[Country map of Lebanon]


Note--Lebanon has made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions and regaining its national sovereignty since the end of the devastating 16-year civil war which began in 1975. 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. Since December 1990, the Lebanese have formed three cabinets and conducted the first legislative election in 20 years. Most of the militias have been weakened or disbanded. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has seized vast quantities of weapons used by the militias during the war and extended central government authority over about one-half of the country. Hizballah, the radical Sh'ia party, retains most of its weapons. Foreign forces still occupy areas of Lebanon. Israel maintains troops in southern Lebanon and continues to support a proxy militia, The Army of South Lebanon (ASL), along a narrow stretch of territory contiguous to its border. The ASL's enclave encompasses this self-declared security zone and about 20 kilometers north to the strategic town of Jazzine. As of December 1993, Syria maintained about 30,000-35,000 troops in Lebanon. These troops are based mainly in Beirut, North Lebanon, and the Bekaa Valley. Syria's deployment was legitimized by the Arab League early in Lebanon's civil war and in the Ta'if accord. Citing the continued weakness of the LAF, Beirut's requests, and failure of the Lebanese Government to implement all of the constitutional reforms in the Ta'if accord, Damascus has so far refused to withdraw its troops from Beirut.


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

Map references: Middle East

total area: 10,400 sq km
land area: 10,230 sq km
comparative area: about 0.8 times the size of Connecticut

Land boundaries: total 454 km, Israel 79 km, Syria 375 km

Coastline: 225 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: separated from Israel by the 1949 Armistice Line; Israeli troops in southern Lebanon since June 1982; Syrian troops in northern, central, and eastern Lebanon since October 1976

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

Terrain: narrow coastal plain; Al Biqa' (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains

Natural resources: limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region

Land use:
arable land: 21%
permanent crops: 9%
meadows and pastures: 1%
forest and woodland: 8%
other: 61%

Irrigated land: 860 sq km (1989 est.)

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
natural hazards: duststorms, sandstorms
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified - Desertification, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation

Note: Nahr al 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


Population: 3,695,921 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (female 657,403; male 682,757)
15-64 years: 58% (female 1,131,450; male 1,016,859)
65 years and over: 6% (female 111,585; male 95,867) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.15% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 27.9 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 6.44 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 38 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.69 years
male: 67.22 years
female: 72.28 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.31 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese

Ethnic divisions: Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%

Religions: Islam 70% (5 legally recognized Islamic groups - Alawite or Nusayri, Druze, Isma'ilite, Shi'a, Sunni), Christian 30% (11 legally recognized Christian groups - 4 Orthodox Christian, 6 Catholic, 1 Protestant), Judaism NEGL%

Languages: Arabic (official), French (official), Armenian, English

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population: 80%
male: 88%
female: 73%

Labor force: 650,000
by occupation: industry, commerce, and services 79%, agriculture 11%, government 10% (1985)


conventional long form: Republic of Lebanon
conventional short form: Lebanon
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
local short form: none

Digraph: LE

Type: republic

Capital: Beirut

Administrative divisions: 5 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Biqa, 'Al Janub, Ash Shamal, Bayrut, Jabal Lubnan

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

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 Ilyas HARAWI (since 24 November 1989); note - by custom, the president is a Maronite Christian, the prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the legislature is a Shi'a Muslim
head of government: Prime Minister Rafiq HARIRI (since 22 October 1992)
cabinet: Cabinet; chosen by the president in consultation with the members of the National Assembly

Legislative branch: unicameral
National Assembly: (Arabic - Majlis Alnuwab, French - Assemblee Nationale) Lebanon's first legislative election in 20 years was held in the summer of 1992; the National Assembly is composed of 128 deputies, one-half Christian and one-half Muslim; its mandate expires in 1996

Judicial branch: four Courts of Cassation (three courts for civil and commercial cases and one court for criminal cases)

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


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Riyad TABBARAH
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

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: (vacant)
embassy: Antelias, Beirut
address: P. O. Box 70-840, Beirut; PSC 815, Box 2, Beirut; FPO AE 09836-0002
telephone: [961] (1) 402200, 403300, 416502, 426183, 417774
FAX: [961] (1) 407112

Flag: three horizontal bands of red (top), white (double width), and red with a green and brown cedar tree centered in the white band


Overview: The 1975-1991 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. A tentative peace has enabled the central government to begin restoring control in Beirut, collect taxes, and regain access to key port and government facilities. The battered economy has also been propped up by a financially sound banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers. Family remittances, banking transactions, manufactured and farm exports, the narcotics trade, and international emergency aid are the main sources of foreign exchange. In the relatively settled year of 1991, industrial production, agricultural output, and exports showed substantial gains. The further rebuilding of the war-ravaged country was delayed in 1992 because of an upturn in political wrangling. In October 1992, Rafiq HARIRI was appointed Prime Minister. HARIRI, a wealthy entrepreneur, announced ambitious plans for Lebanon's reconstruction which involve a substantial influx of foreign aid and investment. Progress on restoring basic services is limited. Since Prime Minister HARIRI's appointment, the most significant improvement lies in the stabilization of the Lebanese pound, which had gained over 30% in value by yearend 1993. The years 1993 and 1994 were marked by efforts of the new administration to encourage domestic and foreign investment and to obtain additional international assistance. The construction sector led the 8.5% advance in real GDP in 1994.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $15.8 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 8.5% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $4,360 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 12% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 35% (1993 est.)

revenues: $1.4 billion
expenditures: $3.2 billion (1994 est.)

Exports: $925 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: agricultural products, chemicals, textiles, precious and semiprecious metals and jewelry, metals and metal products
partners: Saudi Arabia 21%, Switzerland 9.5%, Jordan 6%, Kuwait 12%, US 5%

Imports: $4.1 billion (c.i.f., 1993 est.)
commodities: consumer goods, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
partners: Italy 14%, France 12%, US 6%, Turkey 5%, Saudi Arabia 3%

External debt: $765 million (1994 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 25% (1993 est.)

capacity: 1,220,000 kW
production: 2.5 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 676 kWh (1993)

Industries: banking, food processing, textiles, cement, oil refining, chemicals, jewelry, some metal fabricating

Agriculture: principal products - citrus fruits, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco, hemp (hashish), sheep, goats; not self-sufficient in grain

Illicit drugs: illicit producer of hashish and heroin for the international drug trade; hashish production is shipped to Western Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America; increasingly a key locus of cocaine processing and trafficking; a Lebanese/Syrian 1994 eradication campaign eliminated the opium crop and caused a 50% decrease in the cannabis crop

Economic aid: the government estimates that it has received $1.7 billion in aid and has an additional $725 million in commitments to support its $3 billion National Emergency Recovery Program

Currency: 1 Lebanese pound (#L) = 100 piasters

Exchange rates: Lebanese pounds (#L) per US$1 - 1,644.6 (January 1995), 1,680.1 (1994), 1,741.4 (1993), 1,712.8 (1992), 928.23 (1991), 695.09 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 222 km
standard gauge: 222 km 1.435-m
note: system in disrepair, considered inoperable

total: 7,300 km
paved: 6,200 km
unpaved: gravel 450 km; improved earth 650 km

Pipelines: crude oil 72 km (none in operation)

Ports: Al Batrun, Al Mina, An Naqurah, Antilyas, Az Zahrani, Beirut, Jubayl, Juniyah, Shikka Jadidah, Sidon, Tripoli, Tyre

Merchant marine:
total: 64 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 260,383 GRT/381,937 DWT
ships by type: bulk 4, cargo 41, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, livestock carrier 6, refrigerated cargo 3, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 2

total: 9
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 2
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1


Telephone system: 325,000 telephones; 95 telephones/1,000 persons; telecommunications system severely damaged by civil war; rebuilding still underway
local: NA
intercity: primarily microwave radio relay and cable
international: 2 INTELSAT (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean) earth stations (erratic operations); coaxial cable to Syria; microwave radio relay to Syria but inoperable beyond Syria to Jordan; 3 submarine coaxial cables

broadcast stations: AM 5, FM 3, shortwave 0; note - numerous AM and FM stations are operated sporadically by various factions
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 13
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF; includes Army, Navy, and Air Force)

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 857,698; males fit for military service 533,640 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $278 million, 5.5% of GDP (1994)