Lebanon

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Introduction - Lebanon:

Country

Lebanon

Background

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 a 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 Taif 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) have extended authority over about two-thirds of the country. Hizballah, a radical Shia organization listed by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, retains its weapons. During Lebanons civil war, the Arab League legitimized in the Taif Accord Syrias troop deployment, numbering about 16,000 based mainly east of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley. Damascus justified its continued military presence in Lebanon by citing Beiruts requests and the failure of the Lebanese Government to implement all of the constitutional reforms in the Taif Accord. Israels withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, however, encouraged some Lebanese groups to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well. The passage of UNSCR 1559 in early October 2004 - a resolution calling for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and end its interference in Lebanese affairs - further emboldened Lebanese groups opposed to Syrias presence in Lebanon. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq HARIRI and 20 others in February 2005 led to massive demonstrations in Beirut against the Syrian presence (the Cedar Revolution). Syria finally withdrew the remainder of its military forces from Lebanon 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 Saad HARIRI, the slain prime ministers son. Hizballah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in July 2006 leading to a 34-day conflict with Israel. UNSCR 1701, which passed in August 2006, called for the disarmament of Hizballah.

Location - Lebanon:

Location

Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria

Geographic coordinates

33 50 N, 35 50 E

Map references

Middle East

Area

total: 10,400 sq km
land: 10,230 sq km
water: 170 sq km

Area comparative

about 0.7 times the size of Connecticut

Land boundaries

total: 454 km
border countries: Israel 79 km, Syria 375 km

Coastline

225 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate

Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; Lebanon mountains experience heavy winter snows

Terrain

narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains

Elevation extremes

lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Qurnat as Sawda 3,088 m

Natural resources

limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land

Land use

arable land: 16.35%
permanent crops: 13.75%
other: 69.9% (2005)

Irrigated land

1,040 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards

dust storms, sandstorms

Environment current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Beirut from vehicular traffic and the burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage and oil spills

Environment international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation

Geography note

Nahr el Litani is the only major river in Near East not crossing an international boundary; rugged terrain historically helped isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on religion, clan, and ethnicity

People - Lebanon:

Population

3,925,502 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 26.2% (male 525,199/female 504,240)
15-64 years: 66.7% (male 1,255,624/female 1,361,265)
65 years and over: 7.1% (male 125,904/female 153,270) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 28.3 years
male: 27.2 years
female: 29.5 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

1.198% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

18.08 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

6.1 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.042 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.922 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.821 male(s)/female
total population: 0.944 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 23.39 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 25.94 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 73.15 years
male: 70.67 years
female: 75.77 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.88 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate

0.1% (2001 est.)

Hiv aids people living with hiv aids

2,800 (2003 est.)

Hiv aids deaths

less than 200 (2003 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, Ismailite, 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.)

Government - Lebanon:

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

Administrative divisions

8 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Aakar, Baalbek-Hermel, Beyrouth, Beqaa, Liban-Nord, Liban-Sud, Mont-Liban, Nabatiye

Independence

22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)

National holiday

Independence Day, 22 November (1943)

Constitution

23 May 1926; amended a number of times, most recently Charter of Lebanese National Reconciliation (Taif Accord) of October 1989

Legal system

mixture of Ottoman law, canon law, Napoleonic code, and civil law; no judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage

21 years of age; compulsory for all males; authorized for women at age 21 with elementary education

Executive branch

chief of state: President Emile LAHUD (since 24 November 1998)
head of government: Prime Minister Fuad SINIORA (since 30 June 2005); Deputy Prime Minister Elias MURR (since April 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and members of the National Assembly
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a six-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 15 October 1998 (next to be held in September 2007 based on three-year extension); note - on 3 September 2004 the National Assembly voted 96 to 29 to extend Emile LAHUDs six-year term by three years; the prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly; by agreement, the president is a Maronite Christian, the prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the National Assembly is a Shia Muslim
election results: for 15 October 1998 election: Emile LAHUD elected president; National Assembly vote - 118 votes in favor, 0 against, 10 abstentions

Legislative branch

unicameral National Assembly or Majlis Alnuwab (Arabic) or Assemblee Nationale (French) (128 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of sectarian proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held in four rounds on 29 May, 5, 12, 19 June 2005 (next to be held 2009)
election results: percent of vote by group - NA; seats by group - Future Movement Bloc 36; Democratic Gathering 15; Development and Resistance Bloc 15; Free Patriotic Movement 15; Loyalty to the Resistance 14; Qornet Shewan 6; Lebanese Forces 5; Popular Bloc 4; Tripoli Independent Bloc 3; Kataeb Reform Movement 2; Syrian National Socialist Party 2; Tachnaq Party 2; Bath Party 1; Democratic Left 1; Democratic Renewal Movement 1; Kataeb Party 1; Nasserite Popular Movement 1; independent 4

Judicial branch

four Courts of Cassation (three courts for civil and commercial cases and one court for criminal cases); Constitutional Council (called for in Taif Accord - rules on constitutionality of laws); Supreme Council (hears charges against the president and prime minister as needed)

Political parties and leaders

14 March Coalition: Democratic Gathering [Walid JUNBLATT, leader of Progressive Socialist Party]; Democratic Left [Ilyas ATALLAH]; Democratic Renewal Movement [Nassib LAHUD]; Future Movement Bloc [Saad HARIRI]; Kataeb Reform Movement [Amine GEMAYEL]; Lebanese Forces [Samir JAJA]; Nasserite Popular Movement [Ussama SAAD]; Qornet Shewan Gathering (a grouping composed of political parties and independent members of the National Assembly [no individual leader]); Tripoli Independent Bloc
Change and Reform Alliance: Free Patriotic Movement [Michel AWN]; Metn Bloc [Michel MURR]; Popular Bloc [Elias SKAFF]; Tachnaq
Hizballah and Amal Alliance: Bath Party [Muhammad MUHAMMADIYAH]; Development and Resistance Bloc [Nabih BERRI, leader of Amal Movement]; Kataeb Party [Karim PAKRADONI]; Loyalty to the Resistance [Mohammad RAAD]; Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Dr. Issam al-MAYHAYRI, secretary general]

Political pressure groups and leaders

none

International organization participation

ABEDA, ACCT, AFESD, AMF, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge dAffaires Carla JAZZAR; note - ambassador designate is Antoine CHEDID
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6320
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador Jeffrey D. FELTMAN
embassy: Awkar, Lebanon; (Awkar facing the Municipality)
mailing address: P. O. Box 70-840, Antelias, Lebanon; PSC 815, Box 2, FPO AE 09836-0002; from US: US Embassy Beirut, 6070 Beirut Place, Washington, DC 20521-6070
telephone: [961] (4) 542600, 543600
FAX: [961] (4) 544136

Flag description

three horizontal bands consisting of red (top), white (middle, double width), and red (bottom) with a green cedar tree centered in the white band

Economy - Lebanon:

Economy overview

The 1975-90 civil war seriously damaged Lebanons economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but ended Lebanons 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. The Israeli-Hizballah conflict caused an estimated $3.6 billion in infrastructure damage in July and August 2006, and internal Lebanese political tension continues to hamper economic activity.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$22.02 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$19.89 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

-6.4% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$5,700 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 7%
industry: 21%
services: 72% (2005)

Labor force

1.5 million
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (2005 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate

20% (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line

28% (1999 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate consumer prices

4.8% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

17.8% of GDP (2006 est.)

Budget

revenues: $4.444 billion
expenditures: $7.429 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)

Public debt

209% of GDP (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats

Industries

banking, tourism, food processing, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating

Industrial production growth rate

NA%

Electricity production

9.762 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

9.529 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

0 kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

450 million kWh (2004)

Oil production

0 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil consumption

107,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

NA bbl/day

Oil imports

NA bbl/day

Oil proved reserves

0 bbl

Natural gas production

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Current account balance

-$5.339 billion (October 2006)

Exports

$1.881 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports commodities

authentic jewelry, inorganic chemicals, miscellaneous consumer goods, fruit, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper

Exports partners

Syria 26.4%, UAE 11.8%, Switzerland 7.9%, Saudi Arabia 5.6%, Turkey 4.4% (2006)

Imports

$9.34 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports commodities

petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco

Imports partners

Syria 11.4%, Italy 9.6%, US 9.2%, France 7.6%, Germany 5.9%, China 4.9%, Saudi Arabia 4.7% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$16.78 billion (2006 est.)

Debt external

$31.1 billion (2006 est.)

Economic aid recipient

$2.2 billion received (2003) from the $4.2 billion in soft loans pledged at the November 2002 Paris II Aid Conference

Currency code

Lebanese pound (LBP)

Exchange rates

Lebanese pounds per US dollar - 1,507.5 (2006), 1,507.5 (2005), 1,507.5 (2004), 1,507.5 (2003), 1,507.5 (2002)

Communications - Lebanon:

Fiscal year

calendar year

Telephones main lines in use

681,400 (2006)

Telephones mobile cellular

1.103 million (2006)

Telephone system

general assessment: repair of the telecommunications system, severely damaged during the civil war, now complete
domestic: 2 commercial wireless networks provide good service; political instability hampers privatization and deployment of new technologies
international: country code - 961; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean) (erratic operations); coaxial cable to Syria; 3 submarine coaxial cables

Radio broadcast stations

AM 20, FM 22, shortwave 4 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

15 (plus 5 repeaters) (1995)

Internet country code

.lb

Internet hosts

3,307 (2006)

Internet users

950,000 (2006)

Transportation - Lebanon:

Airports

7 (2006)

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 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2006)

Pipelines

gas 43 km (2006)

Railways

total: 401 km
standard gauge: 319 km 1.435 m
narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050 m
note: rail system became unusable because of damage done during fighting in the 1980s and in 2006 (2006)

Roadways

total: 7,300 km
paved: 6,198 km
unpaved: 1,102 km (1999)

Merchant marine

total: 39 ships (1000 GRT or over) 150,598 GRT/178,295 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 18, livestock carrier 10, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 3, vehicle carrier 3
foreign-owned: 4 (Greece 3, Syria 1)
registered in other countries: 59 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Barbados 1, Cambodia 6, Comoros 6, Egypt 2, Georgia 7, Honduras 1, North Korea 6, Liberia 2, Malta 10, Mongolia 1, Panama 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4, Sao Tome and Principe 1, Syria 7, unknown 2) (2006)

Ports and terminals

Beirut, Chekka, Jounie, Tripoli

Military - Lebanon:

Military branches

Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Army, Navy, and Air Force (2007)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; in May 2005, conscript service obligation reduced from 12 to 6 months over a 2-year period; conscripts eligible to volunteer for 5 years of military service upon completing 6 months of conscript service; Lebanon is moving toward a predominantly professional armed forces (2005)

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 974,363
females age 18-49: 1,024,273 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 821,762
females age 18-49: 865,770 (2005 est.)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 405,425 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)), 20,000-40,000 (Iraq)
IDPs: 17,000 (1975-90 civil war, Israeli invasions), 200,000 (July-August 2006 war) (2006)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

3.1% (2005 est.)

Disputes international

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 Shaba 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

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>


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