The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: Lebanon plays an important role in the region’s security, stability, and economy. Lebanon is at the forefront of U.S. efforts to counter Iran’s expanding influence in the Middle East. Iran-backed Hizballah and other extremist groups pose threats to Lebanon’s stability and regional security. Security institutions have been under immense pressure to maintain public order.
Goals: INL programming in Lebanon supports the capacity of Lebanese institutions to address needs across the criminal justice system: law enforcement, corrections, and justice. INL aims to increase state stability and delegitimize non-state institutions by strengthening Lebanon’s Ministries of Interior and Justice, Higher Judicial Council, and Internal Security Forces (ISF) to enhance service delivery to the public, and improve the prevention, intervention, and adjudication of criminal and terrorist incidents. INL provides specialized training, advising, and equipment to improve the capabilities of Lebanon’s ISF. This assistance enables the ISF to assume primary responsibility for law enforcement. INL also provides training, technical assistance, equipment, and infrastructure support to the ISF to ensure offenders serve out sentences without further criminality while operating Lebanon’s prisons safely, securely, and humanely and in accordance with international standards. In 2016, INL expanded its efforts in Lebanon to include justice reform, and in 2020 will introduce programs to help reduce transnational crime in Lebanon.
- INL has provided basic and specialized training for more than one-third of the ISF, which resulted in increased discipline and professional conduct by members of the Lebanese police. INL has supported the ISF in increasing the number of women in its force from two to 610; female ISF members are now working in positions throughout the ISF.
- INL established two model police stations in Beirut: Ras Beirut Station and Ashrafieh Station. Activities in both police stations consisted of renovations and equipment procurements that fostered better police-community relations and training for officers on implementing community policing strategies and techniques. In 2018, the ISF agreed to take on responsibility of rolling out the new community policing strategies and techniques throughout the Police of Beirut, including the 12 remaining Beirut police stations.
- In 2015, INL completed construction at the state-of-the-art ISF academy at Aramoun. INL’s $11 million contribution to construct a tactical village and forensics/administration building at Aramoun helped the ISF turn this facility into a national and regional center for excellence in law enforcement training. The Academy now provides basic and in-service training to over 1,000 law enforcement officials per year. In 2021, INL will complete construction of additional classrooms and dormitories at the ISF academy as part of the program’s Expanding Police Professionalism (EP2) program, designed to strengthen the capabilities of the ISF outside of Beirut.
- In 2018, INL transitioned a secure radio network covering the Beirut and Mount Lebanon regions, Lebanon’s most populous regions, with six control rooms, 21 base stations, and over 3,000 radio subscriber terminals to full ISF ownership. Through multiple projects, the ISF can now fully operate and maintain the entire system, which significantly improves its ability to carry out its civilian security mandate.