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Introduction Lebanon
Lebanon has made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions since 1991 and end of devastating 16-year civil war. Under Ta'if Accord - blueprint for national reconciliation - Lebanese have established a more equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater say in political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in government. Since end of war, Lebanese have conducted several successful elections, most of militias have been weakened or disbanded, and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have extended central government authority over about two-thirds of country. Hizballah, radical Shi'a party, retains its weapons. Syria maintains about 16,000 troops in Lebanon, based mainly east of Beirut and in Bekaa Valley. Syria's troop deployment previously legitimized by Arab League during Lebanon's civil war and in Ta'if Accord. Damascus justifies its continued military presence in Lebanon by citing Beirut's requests and failure of Lebanese Government to implement all of constitutional reforms in Ta'if Accord. Israel's withdrawal from its security zone in southern Lebanon in May 2000, however, has emboldened some Lebanese Christians and Druze to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well.
Geography Lebanon
Middle East, bordering Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria
Geographic coordinates:
33 50 N, 35 50 E
Map references:
Middle East
total: 10,400 sq km
water: 170 sq km
land: 10,230 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.7 times size of Connecticut
Land boundaries:
total: 454 km
border countries: Israel 79 km, Syria 375 km
225 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 NM
Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; Lebanon mountains experience heavy winter snows
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: 17.6%
permanent crops: 12.51%
other: 69.89% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
1,200 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
dust storms, sandstorms
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Beirut from vehicular traffic and burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage and oil spills
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
Nahr el Litani 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
Total Population:
3,727,703 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.1% (male 514,447; female 494,166)
15-64 years: 66.1% (male 1,177,773; female 1,286,433)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 115,693; female 139,191) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.4 years
male: 25.4 years
female: 27.5 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
1.34% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
19.68 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
6.32 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
Population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 26.43 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 23.51 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 29.22 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 72.07 years
male: 69.64 years
female: 74.61 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.98 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.09% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese
Ethnic groups:
Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
Muslim 70% (including Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 30% (including Orthodox Christian, Catholic, Protestant), Jewish NEGL%
Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
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 short form: Lubnan
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
6 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Beyrouth, Beqaa, Liban-Nord, Liban-Sud, Mont-Liban, Nabatiye
22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 22 November (1943)
23 May 1926, amended a number of times, most recently Charter of Lebanese National Reconciliation (Ta'if 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
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 Rafiq HARIRI (since 23 October 2000); Deputy Prime Minister Issam FARES (since 23 October 2000); note - HARIRI resigned on 15 April 2003, but previously reappointed next day
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by prime minister in consultation with president and members of National Assembly
elections: president elected by National Assembly for a six-year term; election last held 15 October 1998 (next to be held NA 2004); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by president in consultation with National Assembly; by custom, president is a Maronite Christian, prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, and speaker of legislature is a Shi'a Muslim
election results: 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 basis of sectarian proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 27 August and 3 September 2000 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - Muslim 57% (of which Sunni 25%, Sh'ite 25%, Druze 6%, Alawite less than 1%), Christian 43% (of which Maronite 23%); seats by party - Muslim 64 (of which Sunni 27, Sh'ite 27, Druze 8, Alawite 2), Christian 64 (of which Maronite 34)
Judicial branch:
four Courts of Cassation (three courts for civil and commercial cases and one court for criminal cases); Constitutional Council (called for in Ta'if Accord - rules on constitutionality of laws); Supreme Council (hears charges against president and prime minister as needed)
Political parties and leaders:
political party activity is organized along largely sectarian lines; numerous political groupings exist, consisting of individual political figures and followers motivated by religious, clan, and economic considerations
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Farid ABBOUD
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6320
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Vincent Martin BATTLE
embassy: Awkar, Lebanon
mailing address: P. O. Box 70840, Awkar, Lebanon; PSC 815, Box 2, FPO AE 09836-0002
telephone: 011-961-4-543-600/542-600
FAX: 011-961-4-544-136
Flag description:
three horizontal bands of red (top), white (double width), and red with a green cedar tree centered in white band
Economy Lebanon
Economy - overview:
1975-91 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. Peace enabled central government to restore control in Beirut, begin collecting taxes, and regain access to key port and government facilities. Economic recovery previously helped by a financially sound banking system and resilient limited - and medium-scale manufacturers. Family remittances, banking services, manufactured and farm exports, and international aid provided main sources of foreign exchange. Lebanon's economy made impressive gains since launch in 1993 of "Horizon 2000," government's $20 billion reconstruction program. Real GDP grew 8% in 1994, 7% in 1995, 4% in 1996 and in 1997, but slowed to 1.2% in 1998, -1.6% in 1999, -0.6% in 2000, 0.8% in 2001, and 1.5% in 2002. During 1990s annual inflation fell to almost 0% from more than 100%. Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure. government nonetheless faces serious challenges in economic arena. It has funded reconstruction by borrowing heavily - mostly from domestic banks. In order to reduce ballooning national debt, re-installed HARIRI government began an economic austerity program to rein in government expenditures, increase revenue collection, and privatize state enterprises. HARIRI government met with international donors at Paris II conference in November 2002 to seek bilateral assistance restructuring its domestic debt at lower rates of interest. While privatization of state-owned enterprises had not occurred by end of 2002, government had successfully avoided a currency devaluation and debt default in 2002.
buying power parity - $17.61 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $4,800 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 21%
services: 67% (2000)
Population below poverty line:
28% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.5% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
1.5 million
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
services NA%, industry NA%, agriculture NA%
Unemployment rate:
18% (1997 est.)
revenues: $3.1 billion
expenditures: $5.9 billion, includes capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
banking; food processing; jewelry; cement; textiles; mineral and chemical products; wood and furniture products; oil refining; metal fabricating
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
6.728 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 97.2%
hydro: 2.8%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
7.44 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
1.183 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
107,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
$1 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
foodstuffs and tobacco, textiles, chemicals, precious stones, metal products, electrical products, jewelry, paper products
Exports - partners:
Switzerland 10.8%, Saudi Arabia 9%, UAE 8.6%, US 6.7%, Jordan 4.6%, Turkey 4.3% (2002)
$6 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, electrical products, vehicles, minerals, chemicals, textiles, fuels
Imports - partners:
Italy 11.3%, France 10.7%, Germany 8.4%, US 5.6%, Syria 5.4%, China 4.8%, Belgium 4.5%, UK 4.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$9.3 billion (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$3.5 billion (pledges 1997-2001) $4.2 billion in pledges November 2002 Paris II Aid Conference
Lebanese pound (LBP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Lebanese pounds per US dollar - 1,507.5 (2002), 1,507.5 (2001), 1,507.5 (2000), 1,507.84 (1999), 1,516.13 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Lebanon
Telephones - main lines in use:
700,000 (1999)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
580,000 (1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: telecommunications system severely damaged by civil war; rebuilding well underway
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay and cable
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean) (erratic operations); coaxial cable to Syria; microwave radio relay to Syria but inoperable beyond Syria to Jordan; 3 submarine coaxial cables
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 20, FM 22, shortwave 4 (1998)
2.85 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
15 (plus 5 repeaters) (1995)
1.18 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
22 (2000)
Internet users:
300,000 (2001)
Transportation Lebanon
total: 401 km
standard gauge: 319 km 1.435-m
note: rail system is unusable because of damage in civil war (2002)
narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m
total: 7,300 km
paved: 6,198 km
unpaved: 1,102 km (1999 est.)
oil 209 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Antilyas, Batroun, Beirut, Chekka, El Mina, Ez Zahrani, Jbail, Jounie, Naqoura, Sidon, Tripoli, Tyre
Merchant marine:
total: 56 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 230,142 GRT/306,442 DWT
ships by type: bulk 5, cargo 28, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, container 4, liquefied gas 1, livestock carrier 9, roll on/roll off 4, vehicle carrier 3
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: France 1, Greece 10, Netherlands 4, Panama 1, Saint Vincent and Grenadines 2, Spain 1, Syria 2 (2002 est.)
8 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Military Lebanon
Military branches:
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF; includes Army, Navy, and Air Force)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,025,984 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 630,657 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$541 million (2002)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.8% (FY99)
Transnational Issues Lebanon
Disputes - international:
Syrian troops in central and eastern Lebanon since October 1976; Lebanese Government claims Shab'a Farms area of Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
Illicit drugs:
cannabis cultivation dramatically reduced to 2,500 hectares in 2002; opium poppy cultivation minimal; limited amounts of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin transit country on way to US and European markets