US Ambassador to Beirut Dorothy Shea announced that Washington and the Lebanese people reject “the threats of some to drag Lebanon into a new war.”
On Monday, the US Embassy in Beirut commemorated the 40th anniversary of the bombing of US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983, when a suicide bomber blew up the headquarters, killing 241 American soldiers. Moments later, another explosion occurred at the French paratroopers headquarters, which killed 58 French paratroopers.
Shea and French Ambassador Hervé Magro laid a wreath at the US Embassy memorial adorned with the phrase, “They Came in Peace.”
In remarks released by the US Embassy in Beirut, the ambassador said: “Forty years ago, the Lebanese people were midway through a horrific civil war that killed tens of thousands and drove almost a million Lebanese to flee their homes.”
“At the request of the Lebanese government, the United States – alongside our French, Italian, and UK allies – formed a new multinational force to help the Lebanese government regain full sovereignty over Beirut and the entire country. Or, as President Ronald Reagan said at the time, to ensure that “the Lebanese people are allowed to chart their own future,” she added. “That is an aspiration we still hold.”
“And so, in 1982, roughly 800 US Marines landed in Beirut. Along with their fellow French, UK, and Italian soldiers, they came in peace to help ensure the safety of the Lebanese people and bring an end to the tragic violence,” she continued.
“These Marines were young men with bright futures ahead of them, and with a deep commitment to serving their country and the values we hold dear as Americans and Lebanese… In a matter of seconds, a cowardly act of terrorism robbed these American servicemen of their bright futures. Families were left forever grieving an unimaginable loss, and an entire nation was left in shock,” she remarked.
The US ambassador went on to say: “A few minutes later, a second suicide bomber struck the French barracks, the Drakkar, and killed 58 French paratroopers. Again, I would like to recognize Ambassador Hervé Magro, who is with us here today, and salute the memory of those French paratroopers, whose futures were taken away from them far too soon…”
Shea stressed: “Today, we reject, and the Lebanese people reject, the threats of some to drag Lebanon into a new war.”
“We continue to renounce any attempts to shape the region’s future through intimidation, violence, and terrorism – and here I am talking about not just Iran and Hezbollah, but also Hamas and others, who falsely paint themselves as a noble ‘resistance,’ and who most certainly do not represent the aspirations – or the values – of the Palestinian people, while they try to rob Lebanon and its people of their bright future,” she declared.