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Contents Background U.S. Security Assistance to Lebanon U.S. Military Assistance to the LAF International Military and Education Training (IMET) Section 1206 . Foreign Military Financing (FMF) U.S. Military Assistance to the ISF. Training. Equipment. Infrastructure. Issues for Congress Vetting and End-Use Monitoring The LAF as a National Institution The Effectiveness of U.S. Security Assistance to Lebanon 2009 Parliamentary Elections and the Future of U.S. Security Assistance to Lebanon
April 1, 2009
The United States has historically sought a stable, democratic Lebanon free from Syrian and other foreign influence. In 2005, after the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon prompted Syrian withdrawal from Lebanese territory and brought an anti-Syrian and pro-Western government to power, the United States initiated a program of assistance to support Lebanon's government. After the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, the United States refocused its policy toward supporting the Lebanese government along with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF) and enabling them to assert control over the entire territory of the country. (1) To that end, the Bush Administration requested and Congress appropriated an expanded program of security assistance to the LAF and ISF. Since then, U.S. policy and, in particular, U.S. security assistance to Lebanon, has been designed to increase the operational capacity of the LAF and ISF so that they can maintain law and order in times of political turmoil and secure Lebanon's borders against smuggling and, in particular, against the flow of weapons to Hezbollah and other nonstate actors.
U.S. Security Assistance to Lebanon
The Bush Administration's 2006 request for increased U.S. military assistance to Lebanon marked the third time in the last 25 years that the United States has sought to expand military cooperation with the Lebanese government. In the early 1980s the United States provided between $145 and $190 million in grants and loans to the LAF, primarily for training and equipment during the civil war. In the early 1990s, at the end of Lebanon's civil war, the United States again provided military aid, primarily in the form of non-lethal equipment (such as armored personnel carriers and transport helicopters) through the U.S. Department of Defense's sale of Excess Defense Articles (EDA).
For the first time since 1984, President Bush requested Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants to Lebanon in the FY2006 foreign affairs budget. Originally, he sought approximately $1.0 million in FMF for FY 2006 and $4.8 million for FY 2007 to help modernize the small and poorly equipped LAF following Syria's withdrawal of its 15,000-person occupation force in 2005. However, the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah spurred Western donors to increase their assistance to the LAF. Drawing from multiple budget accounts, the Bush Administration ultimately reprogrammed an estimated $42 million to provide spare parts, technical training, and new equipment to the LAF. (2)
The FY 2007 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (P L. 110-28) (3) included over $220 million in FMF for Lebanon, a significant increase from previous levels. The request also included an additional $60 million in International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement assistance (IGLE) to train and equip Lebanon's ISF. In addition, Section 1206 assistance to Lebanon increased in FY2007 to $30.6 million from the FY20061eve1 of $10.6 million (See "Section 1206" below). According to the U.S. State Department, U.S. security assistance would:
promote Lebanese control over southern Lebanon and Palestinian refugee camps to prevent them from being used as bases to attack Israel. The U.S. government's active military-to-military programs enhance the professionalism of the Lebanese Armed Forces, reinforcing the concept of Lebanese civilian control. To foster peace and security, the United States intends to build upon welcome and unprecedented Lebanese calls to control the influx of weapons (4)
Members of the 111th Congress have continued to support the long-standing goals of independence and stability for Lebanon through ongoing assistance to the LAF and ISF in the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8).
U.S. Military Assistance to the LAF
International Military and Education Training (IMET)
The International Military and Education Training (IMET) program funds military education and training activities on a grant basis to foreign military and civilian officials from allied and friendly nations. Unlike FMF and INGLE, the U.S. has provided IMET grants to Lebanon every fiscal year since 1959, with the exception of 1991 and 1992. According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, IMET training in Lebanon is designed to reduce sectarianism in the LAF and develop the force as a unifying national institution (see "The LAF as a National Institution"). U.S. Professional Military Education (PME) courses help foster one-on-one relationships with U.S. counterparts to improve interoperability, access, coordination, cultural sensitivity, and mutual understanding. (5)
Section 1206 (6)
In 2005, Congress provided the Department of Defense (DOD) with authority and funds for a major DOD-run train and equip program. Established by Section 1206 of …