Thursday, May 30, 2019

U.S. Security Cooperation With Lebanon


The United States and Lebanon share the goal of building the Lebanese Armed Forces' (LAF) capacity as the sole legitimate defender of Lebanon's sovereignty. Lebanon's state security institutions, particularly the LAF, have historically served as pillars of stability in a country facing extraordinary challenges.

U.S. assistance for the LAF is a key component of our policy to reinforce Lebanon's sovereignty and secure its borders, counter internal threats, and build up its legitimate state institutions. Additionally, U.S. security assistance supports implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559, 1680, and 1701, and promotes the LAF's ability to extend full governmental control throughout the country in conjunction with the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

  • The United States is Lebanon's top security partner and, since 2006, our more than $1.7 billion investment in the LAF has paid significant dividends for U.S. interests in the Middle East. Over the last 12 months, the LAF has defeated ISIS in Lebanon, reasserted control over Lebanese territory along its border with Syria, and increased its presence in southern Lebanon in support of UNIFIL.
  • In FY 2017, the United States provided over $235 million in combined Department of State and Department of Defense (DoD) security assistance. This includes $121 million in Foreign Military Financing and $2.75 million in International Military Education and Training (IMET) and $112 million in DoD-authorized funding.
  • Since 2006, Lebanon has received $25 million in IMET support, which has funded U.S.-instructed training for over 946 members of the LAF, including 110 members in CY 2017. IMET provides professional military education and training to military students to increase professionalism, enhance interoperability, and grow lasting military-to-military relationships.
  • Since the August 2014 attack in Arsal by ISIS and the Al Nusra Front, the United States has supported the LAF with munitions, weapons, and equipment to help the LAF keep the country's borders secure and conduct counterterrorism operations. The Departments of State and Defense continue to work closely to support the provision of training and equipment that Lebanon needs, including fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, vehicles, arms, and munitions. We applaud the LAF for its resolve in confronting violent extremists and will support its ongoing efforts as it combats this shared threat and protects the Lebanese people.
  • To mitigate the risk of unauthorized transfer or use of U.S. technology and equipment, the United States conducts end-use monitoring (EUM) of its security assistance programs around the world, including in Lebanon. EUM is used to verify the end-use, accountability, and security of defense articles, services, and training provided under Foreign Military Sales and other grant-based assistance programs, from delivery through use to their eventual disposal. In Lebanon, the LAF continues to successfully coordinate with the U.S. government to ensure compliance with all its security requirements and remains a valued partner in the fight against ISIS and other violent extremists.
  • Lebanon also receives assistance through Department of Defense authorities, which further bolster partner nation militaries' counter-terrorism and border-protection capabilities. These authorities include, among others, "Building Partner Capacity" funding and assistance specific to border security operations. Congress has legislated critical State Department coordination, concurrence, and joint planning and development roles in these authorities.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

AFCENT Commander Visits Lebanon

Home | News & Events | AFCENT Commander Visits Lebanon
On May 27-28, 2019, the Commander of United States Air Force Central Command Lieutenant General Joseph Guastella met with Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces General Joseph Aoun, as well as key leaders in the LAF Air Force, while visiting Hamat Air Base and Beirut Air Base.

In his meetings, General Guastella discussed the many challenges faced by the Lebanese Armed Forces Air Force and reaffirmed the U.S. government's commitment to strengthening the Lebanese-American partnership and its support to the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as the sole, legitimate defender of Lebanon

Monday, May 27, 2019


For Immediate Release

May 26, 2019



Beirut, Lebanon—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today concluded an official visit to Lebanon. In Beirut, Chairman Engel met with senior Lebanese government officials including President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and a number of Lebanese lawmakers. He discussed the importance of the U.S.-Lebanese relationship and the role the United States can play in working to strengthen Lebanese institutions. He underscored the gravity of the Iranian threat and the importance of not allowing Iran or its proxies, particularly Hezbollah, to strengthen their position in the region. He heard from leaders about the challenges stemming from the ongoing war in Syria, including the refugee crisis, and offered views that a political solution would foster the conditions for a safe, dignified, and voluntary return home.


Chairman Engel also met with Lebanese military officials and American servicemembers posted in Lebanon. He visited several Lebanese military installations including a position near the border with Syria. He expressed his hope for close ongoing security cooperation to help the Lebanese improve border security.


Additionally, Chairman Engel met with representatives of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and heard directly from Syrian and Iraqi refugees about their plight and long-term aspirations. He committed to continue pushing for assistance to ease the burden on refugees in Lebanon and elsewhere.


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Sunday, May 26, 2019

House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Visit to Lebanon

May 26, 2019

Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HFAC), led a Congressional delegation visit to Lebanon on May 24-26. During the visit, the delegation met with President Aoun, Speaker Berri, President of the Council of Ministers Hariri, Foreign Minister Bassil, Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces General Joseph Aoun, and other officials.

Representative Engel held positive and constructive discussions with Lebanese officials based on the depth of the relationship between the Lebanese and American people. He reinforced the United States' commitment to Lebanon's security, stability, and prosperity.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

U.S.-Lebanon Joint Military Commission (JMC)

News Release
Press Operations
Release No: NR-124-19
May 17 2019

Senior delegations from the United States and Lebanon met May 16-17 in Washington, D.C. for the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Lebanon Joint Military Commission (JMC).  

The JMC is the premier bilateral forum for senior U.S. and Lebanese government and military officials to discuss ongoing security assistance and military cooperation, as well as develop plans for our robust security partnership.

The delegations discussed a broad range of diplomatic and security challenges throughout the region, including the crisis in Syria and ways to continue combatting violent extremism.

"Lebanon is a critical partner for security in the Middle East," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Kathryn Wheelbarger.  "These discussions have been productive and build on an already robust partnership."

The United States and Lebanon remain committed to a strong bilateral relationship built on common interests and mutual respect.  

The U.S. delegation was led by Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Kathryn Wheelbarger.  The Lebanese delegation was led by Chief of Defense General Jospeh Aoun.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Condolences on the Passing of His Beatitude Cardinal Patriarch Emeritus Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir

Press Statement
Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson
May 15, 2019

On behalf of Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and the American people, we were saddened by the news of the passing of His Beatitude Cardinal Patriarch Emeritus Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir. He was a courageous leader against tyranny and oppression and a champion for the idea of a sovereign and independent Lebanon. His leadership and bravery, during some of Lebanon's most trying times, shaped the course of Lebanon's recent history. We offer our condolences to all the Lebanese people for the loss of such a profoundly national as well as spiritual leader. The United States will continue to stand with Lebanon in support of these ideals embodied by Cardinal Sfeir.