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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

Map of Lebanon

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Lebanon Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Lebanon has made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions since 1991 and the end of the devastating 15-year civil war. Under the Ta'if Accord - the blueprint for national reconciliation - the Lebanese have established a more equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater say in the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the government. Since the end of the war, the Lebanese have conducted several successful elections, most of the militias have been weakened or disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have extended central government authority over about two-thirds of the country. Hizballah, a radical Shia 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. Damascus justified its continued military presence in Lebanon by citing Beirut's requests and the failure of the Lebanese Government to implement all of the constitutional reforms in the Ta'if Accord. Israel's 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 Syria's presence in Lebanon. Syria finally withdrew the remainder of its forces from Lebanon in April of 2005.
   Geography    Lebanon Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
33 50 N, 35 50 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Middle East
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 10,400 sq km
land: 10,230 sq km
water: 170 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
about 0.7 times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 454 km
border countries: Israel 79 km, Syria 375 km
Definition Field Listing
225 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
Definition Field Listing
Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; Lebanon mountains experience heavy winter snows
Definition Field Listing
narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Qurnat as Sawda' 3,088 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 16.62%
permanent crops: 13.98%
other: 69.4% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,200 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
dust storms, sandstorms
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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 Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,826,018 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 26.7% (male 520,270/female 499,609)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 1,216,738/female 1,324,031)
65 years and over: 6.9% (male 120,176/female 145,194) (2005 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 27.34 years
male: 26.28 years
female: 28.43 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.26% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.88 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.24 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 24.52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 27.19 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 72.63 years
male: 70.17 years
female: 75.21 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.92 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,800 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 200 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 59.7% (Shi'a, 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: seventeen religious sects recognized
Definition Field Listing
Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.4%
male: 93.1%
female: 82.2% (2003 est.)
   Government    Lebanon Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Lebanese Republic
conventional short form: Lebanon
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
local short form: Lubnan
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
6 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Beyrouth, Beqaa, Liban-Nord, Liban-Sud, Mont-Liban, Nabatiye
Definition Field Listing
22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 22 November (1943)
Definition Field Listing
23 May 1926; amended a number of times, most recently Charter of Lebanese National Reconciliation (Ta'if Accord) of October 1989
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
mixture of Ottoman law, canon law, Napoleonic code, and civil law; no judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
21 years of age; compulsory for all males; authorized for women at age 21 with elementary education
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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; election last held 15 October 1998 (next election date NA); note - on 3 September 2004 the National Assembly voted 96 to 29 to extend Emile LAHUD's 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 legislature 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:
Definition Field Listing
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; Loyalty to the Resistance 14; Free Patriotic Movement 14; Lebanese Forces 6; Qornet Shewan 5; Popular Bloc 4; Tripoli Independent Bloc 3; Syrian National Socialist Party 2; Kataeb Reform Movement 2; Tachnaq Party 2; Democratic Renewal Movement 1; Democratic Left 1; Nasserite Popular Movement 1; Ba'th Party 1; Kataeb Party 1; independent 5
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 the president and prime minister as needed)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Ba'th Party [leader NA]; Democratic Gathering [Walid JUNBLATT]; Democratic Left [leader NA]; Development and Resistance Bloc [Nabih BARRI, Amal leader/speaker]; Free Patriotic Movement [Michel AWN]; Future Movement Bloc [Sa'ad HARIRI]; Kataeb Party [leader NA]; Kataeb Reform Movement [leader NA]; Lebanese Forces [leader NA]; Loyalty to the Resistance [Mohammad RA'AD]; Nasserite Popular Movement [leader NA]; Popular Bloc [leader NA]; Qornet Shewan [leader NA]; Syrian National Socialist Party [leader NA]; Tripoli Independent Bloc [leader NA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Farid ABBOUD
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6300
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Jeffrey D. FELTMAN
embassy: Awkar, Lebanon
mailing address: P. O. Box 70-840, Antelias, Lebanon; PSC 815, Box 2, FPO AE 09836-0002
telephone: [961] (4) 542600, 543600
FAX: [961] (4) 544136
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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 Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
The 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. 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 HARIRI government began an austerity program, reining in government expenditures, increasing revenue collection, and privatizing state enterprises. In November 2002, the government met with international donors at the Paris II conference to seek bilateral assistance in restructuring its massive domestic debt at lower rates of interest. Substantial receipts from donor nations stabilized government finances in 2003, but did little to reduce the debt, which stood at nearly 180% of GDP. In 2004 the HARIRI government issued Eurobonds in an effort to manage maturing debt, and the KARAMI government has continued this practice. However, privatization of state-owned enterprises had not occurred by the end of 2004, as promised during the Paris II conference.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$18.83 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $5,000 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 12%
industry: 21%
services: 67% (2000)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.6 million
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture NA, industry NA, services NA
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18% (1997 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
28% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
26% of GDP (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $4.895 billion
expenditures: $6.642 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2004 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
177.9% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Definition Field Listing
banking, food processing, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.066 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.591 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
1.09 billion kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
107,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-2.389 billion (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.783 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
authentic jewelry, inorganic chemicals, miscellaneous consumer goods, fruit, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Syria 24.9%, UAE 10%, Turkey 6.9%, Switzerland 6.7%, Saudi Arabia 5.3% (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$8.162 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Italy 11.2%, France 10.3%, Syria 9.8%, Germany 8.6%, China 5.8%, US 5.5%, UK 4.6% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$16.3 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$15.84 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$2.2 billion received (2003), out of the $4.2 billion in soft loans pledged at the November 2002 Paris II Aid Conference
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Lebanese pound (LBP)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Lebanese pounds per US dollar - 1,507.5 (2004), 1,507.5 (2003), 1,507.5 (2002), 1,507.5 (2001), 1,507.5 (2000)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Lebanon Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
678,800 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
775,100 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: telecommunications system severely damaged by civil war; rebuilding well underway
domestic: primarily microwave radio relay and cable
international: country code - 961; 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:
Definition Field Listing
AM 20, FM 22, shortwave 4 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
15 (plus 5 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6,998 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
400,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Lebanon Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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 during the civil war in the 1980s; short sections are operable (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 7,300 km
paved: 6,198 km
unpaved: 1,102 km (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
oil 209 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Beirut, Chekka, Jounie, Tripoli
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 44 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 198,602 GRT/248,313 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 26, livestock carrier 8, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 2, vehicle carrier 3
foreign-owned: 6 (Austria 1, Greece 5)
registered in other countries: 40 (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
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 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
   Military    Lebanon Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Army, Navy, and Air Force
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18-30 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 974,363 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 821,762 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$540.6 million (2002) (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.1% (FY99) (2004)
   Transnational Issues    Lebanon Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
intense international pressure prompts the removal of Syrian troops and intelligence personnel from Lebanon; Lebanese Government claims Shab'a Farms area of Israeli-occupied Golan Heights; the roughly 2,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has been in place since 1978
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
refugees (country of origin): 394,532 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA))
IDPs: 300,000 (1975-90 civil war, Israeli invasions) (2004)
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
cannabis cultivation dramatically reduced to 2,500 hectares in 2002; opium poppy cultivation minimal; small amounts of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin transit country on way to European markets and for Middle Eastern consumption

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

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