnational criminals," said Congressman Budd. "The Budd-Zeldin legislation takes important steps to acknowledge Hezbollah for what they really are-- a terrorist organization. I urge the president to use our bill as a tool to crack down on Hezbollah's illicit drug trade."