The United States is Lebanon’s primary security partner and has provided billions of dollars in security assistance over the past 15 years. Along the way, securing and enhancing Lebanese sovereignty and countering threats to internal and regional stability have always been recurring themes. The main areas of cooperation between the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the US include border control and security, counterterrorism operations, arms transfers, and military training. However, as Lebanon continues to collapse socio-economically and edges further towards becoming a failed state, important challenges to stability and security have emerged.
What are the major defense and security concerns in Lebanon today? How does a deterioration of security conditions in Lebanon hurt regional stability and US interests? Why is support to the LAF still relevant? How can the LAF-Hezbollah dichotomy best be approached? What does the future of US-Lebanon defense and security cooperation look like?
Brig Gen Duke Pirak
Deputy Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)
Bilal Y. Saab
Senior Fellow and Founding Director of the Defense and Security Program, Middle East Institute
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, U.S. Department of Defense
Missy Ryan, moderator
Defense and National Security Reporter, The Washington Post
Photo by PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images