The U.S. embassy in Lebanon Thursday announced the graduation of Lebanese police officers from an American training course amid internal debate over the nature of this program, stating that “the first class of 73 Internal Security Forces (ISF) cadets and officers” graduated on Wednesday “from the newly developed Community Policing training class.”
The embassy said “the Community Policing course is a ten- week, state-of-the-art training program taught by U.S. and Lebanese police instructors with the assistance of legal professionals.”
It added that “ISF officers learn the latest policing, law enforcement and community relations skills — and how to implement them effectively in on-the-job situations.”
The statement also said the program is “designed to support Lebanese law enforcement sector reform by strengthening the capacity of the ISF to enforce the rule of law in Lebanon and to protect the Lebanese people.”
The U.S embassy announcement came amid a fierce internal political debate concerning the nature of the 86-million-U.S. dollar assistance program.
Some Lebanese politicians consider it a training and donation program to Lebanese police, while others see it as a “security agreement” between the United States and the ISF.
Lebanese lawmaker Nawaf Mousawi accused the U.S. embassy in February of “meddling into Lebanese internal affairs.”
Mousawi’s accusations came after local daily As Safir reported that the U.S. embassy requested information from the forensic investigation chief in the ISF on communications in Lebanon, including Lebanese cellular network stations and their locations.
But Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali al-Shami said last week that the report is “exaggerated.”