Drivers in Beirut soon will have something new to worry about when they look in their rear view mirrors. Those flashing lights and that distinctive sound could be, yes, a local cop riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle. No kidding. The Department of State proudly announced 20 new Harleys have been delivered to Lebanon's national police, known as the Internal Security Forces (ISF).
The Harleys come "outfitted with specialized police equipment including enhanced steering and braking capabilities," according to a news release announcing the gift - worth nearly $500,000 - from the American taxpayers. Oh, yes, flashing lights, sirens and mounted microphones and speakers are part of the package. Now all those drivers speeding along Beirut's famous corniche will have to be alert and hope they do not hear the squawk of "Kef ! Soff ala jamb!" Even an American tourist would understand that as "Stop! Pull over to the side!"
In presenting the gift to the Lebanese authorities, U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison said, "Today, we add another iconic American vehicle to the Lebanese arsenal." The Lebanese police vehicle fleet already includes 480 Dodge Chargers and 60 Ford Explorers. All this is part of a $104 million aid program to train and equip the ISF "to strengthen and build its professional capacity." If nothing else, Lebanon will have some of the most tricked-out cops in the Middle East.