Lebanon remained a safe haven for certain terrorist groups in both undergoverned and Hizballah-controlled areas. Hizballah used areas under its control for terrorist training, fundraising, financing, and recruitment. The Government of Lebanon did not take significant action to disarm Hizballah, even though Hizballah maintained its weapons in defiance of UNSCR 1701. The government was unable to limit Hizballah's travel to and from Iraq or Syria to fight in support of the Assad regime. 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.

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 2017, which operated in mountainous, mostly uninhabited zones where the government had limited reach. In late summer 2017, Hizballah cleared out al-Nusrah Front positions along the Syria-Lebanon border. Separately, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) later undertook a major military offensive to expel ISIS fighters from 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, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, continued to operate within Lebanon primarily inside 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.

The United States worked closely with the LAF and Internal Security Forces (ISF) 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 and limited controls on strategic trade 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, to keep these items from transiting through Lebanon. A frontier border security interdiction-training program, in partnership with the Department of Defense, strengthened LAF and ISF 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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