Lebanon

 

Following the capture of Syria from the Ottoman Empire by Anglo-French forces in 1918, France received a mandate over this territory and separated out the region of Lebanon in 1920. France granted this area independence in 1943. A lengthy civil war (1975-1990) devastated the country, but Lebanon has since made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions. Under the Ta’if Accord – the blueprint for national reconciliation – the Lebanese established a more equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater voice in the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the government. Since the end of the war, Lebanon has conducted several successful elections. Most militias have been disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has extended authority over about two-thirds of the country. Hizballah, a radical Shi’a organization listed by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, retains its weapons. During Lebanon’s civil war, the Arab League legitimized in the Ta’if Accord Syria’s troop deployment, numbering about 16,000 based mainly east of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley.

 

Geography:
Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria
Geographic coordinates: 33 50 N, 35 50 E
People:
Population: 4,140,289 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 23% (male 487,930/female 464,678)

15-64 years:  68% (male 1,370,628/female 1,446,173)

65 years and over: 9% (male 173,073/female 200,619) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Lebanese Republic

conventional short form: Lebanon

local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah

local short form: Lubnan

former: Greater Lebanon

Government type: republic
Capital: name: Beirut

geographic coordinates: 33 52 N, 35 30 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 887,800 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular:  2.875 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 7 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 5

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Army ((Al Jaysh al Lubnaniya) includes Navy (Al Quwwat al Bahiriyya al Lubnaniya), Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Lubnaniya)) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18-30 years of age for voluntary military service; 18-24 years of age for officer candidates; no conscription (2012)

Economy:

The 1975-90 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon’s economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but ended Lebanon’s position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. In the years since, Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily – mostly from domestic banks. In an attempt to reduce the ballooning national debt, the Rafiq HARIRI government began an austerity program, reining in government expenditures, increasing revenue collection, and privatizing state enterprises, but economic and financial reform initiatives stalled and public debt continued to grow despite receipt of more than $2 billion in bilateral assistance at the Paris II Donors Conference.

Transnational Issues:

Lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab’a Farms area in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights; the roughly 2,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been in place since 1978.