POLICY Statement

August 28, 2019: ATFL Statement on Israeli Drone Attacks in Lebanon

August 28, 2019

Washington, DC, August 28, 2019 (ATFL) – The American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL), a leadership organization of Americans of Lebanese heritage, today released a statement expressing its concern over drone attacks that struck Beirut this past weekend.
This violation of Lebanese sovereignty represents a clear provocation that could bring about deterioration of the current political status quo in the country, an outcome that does not serve the security needs of Lebanon or any of its neighbors. Quite the contrary, it undermines the current stability in the southern area, which is a result of Lebanon’s cooperation with UN forces. It is critical that all parties avoid actions that undercut the need for constructive steps to implement UN resolution 1701, which vest security in the country solely in the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Over the past year, analysts and officials have warned that a wider war may occur in the region due to “unintended consequences” rather than a strategic decision by any of the parties. In this light, Israel’s continued violations of Lebanese airspace, rather than supporting its security needs, may, in fact, have the effect of damaging Lebanon, one of the closest friends of the US in the region, and lead to counteractions that put Israeli citizens at risk.
The ATFL calls on the Lebanese government to not be provoked into any precipitous actions and instead call, as it has done, for the United States and the United Nations to use their good offices to reduce the threat to Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. Rather than heighten the likelihood of increased levels of conflict and engagement, all parties should work to reduce conditions that would result in greater threats and conflict that further destabilize Lebanon and the region. It is imperative that the source of the attack be discovered and the ATFL calls on Hezbollah to share the drone remnants with the LAF for a full investigation.
Finally, ATFL supports the international consensus that the Lebanese government should be supported in its efforts to fully implement UNSC Resolution 1701 by ensuring that the Lebanese Armed Forces continue to be strengthened in order to control all force capabilities within the country.

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