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Cablegate: First Class of Police Officers Trained by U.S. Instructors

VZCZCXRO1315
PP RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHLB #0528/01 1090648
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180648Z APR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1568
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 2422
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 2143

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 000528

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR INL/AAE, NEA/ELA, NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/HARDING

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL NAS PGOV IS SY LE
SUBJECT: FIRST CLASS OF POLICE OFFICERS TRAINED BY U.S. INSTRUCTORS
GRADUATE FROM USG FUNDED LEBANON POLICE PROGRAM


1. (U) Summary. The first class of 166 Lebanese Internal Security
Forces (ISF) police cadets trained under the USG sponsored Lebanon
Police Program graduated on April 15, 2008. The graduation ceremony
took place at the ISF Academy located in Warwar, a suburb of Beirut,
and featured a sixty piece marching band and precision marches by
the graduating police recruits. Flanking the graduates and band were
an impressive array of police vehicles, SUVs and refurbished Armored
Personnel Vehicles, all donated by the USG to the ISF and funded
through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement
Affairs (INL).

2. (U) The graduation was attended by the Director General of the
ISF, Achraf Rifi, his entire Command Staff and 32 of the ISF's
highest ranking officers, as well as by U.S. Charg d'Affaires CDA)
Michele J. Sison, Embassy INL Office Director and the U.S. and
Lebanese Police Program Training staff.

3. (U) Charge Sison congratulated the first class of 166 graduates
trained under the INL Lebanon Police Program. The ten week training
program in modern policing and law enforcement skills is taught by
U.S. instructors and curriculum developers with the assistance of
Lebanese police and legal advisors as well as translators and
language assistants. End Summary.

U.S. Announces Police Visitor Program
--------------------------------------

4. (U) Charge Sison announced to the graduating class the
inauguration of a new Police Visitor Program, funded by INL Lebanon,
to honor the top students and instructors, and those officers who
have played a significant role in police training. These
high-achieving police and leading officers will spend 10 days
visiting police departments, academies, and criminal investigations
units in the U.S. to observe their operations and to exchange best
practices with their police counterparts. Serving as a motivational
incentive for future classes, the Visitor's Program will also
increase the professionalism of the ISF by forging international
relationships and strengthening operational knowledge.

Impassioned Speech by ISF Commander
------------------------------------
5. (U) As part of his impassioned review of the challenges facing
the ISF, General Rifi stated the following in his prepared remarks:


"Criminal actors continue to attempt to kill the best men of our
country, who are targets for the sole reason that they believed in
the independence of this country and its right to full sovereignty
over all its territories.

Terrorist crimes were perpetrated against our forces and those of
the Lebanese Army. Hence, the blood of all these martyrs became the
first cornerstone upon which we built the trust between our forces
and the Lebanese citizens.

The battles we fought were patriotic battles above all else, and the
missions we accomplished were national missions of excellence....

Because of the lack of financial resources, it was not possible to
obtain all that we needed, all at the same time....

The support of the Lebanese government and the Minister of the
Interior and Municipalities was essential to develop the ISF
organization. In addition, the Lebanese Army command thankfully
agreed to assist us. I can assure you that the cooperation between
these two institutions is continuing and at its best....

We know that our units have the right to ask for more officers,
training and equipment and we will meet their needs. The Lebanese
citizen too has the right to claim security and protection, while
preserving his human dignity.

I appreciate the unit commanders' patience with the lack of
resources but it is now time to accelerate the pace, and I promise
to provide their units with what they need. Our fetus has ended its
creation phase and has now entered the development phase. Soon the
Lebanese citizen shall see the results of our efforts.

[The United States'] aid amounting to 60 million dollars was
allotted to equipment, training and rehabilitation.... This
assistance and the assistance provided by other friendly countries
have played an important role in improving our capability to
confront terrorism in Lebanon.


BEIRUT 00000528 002 OF 002


This assistance enabled us to uncover the terrorist and criminal
role of the group named "Fatah Al Islam". Through concrete proof
and scientific evidence, we were able to prove the involvement of
Fatah al Islam in the terrorist attacks of Ain Aalak, and succeeded,
subsequently, in crushing this group in Tripoli and Naher El Bared
Camp. During these fierce fights, our forces worked hand in hand
with the Lebanese Army, who paid a high price and bore heavy
casualties in the battlefield in order to protect our
territories....

I avail myself of this great occasion to show the whole world that
we are following a clear and pragmatic plan whose success depends on
our mission and capabilities.
Allow me, in this occasion, to congratulate everyone of you on the
efforts that you put forth to make this session a success; we are
very proud of your commitment, discipline, devotion and skill."

6. (U) Press coverage of the graduation was extensive. The main
broadcast news stations covered the speeches the marching pageantry
with great interest, and zoomed in on the new U.S. police cars,
topped with their lights and sirens, and festooned with the ISF logo
and new 999 emergency call number. Although Al Manar was not at the
ceremony, the Hizbollah backed TV station gained access to the
footage and devoted more airtime to the graduation than did the
other more moderate stations.

Continuing Basic Police and Instructor Training
--------------------------------------------- ---
7. (U) The next Basic Police training class for police recruits
begins April 21, 2008. Over the next four years the INL program aims
to train 8,000 police recruits and 1,200 instructors. Two Instructor
training courses have been completed, and those graduates are now
assisting in the basic training program.

SISON

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