Adonis Diaries

Warning! US citizens “Don’t travel to Lebanon”. Is US State Department warning Lebanon of an Israeli preemptive attack?

Posted on: May 13, 2012

Warning! US citizens “Don’t travel to Lebanon”. Is US State Department  warning Lebanon of an Israeli preemptive attack?
This is the first time I stumble on a sample American Travel Warning to its citizens. I found a few paragraphs pretty funny and outright hilarious… (not referring to Hilary), and a few pieces of intelligence pretty outdated and not meant to warn at all, but a political message against parties that the US Administration love to lambast at every occasion.  (Paragraphs in parenthesis are my comments)
On May 9, 2012, the U.S. Department of State sent emails via its consulates and embassies: American Travel Warning to Lebanon

This is a copy of the email sent to all American citizens visiting or living in Lebanon.
“To: All American Citizens

From: Consular Section

Subject: Emergency Message – May 9, 2012

Please see below for the updated version of the Travel Warning for Lebanon. The U.S. Department of State issues Travel Warnings when long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country.

U.S. regulation requires that Travel Warnings be reviewed continually and updated at least every six months to ensure that the most current safety and security information is shared with the American public.

For more information about American Citizen Services in Lebanon, please visit the Embassy’s website at

May 8, 2012

“The Department of State continues to urge U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to Lebanon due to current safety and security concerns. U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on October 12, 2011, to update information on security and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains. Lebanese government authorities are not able to guarantee protection for citizens or visitors to the country should violence erupt suddenly (it cannot protect its citizens in Lebanon, since this is a pseudo-State, run by 18 officially recognized religious sects).

Access to borders, airports, and seaports can be interrupted with little or no warning. Public demonstrations occur frequently with little warning and have the potential to become violent.

Family or neighborhood disputes often escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with little or no warning. The ability of U.S. government personnel to reach travelers or provide emergency services may be severely limited.

A number of extremist groups operate in Lebanon, including some, such as Hizballah, that the U.S. government has designated as terrorist organizations. (Why the US purposedly fail to mention Al Qaeda and the various radical Islamist groups that it finance indirectly through Saudi Arabia and Qatar?)

U.S. citizens have been the target of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past, and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity continues to exist in Lebanon. (Mind you that all the warnings about Hezbollah are events that occurred in 1983-85, a period Hezbollah was splitting from the Amal militia movement of Nabih Berri, and Lebanon was responding to this massive Israeli war of 1982 (with green light from president Reagan, that killed 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians and handicapped and severely injured 60,000)

U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Lebanon despite this Travel Warning should keep a low profile, varying times and routes for all required travel. U.S. citizens also should pay close attention to their personal security at locations where Westerners generally are known to congregate, and should avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.

Hizballah (Hezbollah) maintains a strong presence in parts of the southern suburbs of Beirut, portions of the Bekaa Valley, and areas in South Lebanon. The situation remains tense, and sporadic violence involving Hizballah or other extremist or criminal organizations remains a possibility in many areas of the country.

The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens that clashes between Lebanese authorities and criminal elements (radical Islamists financed by the Mustakbal Party and Saudi Wahhabi monarchy) have also recently occurred in other areas of the Bekaa and border regions.

The ongoing unrest in Syria has also resulted in numerous security incidents in the border regions between Lebanon and Syria, both in the north and in the Bekaa. On April 9, 2012, a journalist reporting from the Lebanese border was killed by gunfire originating from Syria. The potential for border violence remains.

Kidnapping, whether for ransom or political motives, remains a problem in Lebanon. Suspects in kidnappings sometimes have been found to have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations.

On March 23, 2011, seven Estonian bicyclists were kidnapped in Deir Zenoun, between Masnaa and Zahle in the Bekaa Valley. The kidnapping was planned and well-coordinated, according to Lebanese authorities. The Estonians were ultimately released on July 14, 2011.

Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy not to pay ransom.

Demonstrators (such as the Civic Pride movement?) sometimes block the primary road between downtown Beirut and Rafiq Hariri International Airport for short periods of time and without warning. Access to the airport also may be cut off, sometimes for extended periods, if the security situation deteriorates.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is a body the United Nations and Lebanon created to investigate past political assassinations, including the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. On June 30, 2011, the STL delivered to Lebanon’s Prosecutor General an indictment containing arrest warrants for four Hizballah members who are still at large.

Beginning March 1, 2012 the United Nations renewed the STL’s mandate for a second three-year term. U.S. citizens in Lebanon should monitor ongoing political developments, particularly in relation to the STL, as Lebanese political leaders have warned publicly that the Tribunal’s findings could spark civil unrest. (No one in Lebanon takes this Tribunal seriously, and don’t give a damn about its findings…It has been dragging on for too long…)

Rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel have occurred in the past and remain a potential threat. (What about Israel cannon shells and daily military jets over flying our airspace?) These attacks frequently provoke a military response from Israel. The rocket attacks and responses occur with no warning. Skirmishes and tense exchanges between the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israeli Defense Forces (after Israel shot and killed two Lebanese soldiers), as well as protesters and civilians, along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel also may occur with no warning.

On May 15, 2011, several demonstrators were killed and several, including a U.S. citizen, were severely wounded near the southern Lebanese border town of Maroun a-Ras after clashes with Israel resulted in open gunfire. Landmines and unexploded ordnance pose significant dangers throughout southern Lebanon, particularly south of the Litani River, as well as in areas of the country where fighting was intense during the civil war.

More than 40 civilians have been killed and over 300 injured by unexploded ordnance remaining from the July-August 2006 Israel-Hizballah war. (Over 5 million cluster bombs were shelled by Israel, two days before the UN resolution for a cease fire. These cluster bombs were dispatched by the US on short notice from a depot in Scotland).

Travelers should watch for posted landmine warnings and strictly avoid all areas where landmines and unexploded ordnance may be present (the US has not contributed for the de-mining of unexploded bombs, a process that has not finished yet).

Palestinian groups hostile to both the Lebanese government and the United States operate largely autonomously inside refugee and military camps in different areas of the country. Intra-communal violence within the camps has resulted in violent incidents such as shootings and explosions. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to Palestinian camps.

Asbat al-Ansar, a terrorist group with alleged links to Al-Qaida, has targeted Lebanese, U.S., and other foreign government interests. Although the group has been outlawed by the Lebanese government, it continues to maintain a presence in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp.

On December 9, 2011, an explosion in the eastern outskirts of Tyre in South Lebanon targeted a UN vehicle injuring five French peacekeepers and two civilians. This was the third attack aimed at UN Peacekeepers in 2011 with previous attacks on May 27, 2011 and July 26, 2011 when roadside bombs targeted UN convoys in which several peacekeepers were injured. These incidents took place on the coastal highway near Saida. Similar incidents could occur again without warning.

U.S. citizens traveling or resident in Lebanon despite this Travel Warning should be aware that the U.S. Embassy’s ability to reach all areas of Lebanon is limited. The Embassy cannot guarantee that Embassy employees will be able to render assistance to U.S. citizens in all areas of the country.

In the event that the security climate in the country worsens, U.S. citizens will be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Lebanon. U.S. citizens with special medical or other needs should be aware of the risks of remaining given their condition, and should be prepared to seek treatment in Lebanon if they cannot arrange for travel out of the country.

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations, such as the evacuation that took place from Lebanon in 2006, occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. Government for travel costs.

The lack of a valid U.S. passport may hinder U.S. citizens’ ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide assistance. U.S. citizens in Lebanon should therefore ensure that they have proper and current documentation at all times.

U.S. Legal Permanent Residents should consult with the Department of Homeland Security before they depart the United States to ensure they have proper documentation to re-enter. Further information on the Department’s role during emergencies is provided within the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. Government personnel in Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions. The internal security policies of the U.S. Embassy may be adjusted at any time and without advance notice. These practices limit, and may occasionally prevent, access by U.S. Embassy officials to certain areas of the country.

Because of security concerns, unofficial travel to Lebanon by U.S. Government employees and their family members is discouraged and strictly limited and requires the Department of State’s prior approval.

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Lebanon are encouraged to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at the Bureau of Consular Affairs website to receive the latest travel updates and information and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Lebanon. U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. 19. The U.S. Embassy is located in Awkar, near Antelias, Beirut, Lebanon. Public access hours for U.S. citizens are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., U.S. citizens must make appointments in advance. However, U.S. citizens who require emergency services outside these hours may contact the embassy by telephone at any time. The telephone numbers are (961-4) 542-600, 543-600, and fax 544-209.

Information on consular services and enrollment in STEP can also be found at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut’s websiteor by phone at the above telephone numbers between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday local time. Inquiries may also be sent to

Up-to-date information on travel and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

For further information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Lebanon. You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which also contains current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.” End of the warning thing.

I would like to read one such travel warning sent to US citizens planning to visit Israel, and the sort of dangers they might face there…like being beaten by rifle butt, held in jail, searched for 4 hours, and questioned at check points…and called anti-Semite, racist, emperialist…

Mind you that 7 Palestinian prisoners in Israel have crossed the 65 days on their hunger strike and the US and the UN feel totally unconcerned. Over 3,000 Palestinian prisoners are on their 25 days of hunger strike and the world media is too busy covering trivial events…

Do you know that Israel bombed Lebanon in 2006 with over 175,000 shells and dropped rockets and bombs from 15,000 attack jet sorties on tiny Lebanon? Three times more than during the 1967 war against three “Arab” armies?

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