Kathryn L. “Katie” Wheelbarger the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and Lebanese Chief of Defense Gen. Joseph Aoun led the May 16-17 meeting of the U.S.-Lebanon Joint Military Commission at the Pentagon to discuss ongoing security assistance and military cooperation, and to develop plans for a robust security partnership. The United States is Lebanon’s primary security partner. Since 2006, the United States has provided Lebanon more than $2 billion in security assistanc
Lebanon’s health minister — named to the post by the country’s Hezbollah group — said Saturday he has overcome U.S. concerns about his ministry potentially funneling finances to the militant organization by gaining public trust and ensuring transparency.
Jamil Jabak told The Associated Press that although he is not a member, he was picked to the post because Hezbollah has trust in him. Jabak insisted he is working for all Lebanese. “People’s trust in you is what erases” concerns, said Jabak, a physician who spoke at his private clinic in the southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh. He has maintained his practice since taking on the Health Ministry job.
Lebanon’s youth are understandably frustrated by high unemployment rates, corruption and other poor indicators. A staggering 45% of Lebanon’s public budget is allocated to public debt service and 45% to salaries and wages. That leaves 10% for investment projects, severely limiting the government’s ability to initiate important economic, development and reconstruction projects.