About Lebanon

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National Institutions
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Culture
Lebanese Institute for Social and Economic Development
Industrial Research Institute Lebanese Transparency Association
Ministry of Interior - Internal Security Forces
Ministry of Tourism Research
Ministry of Public Health
Ministry of Economy and Trade
Ministry of Social Affairs
Ministry of Justice
Consulate General of Lebanon, Sydney
Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform
National Council for Scientific Research
Ministry of Information
Ministry of Industry Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants
Ministry of Post and Telecom.
General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture
Lebanese Contractors Syndicate
Ministry of Interior and Municipalities Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Agriculture
Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon
Lebanese Businessmen Association
ICC Lebanon
Lebanese International Business Council
Syndicate of Lebanese Food Industries
Association of Lebanese Industrialists
Industrialists, Traders and Craftsmen Association
Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Tripoli
Syndicate of Agrifood Traders in Lebanon
Anima - Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies
Institute for Language
Ministry of social affairs
Mt. Lebanon Fire Department
Ministry of Public Works and Transportations
Political Parties
Progressive Socialist Party
El Marada Party
Free Lebanon - The Unofficial General Michel Aoun Website
Lebanese Forces Party
Al Mashriq - Hizbullah - Party of God
Hizbollah - Islamic Resistance Party
Lebanese Communist Party
Lebanese Forces National Liberal Party
Lebanese Christian Falangist Party of America
International Lebanese United Phoenician Party
General Information
The World Factbook
Atlapedia Online
Information Please: Countries of the World
Political Information
Elections around the world
Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members
Political Leaders
World Statesmen
Political Resources on the Net
Regents of the world
Information from Encyclopedias
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Touristic Information
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Other Information
Human Development Report
Ethnologue: Languages of the World
Flags Of The World
World Flag Database
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Lebanon -- Geography --

Official Name: al-Jumhuriyah al-LUbnanniyah
Capital City: Beirut
Languages: Arabic (official); English, French are widely spoken
Official Currency: Lebanese pound
Religions: Christianity, Muslim
Population: 2,897,000
Land Area: 10,452 sq km
Landforms: Mountains cover a huge part of the country; the highest peak is situated in the Lebanese mountains and its height is 3 088m. The ridge Antilebanon is situated to the south and the valley Bekaa is between both mountains.
Land Divisions: 6 provinces (muhafaza): Northern Lebanon, Mountainous Lebanon, Beirut, Southern Lebanon, Bekaa and Nabathie; divided into 26 districts; part of the territory is under the military control of Syria and Israel.

Lebanon -- History --

Inhabited since the Paleolithic, in the 2nd millennium B.C. the Lebanese coast witnessed the rise of the famous Phoenician cit-sites of Byblos, Sidon, Tyre, and Berytus. These centres so important for the development of the first Mediterranean civilizations, were destroyed several times but never entirely wiped out by the numerous overlords who ruled the region over the centuries, each leaving important architectural remains. Under the Arabs, the coast and especially the Lebanon mountains became a natural refuge for a variety of religious communities. These different groups established relations of reciprocal tolerance that would characterize later Lebanese history. After the Ottoman conquest of 1516, the first nationalist-inspired uprisings occurred, followed by the first religious persecutions by the Turk; in the 19th century, those persecutions allowed the European powers, France in particular, to advance their own interests by coming to the defense of the local Christian community.
The Organic regulation of 1864 guaranteed Lebanon’s autonomy within the Ottoman empire, and ties with France intensified to the point that, when the Turkish empire crumbled after World War I, France obtained a League of Nations mandate over the newly created state of Greater Lebanon (1920).
Independence repeatedly promised since 1936, was finally granted after World War II. The political system established distributed power among Lebanon’s various religious groups, but within a few years, despite great economic prosperity, latent conflicts worsened. There was a civil war and two alliances appeared. Even within the alliances there was no shortage of lacerating internal battles.
In 1976 Syria took a hand in the conflict with a massive military occupation, one of the consequences of which was the attack unleashed against Palestinian strongholds. The Israeli armed forces also intervened directly and took up position in southern Lebanon (1982-1986); multinational troops sent in as arbitrators were largely ineffectual.
After years of bloodshed that exhausted Beirut and the entire country- a period in which political power became split between two governments and two presidents supported simultaneously by the opposing coalitions- in May 1991 a treaty of “brotherhood, cooperation, and coordination” between Lebanese president Elias Hraoui and the Syrians offered some hope for a normal life: the disarmament plan subsequently accepted by the parties to the conflict pointed in the same direction.

Lebanon -- Economy --

The Lebanese population is famous for its entrepreneurship. In the course of time the emigration has improved the Lebanese “market fields” all around the world. There is a huge percentage of skilled workers, comparable even to the European countries and this percentage is the highest amongst the Arab countries
But the flourishing economy once so characteristic of Lebanon has disappeared, and some sectors are now struggling to survive under difficult conditions. Agriculture and industry are not highly developed. Agriculture had undergone profound changes, both structurally (as large estates were converted into smaller holdings and cooperatives) and in terms of cultivation methods. The Bekaa valley had begun producing large quantities of grain. Production is nevertheless highly diversified due to the range of climates present: there are citrus groves on the coast, orchards and vineyards in the rainy interior, and olive trees in the arid regions. Apples, tobacco, different vegetables, bananas etc. grow there. The agricultural sector employs barely 11% of the economically active population, and because of the incessant state of war, it has had to forfeit many opportunities for export, especially to other Arab states. The percentage of agriculture in GDP is at around 11.7% which makes this sector the weakest compared with the others.
The industrial sector has never made much of a contribution to the Lebanese economy, since the country lacks raw materials which must therefore be imported from abroad. Light industries of various kinds are located for the most part in the capital. Petroleum refineries had been established in the past, situated around Tyre and Sidon (modern Sayda) at the outlets of the oil pipelines (now closed) from Syria and Iraq. Main branches of the industrial sector are: petroleum processing, textile ,food and beverage, building, chemical. Animals are not much bred. Industry occupies the second position in the economy- 26% of the labour force and again the second place as for the GDP-21%.
A huge part of the labour force in Lebanon prefers working in the sphere of services –that is at around 65%. It is due to the various working opportunities and the big salaries. The part of the third sector is huge enough and is roughly 67,3%. Commerce, financial system and banks and tourism are well-developed. Leading ports are Beirut, Tripoli, Sidon. International airport-Beirut.

Lebanon -- Culture --

Lebanese nationals, particularly some Christians, tend to emphasize aspects of Lebanon's non-Arab, history as a mark of respect to encompass all of Lebanon's historical makeup instead of only that which began during the Arab conquests, an attitude that prevails in the rest of the Arab world.
In this respect, it would be wrong to dismiss Lebanon's mosaic culture as merely Arab when it is clear that it is a blend of indigenous and invading or foreign cultures that have given it the title of the crossroads between east and west for centuries. This picture is seen most clearly in Lebanon, a land of complete contrasts, and a land that cannot be defined by one culture alone, except if one were to bring them altogether and classify them as 'Lebanese'.
In a concession to Lebanon's Arab and indigenous pre-Arab heritage, some Lebanese prefer to see Lebanon and its culture as part of a “Mediterranean" or "Levantine" civilization. Arab influence, nevertheless, applies to virtually all aspects of the modern Lebanese culture.
Practically everyone born and raised in Lebanon, communicate and have the Lebanese dialect of Arabic as their mother tongue, to the exception of the Kurdish and Armenian minority, though even these use it as a lingua franca when to communicate with those outside their ethnic groups. This universality of Lebanese Arabic applies to all Lebanese-of any religious groups.
Language, food, music, arts and various cultural facets are local Lebanese and performed practically all in Arabic. In the globalized world today, Lebanese youth of all faiths are quite westernized in outlook, breaking away with traditions like most other people of larger cities around the world who previously adhered to their traditional cultures in areas such as dating, music, food, etc.
Food and music overlap greatly with those of Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine and Turkey, since all were Ottoman provinces for some 521 years. Dress was historically similar to the Ottoman's, but remains only as part of the folk culture. Today, everyday dress has been replaced by western standards, an occurrence that has been seen in other countries around the world, such as Japan.
Lebanese music is known around the world for its soothing rhythms and wild beats. Traditional and folk music are extremely popular as are western rhythms. Perhaps the best-known and listened to Lebanese singer is Fairuz. Her songs are broadcast every morning on most radio stations and many TV channels, both in Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East and the Arab world in general. Other artists are also well known and loved like Majida El Roumi, Marcel Khalife who is also a composer, and Julia Boutros. Some Lebanese artists like Najwa Karam and Assi Hellani remain loyal to a traditional type of music known as 'Jabali' (from the mountains), while many other artists incorporate western style into their songs. Lebanese artists are perhaps the most popular in the Middle East alongside Egyptian performers, and the star scene includes prominent figures likeNajwa Karam, Nancy Ajram, Elissa, Haifa Wehbe, Ragheb Alame, Myriam Fares etc. There is a perfect tolerance for foreign or western music too.

Lebanon -- Political system, law and government --

Lebanon is a parliamentary democracy within the overall framework of confessionalism, in which the highest offices are proportionately reserved for representatives from certain religious communities. The constitution grants the people the right to change their government. However, from the mid-1970s until the parliamentary elections in 1992, civil war precluded the exercise of political rights. According to the constitution, direct elections must be held for the parliament every 4 years. The last parliament election was in 2005. The Parliament, in turn, elects a President every 6 years to a single term. The President is not eligible for re-election. The last presidential election was in 1998. The president and parliament choose the Prime Minister. Political parties may be formed; most are based on sectarian interests.Syria has been charged by Arab League with disentangling the combatants and restoring calm the from the time of the second Lebanese Civil War (which began in 1975) until 2005. Israel occupied parts of Lebanon from 1978 to 2000.
Executive branch: The President (Michel Sleiman for the time being) is elected by the Parliament for a six-year term. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are appointed by the President in consultation with the Parliament; the president is required to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the Parliament a Shi’a Muslim. This confessional system is based on 1932 census data which showed the Maronite Christians as having a substantial majority of the population, something which it no longer holds. The Government of Lebanon continues to refuse to undertake a new census.
Lebanon's national legislature is called the Assembly of Representatives. Since the elections of 1992 that removed the built-in majority previously enjoyed by Christians and distributed the seats equally between Christians and Muslims, the Parliament has had 128 seats. The term was four years, but has recently been extended to five.
Seats in the Parliament are confessionally distributed but elected by universal suffrage. Each religious community has an allotted number of seats in the Parliament. The system was designed to minimize inter-sectarian competition and maximize cross-confessional cooperation: candidates are opposed only by co-religionists, but must seek support from outside of their own faith in order to be elected.
Lebanon has numerous political parties, but they play a much less significant role in Lebanese politics than they do in most parliamentary democracies. Many of the "parties" are simply lists of candidates endorsed by a prominent national or local figure. Loose coalitions, usually organized locally, are formed for electoral purposes by negotiation among clan leaders and candidates representing various religious communities; such coalitions usually exist only for the election.
The judicial branch is of: Four Courts of Cassation;The Constitutional Council(rules on constitutionality of laws); The Supreme Council(hears charges against the president and prime minister as needed); a system of military courts that also has jurisdiction over civilians for the crimes of espionage, treason, and other crimes that are considered to be security-related.

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