Lebanon remained a safe haven for certain terrorist groups. The Lebanese government did not take significant action to disarm Hizballah or eliminate its safe havens on Lebanese territory, nor did it seek to limit Hizballah's travel to and from Syria to fight in support of the Assad regime or to and from Iraq. The Lebanese government did not have complete control of all regions of the country, or fully control its borders with Syria and Israel. Hizballah controlled access to parts of the country and had influence over some elements within Lebanon's security services, which allowed it to operate with relative impunity.

Ungoverned areas along the un-demarcated Lebanese-Syrian border also served as safe havens for al Nusrah Front, ISIS, and other Sunni terrorist groups in 2016, which operated in mountainous, mostly uninhabited zones where the government had limited reach. Although the Lebanese government undertook sustained military operations to counter these safe havens and ISIS, al Nusrah Front, and other non-Hizballah terrorist activity, these groups maintained a presence in parts of Lebanon. Other terrorist groups, including Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, Asbat al-Ansar, Fatah al-Islam, Fatah al-Intifada, Jund al-Sham, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, and several other splinter groups continued to operate within Lebanon, although primarily out of Lebanon's 12 Palestinian refugee camps. These groups used the Palestinian camps as safe havens to house weapons, shelter wanted criminals, and plan terrorist attacks. Lebanese security services also noted the ability of terrorists to use Syrian refugee settlements as places of refuge and transit.

The United States worked closely with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Internal Security Forces to counter terrorist threats within Lebanon and along its border with Syria by providing counterterrorism training, military equipment, and weaponry.

Lebanon was not a source country for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) components, but its porous borders made the country vulnerable for use as a transit and transshipment hub for proliferation-sensitive transfers, particularly with the conflict in Syria. The LAF Engineer Regiment partnered with U.S. government agencies to detect and prevent proliferation and trafficking of WMD along the Syrian border.

The Department of State's Export Control and Related Border Security program (EXBS) provided commodity identification training for items that could be used in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, in order to keep these items from transiting through Lebanon. EXBS also proceeded with a frontier border security interdiction training program, in partnership with the Department of Defense, to strengthen LAF and Internal Security Forces border security and interdiction capabilities. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Smuggling Detection and Deterrence equipped the Port of Beirut with radiation detection equipment to scan cargo for the presence of radiation.


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