Map Lebanon
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Flag of Lebanon


Background: Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French separated out the region of Lebanon in 1920, and 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 reduced or disbanded, with the exception of Hizballah, designated by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and Palestinian militant groups. 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. Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000 and the passage in September 2004 of UNSCR 1559 - a resolution calling for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and end its interference in Lebanese affairs - encouraged some Lebanese groups to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq HARIRI and 22 others in February 2005 led to massive demonstrations in Beirut against the Syrian presence ("the Cedar Revolution"), and Syria withdrew the remainder of its military forces in April 2005. In May-June 2005, Lebanon held its first legislative elections since the end of the civil war free of foreign interference, handing a majority to the bloc led by Sa'ad HARIRI, the slain prime minister's son. In July 2006, Hizballah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers leading to a 34-day conflict with Israel in which approximately 1,200 Lebanese civilians were killed. UNSCR 1701 ended the war in August 2006, and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) deployed throughout the country for the first time in decades, charged with securing Lebanon's borders against weapons smuggling and maintaining a weapons-free zone in south Lebanon with the help of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The LAF in May-September 2007 battled Sunni extremist group Fatah al-Islam in the Nahr al-Barid Palestinian refugee camp, winning a decisive victory, but destroying the camp and displacing 30,000 Palestinian residents. Lebanese politicians in November 2007 were unable to agree on a successor to Emile LAHUD when he stepped down as president, creating a political vacuum until the election of LAF Commander Gen. Michel SULAYMAN in May 2008 and the formation of a new unity government in July 2008. Legislative elections in June 2009 again produced victory for the bloc led by Sa'ad HARIRI, but a period of prolonged negotiation over the composition of the cabinet ensued. A national unity government was finally formed in November 2009 and approved by the National Assembly the following month. In January 2010, Lebanon assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2010-11 term.
Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria
Area land: 10,230 sq km
Area water: 170 sq km
Coastline: 225 km
Country name conventional long form: Lebanese Republic
Country name conventional short form: Lebanon
Country name former: Greater Lebanon
Population: 4,143,101 (July 2011 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.);
Population growth rate: 0.244% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 15.02 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 6.54 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -6.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female; total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 15.85 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 15.99 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 15.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.01 years; male: 73.48 years; female: 76.62 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 1.77 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 3,600 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 500 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Lebanese (singular and plural); adjective: Lebanese;
Ethnic groups: Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%;

note: many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendents of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians

Religions: Muslim 59.7% (Shia, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 39% (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Copt, Protestant), other 1.3%;
note: 17 religious sects recognized

Languages: Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 87.4%; male: 93.1%; female: 82.2% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $58.65 billion (2010 est.); $54.71 billion (2009 est.); $51.18 billion (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $39.15 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 7.2% (2010 est.); 6.9% (2009 est.); 9.3% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $14,200 (2010 est.); $13,300 (2009 est.); $12,700 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5.1%; industry: 15.9%; services: 79% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 28% (1999 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%; highest 10%: NA%;
Labor force: 1.481 million;
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: NA%; industry: NA%; services: NA%;
Unemployment rate: NA%;
Budget: revenues: $9.001 billion; expenditures: $10.95 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: banking, tourism, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating;
Industrial production growth rate: 2.1% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 10.41 billion kWh (2009);
Electricity - consumption: 9.793 billion kWh (2009);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2009 est.);
Electricity - imports: 1.114 billion kWh (2009 est.);

Statistics: CIA World Factbook.


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Displaying 1 to 7 of 9 items.


(Independent daily), Hazmieh


(Independent), Beirut

Al-Ousbou Al-Arabi

(Weekly independent politics magazine), Beirut

Amwal Magazine

(N/A), Beirut


(Independent), Beirut


(Independent), Beirut


(Weekly political newspaper), Tripoli

Lebanon in the News

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Displaying 45 to 47 of 47 items.

Bold Words from Beirut

With the July 7 date for Israel’s withdrawal from south Lebanon looming, a leading Lebanese newspaper has published an audacious call for Syria to consider doing the same with its 35,000 troops stationed in the country.

Proxy Fight

Beginning Jan. 25, Hezbollah carried out a series of lethal attacks against IDF troops in south Lebanon, killing seven soldiers and wounding 16 over a three-week period.

War Stories

A gruesome tell-all biography of a former civil-war militia leader has sparked forceful denials, the book's banning, and a lawsuit against its exiled author, writes Youssef Diab in Beirut's independent Daily Star.


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