/leb"euh neuhn/ or, esp. for 1, /-non'/, n.
1. a republic at the E end of the Mediterranean, N of Israel. 3,858,736; 3927 sq. mi. (10,170 sq. km). Cap.: Beirut.
2. a city in SE Pennsylvania. 25,711.
3. a city in N central Tennessee. 11,872.
4. a town in central Indiana. 11,456.
5. a town in W New Hampshire. 11,134.
6. a town in W Oregon. 10,413.

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Introduction Lebanon
Background: Lebanon has made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions since 1991 and the end of the devastating 16-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, the radical Shi'a party, retains its weapons. Syria maintains about 20,000 troops in Lebanon based mainly in Beirut, North Lebanon, and the Bekaa Valley. Syria's troop deployment was legitimized by the Arab League during Lebanon's civil war and in the Ta'if Accord. Damascus justifies 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 its security zone in southern Lebanon in May of 2000, however, has emboldened some Lebanese Christians and Druze to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well. Geography 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 water: 170 sq km land: 10,230 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: 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 the burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage and oil spills Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the 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
Population: 3,677,780 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.3% (male 511,902; female 491,804) 15-64 years: 65.9% (male 1,157,688; female 1,267,106) 65 years and over: 6.8% (male 113,341; female 135,939) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.36% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 19.96 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 6.35 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/ female total population: 0.94 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 27.39 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 71.79 years female: 74.32 years (2002 est.) male: 69.38 years
Total fertility rate: 2.02 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.09% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Lebanese (singular and plural) adjective: Lebanese
Ethnic groups: Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
Religions: Muslim 70% (including Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 30% (including Orthodox Christian, Catholic, Protestant), Jewish NEGL%
Languages: Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 86.4% male: 90.8% female: 82.2% (1997 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: republic
Capital: Beirut Administrative divisions: 6 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); 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 (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
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 Rafiq HARIRI (since 23 October 2000); Deputy Prime Minister Issam FARES (since 23 October 2000) 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 to be held NA 2004); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly; 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 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 the 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 the 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 NA
leaders: International organization ABEDA, ACCT, AFESD, AL, AMF, CCC,
participation: ESCWA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer) Diplomatic representation in the 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 the chief of mission: Ambassador Vincent
US: Martin BATTLE (since 11 Sep. 2001) 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 and brown cedar tree centered in the white band Economy Lebanon -
Economy - overview: 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. Peace enabled the central government to restore control in Beirut, begin collecting taxes, and regain access to key port and government facilities. Economic recovery was helped by a financially sound banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers. Family remittances, banking services, manufactured and farm exports, and international aid provided the main sources of foreign exchange. Lebanon's economy made impressive gains since the launch in 1993 of "Horizon 2000," the government's $20 billion reconstruction program. Real GDP grew 8% in 1994, 7% in 1995, 4% in 1996 and in 1997 but slowed to 2% in 1998, -1% in 1999, and -0.5% in 2000. Growth recovered slightly in 2001 to 1%. During the 1990s annual inflation fell to almost 0% from more than 100%. Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure. The government nonetheless faces serious challenges in the economic arena. It has funded reconstruction by borrowing heavily - mostly from domestic banks. The re-installed HARIRI government has failed to rein in the ballooning national debt. Without large-scale international aid and rapid privatization of state-owned enterprises, markets may force a currency devaluation and debt default in 2002.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $18.8 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $5,200 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 12% industry: 21% services: 67% (2000) Population below poverty line: 28% (1999 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 1.5 million (2001 est.) note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (1999 est.) Labor force - by occupation: services NA%, industry NA%, agriculture NA%
Unemployment rate: 18% (1997 est.)
Budget: revenues: $4.6 billion expenditures: $8.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
Industries: banking; food processing; jewelry; cement; textiles; mineral and chemical products; wood and furniture products; oil refining; metal fabricating Industrial production growth rate: NA% Electricity - production: 7.95 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 96.86% hydro: 3.14% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 8.643 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 1.25 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Exports: $700 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: foodstuffs and tobacco, textiles, chemicals, precious stones, metal and metal products, electrical equipment and products, jewelry, paper and paper products
Exports - partners: Saudi Arabia 11%, UAE 11%, Switzerland 7%, US 7%, France 5%, Iraq 4%, Jordan 4%, Kuwait 4%, Syria 4% (2000)
Imports: $6.6 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, textiles, metals, fuels, agricultural foods
Imports - partners: Italy 11%, France 8%, Germany 8%, US 7%, Switzerland 6%, China 5%, Syria 5%, UK 4% (2000)
Debt - external: $8.4 billion (2001 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $3.5 billion (pledges 1997-2001)
Currency: Lebanese pound (LBP)
Currency code: LBP
Exchange rates: Lebanese pounds per US dollar - 1,507.5 (January 2002), 1,507.5 (2001), 1,507.5 (2000), 1,507.8 (1999), 1,516.1 (1998), 1,539.5 (1997)
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)
Radios: 2.85 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: 15 (plus 5 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions: 1.18 million (1997)
Internet country code: .lb Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 22 (2000)
Internet users: 300,000 (2001) Transportation Lebanon
Railways: total: 399 km standard gauge: 317 km 1.435-m note: entire system is unusable because of damage in civil war (2001) narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m
Highways: total: 7,300 km paved: 6,350 km unpaved: 950 km (1999 est.)
Waterways: none
Pipelines: crude oil 72 km (none in operation)
Ports and harbors: Antilyas, Batroun, Beirut, Chekka, El Mina, Ez Zahrani, Jbail, Jounie, Naqoura, Sidon, Tripoli, Tyre
Merchant marine: total: 67 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 320,770 GRT/468,293 DWT ships by type: bulk 8, cargo 38, chemical tanker 1, combination bulk 1, container 4, liquefied gas 1, livestock carrier 7, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 3, 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 the Grenadines 2, Spain 1, Syria 2 (2002 est.)
Airports: 8 (2001) 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 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 3 914 to 1,523 m: 2 under 914 m: 1 (2001) Military Lebanon
Military branches: Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF; includes Army, Navy, and Air Force) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,003,174 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 618,129 (2002 est.)
service: Military expenditures - dollar $343 million (FY99/00)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 4.8% (FY99/00)
GDP: Transnational Issues Lebanon Disputes - international: Syrian troops in northern, central, and eastern Lebanon since October 1976; Lebanese Government claims Shab'a Farms area of Israeli- occupied Golan Heights
Illicit drugs: Hashish production increased as farmers resumed cannabis cultivation for the first time since a Lebanese/ Syrian eradication campaign practically eliminated the opium and cannabis crops in the early 1990s

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officially Republic of Lebanon

Country, eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

It is bounded by Syria and Israel. Area: 4,016 sq mi (10,400 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 3,678,000. Capital: Beirut. The Lebanese are ethnically a mixture of Phoenician, Greek, Armenian, and Arab elements. Languages: Arabic (official), French, English. Religions: Islam (Sunnite and Shīʽite), Christianity (Maronite, Greek Orthodox). Currency: Lebanese pound. Uplands include the Lebanon Mountains in the central region and the Anti-Lebanon and Mount Hermon ranges along the eastern border; a low coastal plain stretches along the Mediterranean. The Litani River flows southward through the fertile al-Biqā Valley. Originally much of the country was forested (the cedars of Lebanon were famous in antiquity), but woodlands now cover less than one-tenth of the country. Lebanon is not agriculturally self-sufficient and must rely on food imports. Its traditional role as the financial centre of the Middle East has been undermined since the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war (1975–91). It is a republic with one legislative house; its chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. Much of present-day Lebanon corresponds to ancient Phoenicia, which was settled с 3000 BC. In the 6th century AD, Christians fleeing Syrian persecution settled in northern Lebanon and founded the Maronite Church. Arab tribal peoples settled in southern Lebanon, and by the 11th century religious refugees from Egypt had founded the Druze faith. Part of the medieval Crusader states, Lebanon was later ruled by the Mamlūk dynasty. In 1516 the Ottoman Empire seized control; the Ottomans, who first ruled by proxy, ended the local rule of the Druze Shihāb princes in 1842. Poor relations between religious groups resulted in the massacre of Maronites by Druze in 1860. France intervened, forcing the Ottomans to form an autonomous province for the Christian area known as Mount Lebanon. Following World War I (1914–18), the whole of Lebanon was administered by the French military as part of a French mandate; the country was fully independent by 1946. After the Arab-Israeli war of 1948–49, over 200,000 Palestinian refugees settled in southern Lebanon. In 1970 the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) moved its headquarters to Lebanon and began raids into northern Israel. The Christian-dominated Lebanese government tried to curb them, and in response the PLO sided with Lebanon's Muslims in their conflict with Christians, fueling the country's descent into a civil war that split the country into numerous political and religious factions. In 1976–82 Syrian and UN troops tried to maintain a cease-fire. In 1982 Israeli forces invaded the country in an effort to drive Palestinian forces out of southern Lebanon; Israeli troops withdrew from all but a narrow buffer zone in southern Lebanon by 1985. Thereafter, guerrillas from the Lebanese Shīʽite militia Hezbollah clashed with Israeli troops regularly. Israeli troops completely withdrew from Lebanon in 2000.
(as used in expressions)
Republic of Lebanon
Anti Lebanon Mountains

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▪ 2009

10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 4,142,000 (including registered Palestinian refugees estimated to number about 400,000)
Chief of state:
Presidents Fouad Siniora (acting) and, from May 25, Michel Suleiman
Head of government:
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora

      On May 25, 2008, following an 18-month political standoff between various Lebanese factions and a brush with civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiʿites two weeks earlier, a new president was elected. in Lebanon. Gen. Michel Suleiman, who was considered a consensus candidate, won 118 of the 128 parliamentary votes. The election of a new president was made possible by the Qatari-brokered Doha accord, which entailed important concessions on the part of the pro-Saudi, pro-Western Sunni-dominated government whereby the majority consented to turn a blind eye toward Hezbollah arms stockpiles and agreed to give veto power to the opposition. They also gave the Christian opposition, through a reenactment of the 1960 electoral law, the political strength to elect their own representatives without the need to enlist the votes of the Muslims. Ironically, the Christian opposition (led by Gen. Michel Aoun) cemented its alliance with the Hezbollah-Iran-Syria axis, while the Christian loyalists continued to be part of the March 14 movement, which comprised political organizations—including the Future Movement (led by Sunni leader Saad al-Hariri)—opposed to a Syrian presence in Lebanon and which had good relations with Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

      After the cabinet tried in March to assert its authority in security affairs, Hezbollah launched a militia-type attack in Beirut on the Future Movement offices and strongholds. The clashes ended with Hezbollah having the upper hand and the army standing idle. This was reflected later in the political arena when Hezbollah secured veto power in the cabinet and effectively controlled all major decisions. In August, Israel threatened to target “the entire Lebanese state, including Lebanese cities” in another war if greater legitimacy was given to Hezbollah. Nevertheless, a month earlier Israel and Hezbollah had participated in a prisoner-of-war exchange.

      The security situation remained unstable, especially in the north of the country. Though Syria hinted at a possible military intervention in that area, major powers, including the U.S. and France, warned against any such move. A visit in August by President Suleiman to Damascus resulted in an agreement to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries. All other outstanding issues (i.e., political, economic, border demarcations, and humanitarian relations) were referred to joint committees. Syria was expected to regain part of its influence in Lebanon owing to the West's recognition of its regional role. Suleiman also visited the UN and Washington, D.C., but he was disappointed that Washington did not give a definite promise to rearm the Lebanese army with technologically advanced weapons, which would keep Hezbollah in a more powerful position than the army.

      The political bickering took a heavy toll on the Lebanese economy. The gross national debt reached $43.2 billion after the first quarter of the year. The economy also relied more heavily on remittances from Lebanese working in the Arab Gulf states, Africa, or the U.S. The balance of trade was negatively affected because of the international rise in the prices of imported food and oil. In addition, the gap in electricity production and subsidies to this economically and politically important sector drained $2 billion annually from the Lebanese budget. On the positive side, the summer season proved very good for the economy. About 1.6 million visitors arrived in Lebanon; hotel occupancy rates neared 100%; and tourism was expected to generate $4.43 billion in direct and indirect revenue. There was a 26% rise in construction activity, but inflation pushed the government to increase the minimum wage by two-thirds. Lebanon, however, was one of the few countries that was not negatively affected by the worldwide financial crisis that occurred in October 2008.

Mahmoud Haddad

▪ 2008

10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 4,099,000 (including unnaturalized Palestinian refugees estimated to number fewer than 400,000)
Chief of state:
President Gen. Émile Lahoud, and, from November 24, Fouad Siniora (acting)
Head of government:
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora

      The political problems associated with choosing a new president for Lebanon in 2007 were very intense and time-consuming. Bickering continued in late October between the parliamentary majority, which insisted on an independent president, and the minority, which was pushing for a pro-Syrian president. On November 24 Gen. Émile Lahoud's nine-year extended term as president came to an end, but no one was elected to replace him. On December 12 a car bomb killed Gen. François al-Hajj, the operations chief of the Lebanese army. A parliamentary consensus was reached to elect as president the commander of the army, Gen. Michael Suleiman, but many attempts to carry out the election failed.

      In the thick of continuing political conflict, two parliamentary deputies of the government bloc were killed. On September 19 deputy Antoine Ghanem of the Christian Phalange Party was killed in a car bombing in Beirut; his death came just a few months after another car bomb had killed Walid Eido, a deputy of the Sunni-dominated Future Movement. Both belonged to the pro-government majority bloc in the parliament and were against the imposition of Syrian policies in Lebanon. The assassination of Ghanem came less than a week before the start of the process of selecting a successor to pro-Syrian Pres. Émile Lahoud. Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir's attempt to bring the Maronite parliamentary delegates to agreement on a consensus presidential candidate was unsuccessful.

      The political stalemate took a heavy toll on the Lebanese economy. One study reported that 40% of Lebanese of working age (22–62 years) were employed outside the country. Remittances, however, reached nearly $6 billion, or about $1,500 per citizen, which was considered a very high rate. This explained how—despite the acute political and administrative crises—the country was able to function economically. The real GDP growth forecast for Lebanon in 2007 was put at about 1.5%; GDP growth in 2006 had been flat, owing to the war with Israel. The cost of that war was estimated at $7 billion.

 The Lebanese army successfully seized full control of the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp on Sept. 2, 2007, after 105 days of fighting the extremist organization Fatah al-Islam. According to official estimates, the army sustained 163 deaths and 500 injuries, and Fatah al-Islam lost 222 fighters in battle and had at least 202 of their soldiers captured. The battle was considered a great success for the army and a definite setback for Fatah al-Islam, whose leader, Chaker al-Absi, though initially thought to have died in the fighting, escaped to an unspecified location.

      On October 4 U.S. Pres. George W. Bush received Lebanese MP Saad al-Hariri. The meeting was viewed as a sign of support by Bush for the leader of the majority Future Movement in the quest to elect a new president of Lebanon.

      The World Bank and the EU jointly provided Lebanon with more than $200 million in soft loans and grants to help the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora implement reforms and rebuild areas that were devastated by the Israeli military in 2006. In October 2007 about 240 fires started in different stretches of forests in the country. One person was killed, dozens were injured, and more than 2,500 ha (6,200 ac) of woodland were destroyed. Investigators were looking into the possibility of arson.

Mahmoud Haddad

▪ 2007

10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 3,834,000 (excluding unnaturalized Palestinian refugees estimated to number about 400,000)
Chief of state:
President Gen. Émile Lahoud
Head of government:
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora

      Lebanon started 2006 with political bickering between the majority Future Movement, headed by Saad al-Hariri and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, on one hand and Lebanese Pres. Gen. Émile Lahoud and Gen. Michel Aoun, who headed the Christian Free Patriotic Movement, on the other. The latter reached an understanding with the militant Hezbollah (“Party of God”), headed by Hassan Nasrallah (Nasrallah, Hassan ) (see Biographies), which enjoyed good relations with Iran and Syria. The Future Movement wanted to rebuild relations with Syria on a new foundation of equality, but Lahoud tended to be in total agreement with Syrian policies affecting Lebanon and beyond. Another area of discord was the speed at which the government should move to approve the appointment of an international tribunal made up of Lebanese and foreign judges to adjudicate the assassination in 2005 of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. Political life came to a standstill when Hezbollah and Amal (both Shiʿite movements) members resigned from the cabinet. By year's end they had made clear their views that the mixed tribunal should be canceled so that they could resume their government participation, but the majority refused this request. Because the crisis was also an international one (Syria and Iran supported Hezbollah and Amal, and the U.S. and the EU backed the Siniora government), Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa made two unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem.

 In an effort to pressure Israel into releasing three Lebanese jailed in Israeli prisons, on July 12 Hezbollah paramilitary forces launched a military operation from the south, killing a number of Israeli soldiers and taking two as prisoners of war. This action led Israel to launch a major military offensive against Hezbollah. Hezbollah's use of new weapons and tactics prolonged the confrontation. On August 11 the UN Security Council brokered a cease-fire and put forth Resolution 1701 in an effort to curtail hostilities. Both sides stopped fighting on August 14. The resolution accepted the Lebanese government's pledge to deploy 15,000 Lebanese army troops along the southern borders, called for the Israelis to withdraw behind Lebanese borders, and promised the formation of a United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headed by France that had the right to stop Lebanese armed elements from operating south of the Litani River. UNIFIL would also assist in securing Lebanese borders to prevent the entry of arms to paramilitary groups. On November 21 Pierre Gemayel, the minister of industry, was assassinated.

      The 34-day war and the political stalemate had a very negative impact on the Lebanese economy; GDP growth of − 5% was predicted for 2006. The treasury deficit increased in the first eight months of the year to 32%, compared with about 25% in 2005. Though whole areas in the south of the country and parts of Beirut needed to be rebuilt, Lebanon received generous monetary assistance from Arab gulf states and the European Union.

Mahmoud Haddad

▪ 2006

10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 3,577,000 (excluding unnaturalized Palestinian refugees estimated to number about 400,000)
Chief of state:
President Gen. Émile Lahoud
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Omar Karami, Najib Mikati from April 19, and, from July 19, Fouad Siniora

      Lebanon had a tumultuous year in 2005. The UN Security Council reasserted its 2004 resolution, which stipulated that Syria was to evacuate its forces from Lebanon and called on the Lebanese army to take control of the southern borders and disarm all militias. These included the powerful Hezbollah, which considered itself a resistance movement and defense force against Israel. Hezbollah enjoyed the backing of Pres. Émile Lahoud.

      On February 14 former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri (Hariri, Rafiq Bahaa Edine al- ) was assassinated in a huge explosion in Beirut (see Obituaries); two dozen security officers and a former minister were also either killed on the spot or severely wounded. The incident heightened the tension between Lahoud and the political opposition, notably the parliamentary bloc that had been led by Hariri and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.

       Demonstrations erupted in Beirut. Hezbollah protested against the UN resolution, and the opposition replied with a demonstration on March 14 in which an estimated one million people demanded the ouster of Syrian forces and the resignation of the heads of the Lebanese security apparatus. Another UN resolution called for an international investigation of the assassination of Hariri and the removal of Syrian forces from Lebanon. An expert UN investigation team arrived later in Beirut, and its initial findings led to the arrest of the top leaders of the presidential guard, the general security apparatus, the internal security forces, and military intelligence. Citing a lack of Syrian cooperation, the UN Security Council in December extended the inquiry. Yet another resolution renewed the mandate of the UN peacekeeping forces to monitor Lebanon's southern borders for another six months.

      Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon by the end of April. Parliamentary elections were carried out in May and June, after the parliament passed motions allowing two Christian leaders to participate in them. The first of these pardoned Gen. Michel Aoun, who was living in exile in Paris; the second released Samir Geagea, who had served 11 years in prison. The opposition, led by Jumblatt and Hariri's son Saad, won the majority of seats and nominated Fouad Siniora as prime minister, but the minority party led by Aoun as well as the Amal Shiʿite coalition and Hezbollah, backed by President Lahoud, insisted on strong representation in the new government. This effectively led to a hung cabinet, in which only after great difficulty was the majority able to nominate replacements for the security chiefs accused of participation in Hariri's assassination. Lebanese-Syrian relations remained poor.

      More than a dozen explosions, assassinations, and attempts on the lives of prominent journalists and politicians followed over a period of seven months, but the security forces were unable to pinpoint those responsible.

      Largely owing to the security situation in Lebanon, the economic growth rate was expected to be nil in 2005, but the budget deficit to August dropped to 24.7% from 26.4% year on year. External and internal debt were at least 180% of GNP.

Mahmoud Haddad

▪ 2005

10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 3,777,000 (excluding unnaturalized Palestinian refugees estimated to number nearly 300,000)
Chief of state:
President Gen. Émile Lahoud
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Rafiq al-Hariri and, from October 21, Omar Karami

      Lebanon had a very eventful year in 2004. In August, under strong pressure from Syria, the Lebanese parliament extended for three more years the term in office of Pres. Émile Lahoud. On September 2 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1559, which called on all “foreign forces” to leave Lebanon. Shortly after the resolution, Syrian troops redeployed to the eastern part of the country and reduced their number to 14,000. The resolution also called for the Lebanese government to deploy its army in the south and disband all militias active in the country. This last point was interpreted to mean Hezbollah, the main Lebanese resistance force in the south. In a follow-up report on October 2, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan concluded that Syria and Lebanon had not met the requirements of Resolution 1559. He said that Syrian troops were still in the country and that the constitutional amendment that provided a three-year extension of President Lahoud's term in office implied “a direct intervention” by the government of Syria. On November 7 Hezbollah launched its first pilotless reconnaissance drone into Israel in retaliation for what it said were repeated violations of Lebanese airspace by Israel. Though the Lebanese government justified the action, the UN representative in southern Lebanon considered both Israeli and Hezbollah overflights unjustified.

      The Lebanese government said that the Syrian presence was a result of joint Syrian-Lebanese official agreements and that the extension of the term of the president was a sovereign act. Many linked strained Lebanese- U.S. relations to Beirut's refusal of a suggestion made in August by a visiting U.S. congressional delegation to settle permanently the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

      On October 1 an attempt to assassinate Marwan Hamade, the former minister of the economy, failed, although one of his guards was killed in the bomb blast. Hamade, a member of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt's parliamentary bloc, a week earlier had resigned from the cabinet to protest Lahoude's extended term. Jumblatt became the most vocal critic of the extension and of the state of relations between Syria and Lebanon.

      The economy improved. The central bank declared that it had $12 billion in foreign currency reserves; the tourism industry enjoyed a robust recovery; and MEA, the Lebanese national airline, made more than $20 million in profits. A row occurred, however, when Minister of Finance Fouad Siniora presented his 2005 draft budget, which proposed sweeping reforms, including the elimination of the Ministry of the Displaced, the Council of the South, and the state security apparatus. MPs close to Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri supported the budget, while those close to President Lahoud criticized it. The cabinet, however, which was installed in November under Prime Minister Omar Karami, was expected to approve some of these measures.

      Ismail al-Khatib, an alleged operative of al-Qaeda who was accused of recruiting people to carry out anti-American acts of sabotage in Iraq, was captured in late September and died of a heart attack a week later. Residents in his hometown of Majdal Anjar, in eastern Lebanon, staged three-day riots accusing the Ministry of Interior of having tortured him and then made up the whole story about al-Qaeda in order to appease the U.S.

Mahmoud Haddad

▪ 2004

10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 3,728,000 (excluding Palestinian refugees estimated to number nearly 400,000)
Chief of state:
President Gen. Émile Lahoud
Head of government:
Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri

      The dominant issue in Lebanese politics in 2003 was the polarization between Pres. Gen. Émile Lahoud and Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The main thrust of the discord was al-Hariri's concern over the possibility of the renewal of the president's term in office for another six years or the extension of his term for an additional three years starting in late 2004, when Lahoud's term was due to expire. Their differences probably accounted for Lahoud heading the duties of the ministerial council, an activity that was usually presided over by the prime minister. The latter's position was strengthened by the highest Maronite Christian authority in the country, Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, who openly expressed opposition to constitutional amendments and to renewal, though not necessarily extension, of the presidential term.

      Tension surfaced between Beirut and Washington in September when anti-Syrian former prime minister Gen. Michel Aoun spoke out against the Syrian military and political presence in Lebanon in an open session of the U.S. Congress. The Lebanese authorities considered Aoun's testimony an act of treason and started legal proceedings against him. This led to an unfriendly debate between Vincent Battle, the U.S. ambassador to Beirut, and a number of Lebanese parliamentarians. Prior to this development Aoun, who lived in France and headed the anti-Syrian Free Patriotic Movement, had proclaimed that he intended to run in the next Lebanese parliamentary elections. He was heartened in August when his candidate won in the by-election in Baabda-Aley.

      Strain in the regional political atmosphere also affected Lebanon. An Israeli bombing raid on Syrian territory near Damascus in early October, the first such military act in three decades, and the approval by the U.S. Congress of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act made it necessary for Lebanon to send troops to the southern borders with Israel. In addition, the act classified Hezbollah, the main Lebanese resistance force in the south, as a Syrian-backed terrorist group. The act also called for the Syrian army to evacuate its troops (numbering about 20,000) from Lebanon or face sanctions. In July, Syria had withdrawn its troops from Beirut, ending almost 25 years of its military presence in that city.

      Economically, the government had promised in 2002 to lower the budget deficit to 25% of spending, but the deficit remained as high as 38%. The privatization of state assets proved much more difficult than expected, and political factors hindered the downsizing of the bureaucracy. Tourism rose by 4%, however, and the national flag carrier, Middle East Airlines, made $3 million in profit, registering positive revenues for the first time in 26 years. On a negative note, rampant corruption earned Lebanon a ranking of 78 on the list of 133 countries that were perceived as corrupt in the 2003 index released by Transparency International.

Mahmoud Haddad

▪ 2003

10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 3,678,000 (excluding Palestinian refugees estimated to number about 375,000)
Chief of state:
President Gen. Émile Lahoud
Head of government:
Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri

      Two major world meetings took place in Lebanon in 2002—the Arab summit on March 27–28 and the 9th Francophone summit (which had been postponed a year because of the Sept. 11, 2001, events) on October 18–20. The Arab summit adopted a Saudi Arabian peace plan and transformed it into an Arab peace initiative that called upon Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian and Syrian lands occupied since 1967 and promised an Arab normalization of relations with Israel in return. French Pres. Jacques Chirac opened the Francophone summit, which later elected former Senegalese president Abdou Diouf as secretary-general, replacing the Egyptian Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The meeting concentrated on cultural matters but also signaled its resistance to threatened U.S. moves against Iraq.

      Following a visit to Lebanon in July, U.S. Sen. Bob Graham accused Lebanon and Syria of harbouring training facilities for “a new generation of terrorists.” The local press was furious and suggested that the Lebanese had been betrayed by an ungrateful guest who might at least have brought up the issue with his official hosts. The U.S. government asked Israel to put an end to aerial patrolling of Lebanon because it both contravened UN Resolution 425 and gave Hezbollah, the main Lebanese resistance force in the south, a reason not to lay down its arms.

      A pro-Syrian bloc of Christian parliamentarians took shape in August to counter the Qornet Shehwan Gathering of anti-Syrian Christian politicians. The new group was expected to throw its support behind the Syrian presence in the country as guarantor of “sovereignty and independence,” according to its organizers.

      The year 2002 witnessed the introduction of the new value-added tax. Although foreign debt was still about 180% of gross domestic product, the anticipated 40% budget deficit dropped to 35%. A study published in February found that 36% of Lebanon's 13,616 government employees were redundant and represented a burden on the state treasury. Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri sought to reduce spending on the army and intelligence services but met resistance from Pres. Émile Lahoud.

      After weeks of infighting the government reached an interim deal with the two mobile-phone companies whose contracts were scheduled to expire at the end of August. The companies would continue to run the sector for another five months, while all mobile phone revenues—estimated at $50 million a month—would go to the state. The two companies would receive $15 million a month as a fee for managing the networks, which served 800,000 users, and the government would receive a net revenue of $175 million until the end of January 2003, when an auction for two or more new licenses would take place. Middle East Airlines, Lebanon's national flag carrier, was almost in the black, having posted no operating losses in 2002 and having purchased six new Airbus planes.

Mahmoud Haddad

▪ 2002

10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 3,628,000 (excluding Palestinian refugees estimated to number about 330,000)
Chief of state:
President Gen. Émile Lahoud
Head of government:
Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri

      Before the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Lebanon was consumed to a large extent with its own internal affairs. In August state security forces, apparently with the approval of Pres. Émile Lahoud, conducted a wave of arrests of anti-Syrian activists, some of whom were accused of conspiring with Israel. Although most of them were released later, two journalists and a political adviser to Samir Geagea, the imprisoned leader of disbanded right-wing Lebanese forces, remained in custody because security forces said they had hard evidence linking them to Israel. The episode triggered a crisis between the Lebanese president and the prime minister, Rafiq al-Hariri, since the cabinet was not consulted and did not approve the steps taken by the security forces. Normalcy did not return to relations between Lahoud and al-Hariri until Syrian officials intervened and asked the two to put aside their differences. A year after the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah—Lebanon's main resistance force in the region—refused to consider that the country had regained its full sovereignty, since Israel still controlled the Shebaʾ farms enclave and had not released all Lebanese prisoners of war, and Israeli warplanes patrolled Lebanese skies at will. A military attack by Hezbollah in June on Israeli targets in the Shebaʾ farms region was countered by an Israeli attack on Syrian military targets in the Lebanese Al-Biqaʾ (Bekaa Valley). At the end of July, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to downgrade the UN interim force in southern Lebanon to an observer mission and cut its military personnel from 4,500 to 3,600.

      In its first steps toward privatization, the government laid off all the employees of the official television network. It also laid off one-third of the employees of Middle East Airlines, the national carrier. Privatization was also being considered for other state-run utilities, such as electricity. Lebanon's mounting public debt was expected to reach 170% of the country's gross domestic product by the end of the year.

      In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the U.S., Lebanon tried to walk a tightrope. Lebanese officials were at pains to stress their condemnation of the attacks against civilians, while at the same time, they emphasized the distinction between terrorism and the struggle for liberation. U.S. Pres. George W. Bush's statement in early October in support of establishing a Palestinian state was welcomed by Lebanese officials, who had been fearful of what they perceived as international pressure on them to naturalize about 330,000 Palestinian refugees living on Lebanese soil. The same officials were uneasy, however, about mixed signals from Washington over the possibility of targeting Hezbollah for attack as a terrorist organization. Although certain Lebanese sectors—particularly tourism—were negatively affected by the September 11 attacks and the U.S.-led retaliation on Afghanistan in October, some saw a glimmer of hope, since many Lebanese and Arabs living in the West felt unwelcome there and many were starting to transfer part of their liquid wealth to Lebanese banks, while Arab students who were targets of harassment were expected to transfer to Lebanese universities that followed Western educational systems. On a different note, and owing to the tense situation in the Middle East, the Francophone Summit that was scheduled to meet in Beirut in October 2001 was postponed to October 2002.

Mahmoud Haddad

▪ 2001

10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 3,578,000 (excluding Palestinian refugees estimated to number more than 350,000)
Chief of state:
President Gen. Émile Lahoud
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Salim al-Hoss and, from October 23, Rafiq al-Hariri

      Lebanon experienced an especially eventful year in 2000. Israel unconditionally withdrew its forces from occupied Lebanese territory in the south at the end of May in accordance with UN Resolution 425 of 1978. The 2,500-strong South Lebanese Army that was armed and funded by Israel and acted as its proxy along the borders collapsed almost immediately. Although many of its members initially fled to Israel, most of them by the end of the year had returned home, surrendered to Lebanese authorities, and undergone military trial. It took until July to verify the withdrawal line to the general satisfaction of the Lebanese government. At the year's end two issues remained outstanding: Israel's release of Lebanese civilian prisoners and members of Hezbollah, Lebanon's main resistance force in the south, and the question of sovereignty over the Shebaʾ farms, a stretch of 200 sq km (77 sq mi) that Lebanon maintained was part of the south, while Israel and the UN considered it as part of the Golan Heights that belonged to Syria and maintained that its status should await future negotiations between Syria and Israel. A third important related issue was the resistance of the Lebanese government, backed by Syria, to the pressures exerted by both the UN and the U.S. to deploy the Lebanese army in the liberated southern areas and thus put an end to any further possible activities by Hezbollah either there or south of the Lebanese border. Lebanon said that it would not do so unless Israel evacuated the Shebaʾ farms and released all of its Lebanese prisoners. This stance prompted the Western governments to put on hold any financial help they were prepared to grant Lebanon to rebuild its southern region. The issue became more complicated in October when Hezbollah captured three Israeli soldiers at the Shebaʾ farms and an Israeli intelligence colonel in a separate episode.

      In domestic politics the year was no less eventful. After the Israeli evacuation of the south, the Christian Maronite patriarch called for a similar step by the Syrian army. Because of Lebanon's close relations with Syria, little came of this call. The most important political development was the election for members of the National Assembly in August and September. Its significant result was the overwhelming support captured by former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, who was at odds with both Pres. Gen. Émile Lahoud and Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss. The latter even lost his seat in the National Assembly. The main winners in the new National Assembly were the Movement of the Deprived party in the south, Hariri's followers in the capital, and Druze leader Walid Junbulat in Mount Lebanon.

      The outgoing government had been unable to improve the economic situation in the country. With debt servicing accounting for 45–50% of the budget and the salaries of Lebanon's 160,000 public employees an additional 35%, the government was unable to accomplish much.

Mahmoud Haddad

▪ 2000

10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 3,563,000 (excluding Palestinian refugees estimated to number more than 350,000)
Chief of state:
President Gen. Émile Lahoud
Head of government:
Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss

      After November 1998, when Gen. Émile Lahoud took office as president, a new configuration of political power appeared in Lebanon. The charismatic former prime minister, Rafiq al-Hariri, was replaced by a veteran politician, Salim al-Hoss, who was known more for his honesty than for his speedy political actions. The change was symbolic of the fact that the Christian Maronite president and not the Sunni Muslim prime minister had become the chief mover of political affairs in the country. Hariri and his supporters accused President Lahoud of not abiding by the Taʾif accord of 1989, which gave more power to the Cabinet than to the president or the speaker of the National Assembly, and Hariri and Lahoud shifted to positions of opposition. For its part the new Cabinet started proceedings of corruption against some of Hariri's appointees. The former oil minister, Chahe Barsumian, was the highest political figure to be officially accused of fraud and corruption, and at the year's end he remained in custody.

      These moves appeared to have had the tacit approval of Syria, but it remained to be seen whether this was a long-term or a short-term policy on the part of that nation. The United States moved closer to normalizing relations with Lebanon. The one-day visit of Madeleine Albright, the U.S. secretary of state, to Beirut in early September was seen as a signal of trust in Lebanese security, as was the loosening in October of visa procedures for visiting the U.S.

      The main political and security issue that faced Lebanon in the year 2000 was how to deal with Israel's confirmation that it would withdraw its forces from territory in southern Lebanon sometime during the first half of 2000. Responding to armed clashes that took place in midyear, Israel demanded a border-security arrangement in return for its unilateral move, but as 1999 ended, Lebanon (and Syria) had not committed themselves officially to any steps on that issue. Lebanese sources said that should Israel withdraw its forces, the formerly occupied territory would need about $1 billion for reconstruction and development.

      During the year the government was able to raise about $650 million through the sale of bonds in the European financial markets. The Lebanese economy remained stagnant for most of 1999, and the country's debt continued to be above 35% of the total budget in spite of the new government's pledge to control what it perceived as a problem inherited from its predecessor. By the end of the year, the economy was showing slight signs of improvement by means of increasing exports and decreasing imports. An agreement to increase economic cooperation and gradually lift most of the tariffs between Lebanon and Syria was signed in September.

Mahmoud Haddad

▪ 1999

      Area: 10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 3,506,000 (excluding Palestinian refugees estimated to number more than 350,000)

      Capital: Beirut

      Chief of state: Presidents Elias Hrawi and, from November 24, Gen. Emile Lahoud

      Head of government: Prime Ministers Rafiq al-Hariri and, from December 2, Salim al-Hoss

      The National Assembly on October 15 elected Lebanon's first new president since the end of the civil war in 1990. Gen. Emile Lahoud's election was supported by the army and the Syrians.

      The first regional elections in 35 years for new municipal councils in 650 municipalities resulted in growing support for Shi!ite Muslim Hezbollah. Opponents of Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri did well in Tripoli and in the southern suburbs of Beirut, where Hezbollah won over Hariri's candidates and those of the Shi!ite Amal Party. In Baalbek, however, where Hezbollah began in 1982, the party lost to supporters of Sheikh Subhi at-Tufayli's "Hungry Revolution" party. In the south Hezbollah won the seats in its stronghold at Nabatiya but lost in other areas.

      Despite their low voter turnout, Christians won 12 of the 24 seats in the Beirut council. Christian interest in redistricting the city into separate districts to guarantee Christian representation was refused, but at the last minute Hariri brokered an alliance between the Christian Phalangist Party, the formerly outlawed Lebanese Forces, Hezbollah, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation that resulted in the split in the council between Muslims and Christians. Although unexpected, the return of veteran politician Salim al-Hoss as prime minister in December did not seem to signal a change in course.

      The government raised $1 billion through the sale of bonds, primarily to Lebanese banks and Middle Eastern interests, to be used to restructure Lebanon's debt and ease the pressure on the nation's currency. The lifting of the travel ban in August 1997 for Americans visiting Lebanon enabled the U.S. to join the Europeans in bidding for contracts for the rebuilding of Beirut and also led to an increase in tourism. Hotels, restaurants, museums, and airport facilities were rebuilt and refurbished, the summer festivals at Baalbek and Beiteddine reinstated, and the Casino du Liban in the Christian area of Jounieh reopened.

      Israel's declaration in March that it would withdraw its forces from Lebanon if the latter could ensure border security in the south was rejected by Prime Minister Hariri, who insisted that Israel comply with UN resolution 425, calling for unconditional withdrawal. On April 1 the Israeli government endorsed the UN resolution on the condition that Lebanon ensure border security. This too was rejected by both Lebanon and Syria, which dismissed the offer of withdrawal as an attempt to negotiate separately with Lebanon and with Syria. In August fighting between Israel and Hezbollah resumed in south Lebanon after a hiatus of several months. The mandate for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon was extended for six months on February 2 and again on July 31.


▪ 1998

      Area: 10,400 sq km (4,016 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 3,112,000 (excluding Palestinian refugees estimated to number about 350,000)

      Capital: Beirut

      Chief of state: President Elias Hrawi

      Head of government: Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri

      Fighting in southern Lebanon resumed on Jan. 8, 1997, when a Katyusha rocket was fired from southern Lebanon into northern Israel. The ensuing clashes between Israeli soldiers and Lebanon's Hezbollah forces ended the cease-fire that had been in effect since April 1996. Fighting between the two continued throughout the year. In June the United Nations General Assembly endorsed a nonbinding resolution assessing Israel $1.7 million in damages for the shelling of the UN headquarters in Qana. The resolution was opposed by Israel and the United States. In September discussions began between Israel and Lebanon over reducing casualties in southern Lebanon. The Lebanese government reiterated its position on southern Lebanon, basing it on UN Security Council Resolution 425, which stipulates Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon without any preconditions.

      The resumption of the conflict in southern Lebanon was also a reflection of Hezbollah's increasing legitimization. With its acceptance of the accords that ended Lebanon's civil war and its participation in the 1996 elections, sending a noncleric, Muhammad Funaysh, to the National Assembly, it became more than a guerrilla organization. Hezbollah developed a political infrastructure, educational and health care services, and media organs. Its avowed goal in 1997 was to drive Israel from southern Lebanon but not necessarily into the sea. This mellowing of doctrine led to splits in the party and the reemergence of Sheikh Subhi at-Tufayli.

      Forced to step down as secretary-general of Hezbollah in 1990 for being too extremist, Tufayli resurfaced in 1997 as a protest figure. The hunger strike he advocated in late spring materialized on July 4 when, despite government deployment of troops in the region as a show of force, some 10,000 Lebanese converged on Baalbek to protest the government's economic policies. This "revolution of the hungry" was an expression of discontent in northern Al-Biqaˋ (Bekaa Valley) over the government's policy of forcing farmers to stop cultivating illegal drugs in return for compensation—which never materialized. Tufayli advocated nonpayment of taxes and electricity and water bills and threatened to march on Beirut. The demonstration was also an expression of discontent over economic corruption, debt, and overspending on roads, airports, and a new stadium in Beirut.

      The Ta'if accord of 1989 retained the tradition in Lebanon of a Maronite Christian president, a Sunni Muslim prime minister, and a Shiˋite Muslim speaker of the National Assembly and allowed increased power for the prime minister and speaker. Competition between the leaders in 1997 led to accusations by the speaker, Nabih Berri, that Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri was wielding more power than he was entitled to and had unilaterally pushed bills through the legislature, while Hariri accused Berri of obstructing the reconstruction program by stalling bills in the Assembly. At times, mediation by Syria to resolve the disputes was necessary.

      Pope John Paul II visited Beirut on May 10-11. The trip, which had been scheduled for 1994 but was postponed owing to a bomb attack on a Maronite church, was the first visit by a pope to the Middle East since 1964 and the first-ever official papal visit to Lebanon. In a mass celebrated by the pope in downtown Beirut and attended by some 300,000 people, the pontiff called on all religious factions to work together.


▪ 1997

      A republic of southwestern Asia, Lebanon is situated on the Mediterranean Sea. Area: 10,230 sq km (3,950 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 3,776,000 (including Palestinian refugees estimated to number nearly 350,000). Cap.: Beirut. Monetary unit: Lebanese pound, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of LL 1,558 to U.S. $1 (LL 2,454 = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Elias Hrawi; prime minister, Rafiq al-Hariri.

      Attacks from southern Lebanon into northern Israel by pro-Iranian Hezbollah forces in April, in retaliation for the death of a Lebanese youth, injured some 30 people. Israel struck back, bombing Hezbollah targets in Beirut. On April 18 Israeli gunners shelled a UN camp at Qana, where more than 100 people were killed. Preliminary UN reports stated that Hezbollah fighters had taken refuge in the camp and that Israeli troops deliberately shelled it. The Israelis claimed that the camp was not intended to be a target and that mapping errors resulted in miscalculations. Despite meetings between U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Pres. Hafez al-Assad of Syria and between Christopher and Prime Minister Shimon Peres of Israel, aimed at ending the targeting of civilians, violence on both sides continued through May. As U.S., French, Syrian, Israeli, and Lebanese diplomats tried to work out a cease-fire, the Hezbollah bombed Israeli soldiers and Israel retaliated by shelling targets in eastern Lebanon. An April cease-fire banned attacks against civilian targets, but military and guerrilla forces on both sides continued to fire at each other.

      Though disputed and called anticonstitutional by legal experts, elections for the 128-member National Assembly began on August 18 and lasted until mid-September. The winners were the pro-government candidates, who withstood competition from the Hezbollah and from Christians lukewarm to the Syrian presence. Organized in five rounds of voting on consecutive Sundays on the basis of geographic area, the elections began in the predominantly Christian area of Mt. Lebanon, where voters went to the polls in six newly created districts to elect 35 representatives. The pro-government candidates supporting the Syrian-backed Cabinet of Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri defeated the antigovernment nominees, who included Hezbollah representatives advocating the removal of the Israeli presence in southern Lebanon. An alliance that the Hezbollah forged during the summer with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who won a seat in the election, collapsed in part as a result of pressure from pro-Syrian Shi'ite Amal leader Nabih Berri, who at one point was also aligned with the Hezbollah. Elie Hobeika, a former Maronite militia leader, won on a pro-government ticket against Hezbollah-supported Christians. In Greater Beirut, Prime Minister Hariri's list of Sunni establishment candidates won handily. The Hezbollah lost seats in Beirut but retained them in southern Lebanon and the Al-Biqa region of central Lebanon.

      In April French Pres. Jacques Chirac visited Lebanon. The first visit to Lebanon by a non-Arab head of state since the civil war (1975-76), the meeting resulted in an aid package for Lebanese reconstruction.

      (REEVA S. SIMON)

▪ 1996

      A republic of southwestern Asia, Lebanon is situated on the Mediterranean Sea. Area: 10,230 sq km (3,950 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 3,009,000 (including Palestinian refugees estimated to number nearly 340,000). Cap.: Beirut. Monetary unit: Lebanese pound, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of LL 1,609 to U.S. $1 (LL 2,544 = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Elias Hrawi; prime minister, Rafiq al-Hariri.

      As the region moved toward a more comprehensive solution to the Middle East conflict in 1995, the Lebanese government was concerned with continued violence in southern Lebanon, the appointment of a new Cabinet, and renewed efforts in the reconstruction of Beirut.

      On January 30 the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). In the wake of the negotiations between Israel and Palestine in Oslo, Norway, violence resumed in southern Lebanon between pro-Iranian Hezbollah forces and Israeli troops and militia from the South Lebanese Army (SLA) in Israel's "security zone." Though the sporadic conflict in southern Lebanon was fought according to rules agreed to in 1993 between Syria and the U.S., the war had taken many Lebanese and Israeli lives. Several incidents, including an Israeli blockade of the southern Lebanese coast from February 8 through March 9, attacks by Hezbollah guerrillas on Israel, and Israeli retaliatory raids, left the 150,000 residents of the region insecure. Similarly, the goals of the Hezbollah continued to be the removal of Israeli troops from southern Lebanon and the postponement of any Israeli negotiations with Syria. Anticipating the possibility of an Israeli-Syrian agreement in 1992, the Hezbollah became a bona fide participant in Lebanese politics, with eight members still in the National Assembly in 1995. Syria remained a dominant force, with 35,000 troops stationed in Lebanon.

      The future of the Palestinians in Lebanon was unsure. The UN Relief and Works Agency estimated that some 338,000 Palestinians were denied civil rights by the Lebanese authorities, encouraged to move, and denied work permits in Lebanon. Of the hundreds of Palestinians deported by Libya in September who attempted a return to Lebanon, only those few who held Lebanese residence permits were allowed reentry.

      On June 24 former Maronite Christian leader Samir Geagea was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his rival, Dany Chamoun, and Chamoun's wife and two sons. The verdict underscored the Maronite defeat in the civil war that had beset Lebanon since 1975. The balance of political power now shifted to the Muslims. Maronite political leadership had all but disappeared; the former commander of the Lebanese army, Michel Aoun, was in exile in France, and the Maronite patriarch, Nasrallah Sfeir, did not take an active political role. Christians seemed to fear that the elections in 1996 would reflect a shift in Lebanon's power structure.

      Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri resigned on May 19 only to be reappointed by Pres. Elias Hrawi on May 21. Hariri, prime mover of the "Horizon 2000" project of Beirut urban renewal, requested a new Cabinet and advocated an amendment to the constitution that would allow the president to extend his six-year term for three additional years in the hope of providing the stability necessary for a massive reconstruction of Beirut. Although discussion of the new amendment was opposed by Nabih Berri, the Shi'ite speaker of the National Assembly, a compromise was reached in mid-May, and the amendment passed on October 19.

      Hariri was able to appoint a new Cabinet on May 25. Most of the posts remained unchanged, including Fares Bouez (minister of foreign and expatriate affairs), Michel Murr (minister of the interior), and Mohsen Dalloul (minister of national defense). New appointments included the former head of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, al-Fadl Chalaq (minister of posts and telecommunications).

      Prime Minister Hariri's goal to reestablish Lebanon as the financial market centre of the Middle East moved a step forward with the reopening of the stock market on September 19. A program to rebuild the central business and residential district of Beirut was aided by $1.8 billion raised from domestic and Arab sources, including a contribution of $125 million from the prime minister. Unfortunately, the project hit an "archaeological" impasse in 1995. Canaanite, Phoenician, Byzantine, and Roman artifacts, mosaics, and temples were uncovered, all of which were to be preserved as archaeological monuments or retrieved for museums. Because preservation is expensive, controversy abounded over whether to charge private developers for the excavations and risk threatening a predicted 8% economic rate of growth or to sacrifice archaeology in the name of urban renewal. (REEVA S. SIMON)

▪ 1995

      A republic of southwestern Asia, Lebanon is situated on the Mediterranean Sea. Area: 10,230 sq km (3,950 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 2,965,000 (including Palestinian refugees estimated to number nearly 350,000). Cap.: Beirut. Monetary unit: Lebanese pound, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of LL 1,664 to U.S. $1 (LL 2,647 = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Elias Hrawi; prime minister, Rafiq al-Hariri.

      Political violence during the year continued to destabilize Lebanon and endanger both the consensus that characterized local political affairs and the wider issues that were involved as the Middle East moved slowly but deliberately toward a broad-based and lasting peace settlement. Four people were killed during fighting in southern Lebanon on December 22 when pro-Iranian Hezbollah guerrillas attacked fortified positions in Israel's "security zone" in revenge for a car bombing in Beirut a day earlier.

      The car bomb casualties included Fuad Mughniyeh, a Hezbollah member and brother of Imad Mughniyeh, the reputed mastermind of the kidnapping of Western hostages in the 1980s. Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri said that the evidence of responsibility for the bombing pointed to Israel; by late December, 21 Israeli soldiers had been killed in 1994 in southern Lebanon.

      Hariri resigned as prime minister on December 2 but on December 6 withdrew his resignation after assurances from Syria that it would not interfere with plans for the reconstruction of Lebanon. Throughout the year, however, Syria continued its long-term policy of exercising control over Lebanon, which had once been part of Syria. In early September, for example, Interior Minister Bishara Merhej was replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Michel al-Burr at the behest of the Syrians.

      On May 21 Israeli commandos abducted Mustapha Dirani, a former member of the Islamic resistance, from his home in the al-Biqa' Valley, emphasizing Lebanon's vulnerability to its other powerful neighbour. The most serious terrorist incident of the year, however, had its roots in domestic politics. On February 27 in Junieh, 11 worshipers were killed and 50 injured when a bomb was exploded in a church. Although no group claimed responsibility, the government blamed members of the Lebanese Forces, a Christian militia group, and on March 23 ordered disbandment. A visit by Pope John Paul II scheduled for late May was canceled.

      In the aftermath of the bombing, the Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea was arrested and charged with complicity in the church killings. He went on trial on November 19 for this alleged crime and also for involvement in the 1990 killing of 11 Maronite Christians and the politician Dany Chamoun, his wife, and two sons. Geagea, considered one of the dominant personalities in Lebanese politics, was being defended at his trial by former central bank governor Edmond Naim and expressed confidence that he would be acquitted.

      In March the government enacted a number of restrictive measures. Private radio and television services were ordered to close until a new audiovisual media law had been drafted. The government reintroduced the death penalty for assassinations and political crimes, and the first public executions since 1983 took place. On April 23 a child killer was hanged at Sidon, followed by two Syrians found guilty of shooting three police officers. On May 28 an alleged drug trafficker was shot by a firing squad.

      Despite political turbulence, the economy continued its revival. Gross domestic product grew by an estimated 6% in 1994, with inflation at 8%. The Beirut property company Solidere, which was committed to a major role in the reconstruction of the city's centre, was successful in a $650 million share subscription. A number of banks from The Netherlands, the U.K., and France established offices in Beirut for the first time since civil war erupted in the mid-1970s.

      Political differences were set aside on January 10 when the Cabinet agreed on two key diplomatic appointments. Riad Tabbara, a Sunni Muslim, was named ambassador to the U.S., and Samir Mubarak, a Maronite Christian, was made ambassador to the UN. Shi'ite Muslims on March 18 elected Sheikh Muhammad Mahdi Shamseddine president of the Higher Shi'ite Council. (JOHN WHELAN)

▪ 1994

      A republic of southwestern Asia, Lebanon is situated on the Mediterranean Sea. Area: 10,230 sq km (3,950 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 2,909,000 (including Palestinian refugees estimated to number more than 300,000). Cap.: Beirut. Monetary unit: Lebanese pound, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of LL 1,711 to U.S. $1 (LL 2,593 = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Elias Hrawi; prime minister, Rafiq al-Hariri.

      Despite the biggest Israeli attack on southern Lebanon since the 1982 invasion, on July 25, and a Cabinet crisis in August, the recovery of Lebanon from 16 years of civil war continued in 1993 and suffered no major setbacks. Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri (see BIOGRAPHIES (Hariri, Rafiq al- )), who held dual Saudi and Lebanese citizenship, pushed ahead with an ambitious plan to rebuild Beirut, with invitations on November 1 for Arab and Lebanese investors to subscribe $650 million. In March a 10-year reconstruction-and-revival plan for Lebanon, designed to cost $10 billion, was unveiled. Hariri began a diplomatic offensive to the Gulf states to secure funding, but only $1 billion was secured, with the addition of a $175 million World Bank loan approved in March.

      Between April and May the government ordered the suspension of two daily newspapers and one television station and the prosecution of a third newspaper. The most prominent, the left-wing daily As-Safir, was closed on May 12 after publishing leaked confidential details of Israeli proposals to the Lebanese negotiating team involved in the multilateral Middle East peace talks.

      Political reconciliation between the Muslim and Christian leaderships in Lebanon was under strain in May and early June, while a Christian Maronite minister, George Efrem, in the key Ministry of Electricity and Water Resources, was all but sacked. He was given a new post in a reshuffle, but some weeks later he was ousted from the government after filing a lawsuit against the prime minister.

      On May 20 further controversy was caused when Hariri filled 72 civil service posts, which evoked allegations of cronyism. The most significant nomination was Riyad Salameh, a vice president of Merrill Lynch & Co., as governor of the Banque du Liban (Lebanon's central bank). Many ministers claimed that the Cabinet had not been consulted about these appointments.

      The Cabinet crisis that boiled over during the summer was put to an end only on August 26, when Syria's vice president announced during a visit to Beirut that the Hariri government had Syria's full backing. Nevertheless, his statement that the Lebanese Cabinet would stay "until the year 2000" upset some parliamentarians.

      On August 18, Syria and Lebanon formally agreed to establish a permanent secretariat for the Higher Council (called for in a bilateral treaty signed in May 1991). Nasri Khoury, a Maronite from al-Matn, was nominated secretary-general. The council, whose decisions would be binding, comprised senior ministers and parliamentarians and would meet once a year. On September 16, Syria and Lebanon signed accords on health, transport, agriculture, and socioeconomic affairs.

      During the summer, attacks by Hezbollah guerrillas on Israel and its client South Lebanon Army led to a sudden escalation of violence. On July 25, Israel launched its largest artillery, naval, and air strike since 1982. The attack lasted six days and left more than 130 dead, 500 wounded, and 300,000 homeless from 75 villages. A cease-fire on July 31 was followed by Lebanese action to revoke all gun permits in the south and by the deployment of an army battalion to help maintain peace. Arab League ministers meeting in Damascus, Syria, at the end of July pledged $500 million to help repair the damage.

      Lebanon's relations with the United States were dented when a military court in Beirut ruled on April 24 that the persons responsible for a 1983 truck-bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Beirut were covered by a 1991 amnesty. Two days later the U.S. offices of Lebanon's flag carrier, Middle East Airlines, were ordered to close. Stepping into the crisis, the Lebanese government then lodged an appeal in the military court, asking for an exception to be made for crimes against political leaders and foreign diplomats. (JOHN WHELAN)

* * *

Lebanon, flag of   country located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea; it consists of a narrow strip of territory and is one of the world's smaller sovereign states. The capital is Beirut.

      Though Lebanon, particularly its coastal region, was the site of some of the oldest human settlements in the world—the Phoenician ports of Tyre (modern Ṣūr), Sidon (Ṣaydā), and Byblos (Jubayl) were dominant centres of trade and culture in the 3rd millennium BCE—it was not until 1920 that the contemporary state came into being. In that year France, which administered Lebanon as a League of Nations (Nations, League of) mandate, established the state of Greater Lebanon. Lebanon then became a republic in 1926 and achieved independence in 1943.

      Lebanon shares many of the cultural characteristics of the Arab world, yet it has attributes that differentiate it from many of its Arab neighbours. Its rugged, mountainous terrain has served throughout history as an asylum for diverse religious and ethnic groups and for political dissidents. Lebanon is one of the most densely populated countries in the Mediterranean area and has a high rate of literacy. Notwithstanding its meagre natural resources, Lebanon long managed to serve as a busy commercial and cultural centre for the Middle East.

      This outward image of vitality and growth nevertheless disguised serious problems. Not only did Lebanon have to grapple with internal problems of social and economic organization, but it also had to struggle to define its position in relation to Israel, to its Arab neighbours, and to Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon. The delicate balance of Lebanese confessionalism (the proportional sharing of power between the country's religious communities) was eroded under the pressures of this struggle; communal rivalries over political power, exacerbated by the complex issues that arose from the question of Palestinian presence and from a growing “state within a state,” led to the outbreak of an extremely damaging civil war in 1975 and a breakdown of the governmental system. After the end of the civil war in 1990, Lebanon gradually reclaimed a degree of relative socioeconomic and political stability; because of the continued problems of external intervention and troubled confessional relations, however, many of Lebanon's challenges persisted into the early 21st century.

 Lebanon is bounded to the north and east by Syria, to the south by Israel, and to the west by the Mediterranean Sea.

      As in any mountainous region, the physical geography of Lebanon is extremely complex and varied. Landforms, climate, soils, and vegetation undergo some sharp and striking changes within short distances. Four distinct physiographic regions may be distinguished: a narrow coastal plain along the Mediterranean Sea, the Lebanon Mountains (Jabal Lubnān), Al-Biqāʿ (Biqāʿ, Al-) (Bekaa) valley, and the Anti-Lebanon (Anti-Lebanon Mountains) and Hermon ranges running parallel to the Lebanese Mountains.

      The coastal plain is narrow and discontinuous, almost disappearing in places. It is formed of river-deposited alluvium and marine sediments, which alternate suddenly with rocky beaches and sandy bays, and is generally fertile. In the far north it expands to form the ʿAkkār Plain.

      The snowcapped Lebanon Mountains are one of the most prominent features of the country's landscape. The range, rising steeply from the coast, forms a ridge of limestone and sandstone, cut by narrow and deep gorges. It is approximately 100 miles (160 km) long and varies in width from 6 to 35 miles (10 to 56 km). Its maximum elevation is at Qurnat al-Sawdāʾ (10,131 feet [3,088 metres]) in the north, where the renowned cedars of Lebanon grow in the shadow of the peak. The range then gradually slopes to the south, rising again to a second peak, Jabal Ṣannīn (8,842 feet [2,695 metres]), northeast of Beirut. To the south the range branches westward to form the Shūf Mountains and at its southern reaches gives way to the hills of Galilee, which are lower.

      Al-Biqāʿ (Biqāʿ, Al-) valley lies between the Lebanon Mountains in the west and the Anti-Lebanon Mountains in the east; its fertile soils consist of alluvial deposits from the mountains on either side. The valley, approximately 110 miles (180 km) long and from 6 to 16 miles (10 to 26 km) wide, is part of the great East African Rift System. In the south Al-Biqāʿ becomes hilly and rugged, blending into the foothills of Mount Hermon (Hermon, Mount) (Jabal al-Shaykh (Hermon, Mount)) to form the upper Jordan Valley.

      The Anti-Lebanon range (Anti-Lebanon Mountains) (Al-Jabal al-Sharqī) starts with a high peak in the north and slopes southward until it is interrupted by Mount Hermon (9,232 feet [2,814 metres]).

      Lebanese rivers, though numerous, are mostly winter torrents, draining the western slopes of the Lebanon Mountains. The only exception is the Līṭānī (Līṭānī River) River (90 miles [145 km] long), which rises near the famed ruins of Baalbek (Baalbeck) (Baʿlabakk) and flows southward in Al-Biqāʿ to empty into the Mediterranean near historic Tyre. The two other important rivers are the Orontes (Orontes River) (Nahr al-ʿĀṣī), which rises in the north of Al-Biqāʿ and flows northward, and the Kabīr.

      Soil quality and makeup in Lebanon vary by region. The shallow limestone soil of the mountains provides a relatively poor topsoil. The lower and middle slopes, however, are intensively cultivated, the terraced hills standing as a scenic relic of the ingenious tillers of the past. On the coast and in the northern mountains, reddish topsoils with a high clay content retain moisture and provide fertile land for agriculture, although they are subject to considerable erosion.

      There are sharp local contrasts in the country's climatic conditions. Lebanon is included in the Mediterranean climatic region, which extends westward to the Atlantic Ocean. Winter storms formed over the ocean move eastward through the Mediterranean, bringing precipitation at that season; in summer, however, the Mediterranean receives little or no precipitation. The climate of Lebanon is generally subtropical and is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, humid winters. Mean daily maximum temperatures range from the low 90s F (low 30s C) in July to the low 60s F (mid-10s C) on the coast and low 50s F (low 10s C) in Al-Biqāʿ in January. Mean minimum temperatures in January are in the low 50s F on the coast and the mid-30s F (about 2 °C) in Al-Biqāʿ. At 5,000 feet (1,524 metres), the elevation of the highest settlements, these are reduced by about 15 °F (8 °C).

      Nearly all precipitation falls in winter, averaging 30 to 40 inches (750 to 1,000 mm) on the coast and rising to more than 50 inches (1,270 mm) in higher altitudes. Al-Biqāʿ is drier and receives 15 to 25 inches (380 to 640 mm). On the higher mountaintops, this precipitation falls as heavy snow that remains until early summer.

Plant and animal life
 Lebanon was heavily forested in ancient and medieval times, and its timber—particularly its famed cedar—was exported for building and shipbuilding. The natural vegetation, however, has been grazed, burned, and cut for so long that little of it is regenerated. What survives is a wild Mediterranean vegetation of brush and low trees, mostly oaks, pines, cypresses, firs, junipers, and carobs.

      Few large wild animals survive in Lebanon, though bears are occasionally seen in the mountains. Among the smaller animals, deer, wildcats, hedgehogs, squirrels, martens, dormice, and hares are found. Numerous migratory birds from Africa and Europe visit Lebanon. Flamingos, pelicans, cormorants, ducks, herons, and snipes frequent the marshes; eagles, buzzards, kites, falcons, and hawks inhabit the mountains; and owls, kingfishers, cuckoos, and woodpeckers are common.

 Although Lebanon's diverse and abundant plant and animal life suffered a heavy toll during the country's lengthy civil war and subsequent conflicts, the post-civil war period was marked by the rise of fledgling environmental groups and movements that worked toward the creation of protected areas and parks in Lebanon's sensitive ecological areas.


Ethnic and linguistic composition
       Lebanon has a heterogeneous society composed of numerous ethnic, religious, and kinship groups. Long-standing attachments and local communalism antedate the creation of the present territorial and political entity and continue to survive with remarkable tenacity.

      Ethnically the Lebanese compose a mixture in which Phoenician, Greek, Armenian, and Arab elements are discernible. Within the larger Lebanese community, ethnic minorities including Armenian and Kurdish populations are also present.

      Arabic is the official language, although smaller proportions of the population are Armenian- or Kurdish-speaking; French and English are also spoken. Syriac (Syriac language) is used in some of the churches of the Maronites (Maronite church) (Roman Catholics following an Eastern rite).

      Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Lebanon's social structure is its varied religious composition. Since the 7th century Lebanon has served as a refuge for persecuted Christian and Muslim sects. The population is estimated to consist of a majority of Muslims and a large minority of Christians. Shīʿite Muslims are the most numerous group. Among the Christians, Maronites form the largest group, and Greek Orthodox (Greek Orthodox Church) and Greek Catholics (Greek Catholic church) are the next largest groups. Among the three Muslim denominations, the Shīʿites are followed closely by the Sunnis (Sunnite); the Druze constitute a small percentage. There is also a very small minority of Jews.

Settlement patterns
      Most of the population live on the coastal plain, and progressively fewer people are found farther inland. Rural villages are sited according to water supply and the availability of land, frequently including terraced agriculture in the mountains. Northern villages are relatively prosperous and have some modern architecture. Villages in the south have been generally poorer and less stable: local agricultural land is less fertile, and, because of their proximity to Israel, many villages have been subject to frequent dislocation, invasion, and destruction since 1975. Most cities are located on the coast; they have been inundated by migrants and displaced persons, and numerous, often poor, suburbs have been created as a result. Before 1975 many villages and cities were composed of several different religious groups, usually living together in harmony, and rural architecture reflected a unity of style irrespective of religious identity. Since the civil war began, a realignment has moved thousands of Christians north of Beirut along the coast and thousands of Muslims south or east of Beirut; thus, settlement patterns reflect the chasms separating sections of the Lebanese people from each other.

Demographic trends
      Lebanon's birth rate is slightly below the world's average, while its death rate is roughly half the global average. Almost one-third of the population is under age 15, with more than one-half under age 30. Life expectancy in Lebanon is higher than both the regional and world averages. One of the most salient demographic features of Lebanon is the uneven distribution of its population. The country's overall density varies regionally and is on the whole much lower than that of Beirut and the surrounding area but much higher than that of the most sparsely populated Al-Biqāʿ valley.

      Before the civil war began, the movement of people from rural areas was a major factor in the country's soaring rate of urbanization. Most of the internal migration was to Beirut, which accounted for the great majority of Lebanon's urban population. The civil war led to a substantial return of people to their villages and to a large migration abroad, primarily to the United States, Europe, Latin America, Australia, and parts of the Middle East; within Lebanon, it also led to a process of population dispersal and exchange in many areas that had previously been characterized by the coexistence of Christians and Muslims, and postwar efforts to reverse this process through programs meant to resettle the displaced were not immediately successful. Following the warfare between Hezbollah (Lebanese Shīʿite militia group and political party) and Israeli armed forces in 2006, many more Lebanese citizens—an estimated one million residents, particularly those living in the country's south—were displaced from their homes.

      In the years before the outbreak of civil war, Lebanon enjoyed status as a regional and commercial centre. The Lebanese economy was characterized by a minimum of government intervention in private enterprise combined with an income- and profit-tax-free environment. Although imports far outstripped exports, elements such as tourism and remittances from labourers working abroad helped balance the trade deficit. Income was generally on the rise, and Lebanese products were finding a place on the international market.

      For the first 10 years of the civil war, the Lebanese economy proved remarkably resilient; after the mid-1980s, however, the value of the Lebanese pound plummeted as the continued destruction of the country's infrastructure took its toll. After the civil war, Lebanon embarked on an ambitious program of social and economic reconstruction that entailed extensive renovation of the country's flagging infrastructure. Initiated by Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri (Hariri, Rafiq al-) in the 1990s, it aimed to revive Beirut as a regional financial and commercial centre. Beirut's reconstruction program made considerable progress in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, albeit at the expense of an increasing internal and external governmental debt load: much of the rebuilding program was financed through internal borrowing, which led to the emergence of both budget deficits and a growing public debt. Yet, to attract and encourage investment, tax rates were reduced. This led to severe budgetary austerity, resulting in only limited investment in Lebanon's social infrastructure and a growing reliance on regressive indirect taxation to meet budgetary shortfalls. Hence, while a fraction of Lebanese became very rich in postwar Lebanon, at the beginning of the 21st century some one-third of the Lebanese population lived below the poverty line.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
      Arable land is scarce, but the climate and the relatively abundant water supply from springs favour the intensive cultivation of a variety of crops on mountain slopes and in the coastal region. On the irrigated coastal plain, market vegetables, bananas, and citrus crops are grown. In the foothills the principal crops are olives, grapes, tobacco, figs, and almonds. At higher elevations (about 1,500 feet [460 metres]), peaches, apricots, plums, and cherries are planted, while apples and pears thrive at an elevation of about 3,000 feet (900 metres). Sugar beets, cereals, and vegetables are the main crops cultivated in Al-Biqāʿ (Biqāʿ, Al-). Poultry is a major source of agricultural income, and goats, sheep, and cattle are also raised.

      As a result of the continued violence, many small farmers have lost their livestock, and there has been a noticeable decrease in the production of many agricultural crops. The production of hemp, the source of hashish, has flourished in Al-Biqāʿ valley, however, and the hashish is exported illegally through ports along the coast.

Resources and power
      The mineral resources of Lebanon are few. There are deposits of high-grade iron ore and lignite; building-stone quarries; high-quality sand, suitable for glass manufacture; and lime. The Līṭānī River hydroelectric project generates electricity and has increased the amount of irrigated land for agriculture. Lebanon's power networks and facilities were damaged during the country's civil war and by Israeli air strikes carried out during the periodic warfare of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

      Leading industries in Lebanon include the manufacture of food products; cement, bricks, and ceramics; wood and wood products; and textiles. Many of the country's industries were harmed by the civil war, and its effects on the textile industry were especially severe. Although some of the country's large complexes were unharmed, Beirut's industrial belt was razed; in addition, Israel's occupation of the Lebanese south led to an influx of Israeli goods that also harmed Lebanese industries. The construction industry initially played a significant role in the postwar reconstruction that began in the early 1990s; recurrent violence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, caused further damage to Lebanese industry and infrastructure.

      During the first 10 years of the civil war, the finance sector of Lebanon's economy, including banking and insurance, showed an impressive expansion, and the monetary reserves of Lebanon continued to rise despite political uncertainties. The strength of the Lebanese pound and of the balance-of-payments position reflected large inflows of capital, mostly from Lebanese living abroad (whose numbers rose considerably during and after the civil war) and from the high level of liquidity of commercial banks. By 1983, however, inflows from Lebanese living abroad had begun to decrease, and the value of the Lebanese pound fell dramatically.

      As a result, two major challenges for post-civil war Lebanon were to secure enough capital to finance its reconstruction program and to reestablish the value of the Lebanese pound through a program of economic stabilization. Lebanon was forced to rely on capital-bond issues in the European market as well as domestic borrowing through the issue of treasury bills, which resulted in a rise in the level of both domestic and international indebtedness. Despite some gains in the early 21st century, the economy suffered marked declines with both the assassination of former prime minister Hariri in 2005 and the destruction wrought by the 2006 warfare between Israel and Hezbollah.

      Beirut's seaport and airport and the country's free economic and foreign-exchange systems, favourable interest rates, and banking secrecy law (modeled upon that of Switzerland) all contributed to Lebanon's preeminence of trade and services, particularly before the outset of the country's civil war.

      During the civil war, however, widespread smuggling, covert foreign aid to armed groups, and illegal drug production combined to disguise the country's pattern of trade. Exports, chiefly vegetable products, textiles, and nonprecious metals, are sent mainly to Middle Eastern countries. Imports such as consumer goods, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products, and food come mostly from western Europe. A huge trade deficit has been partly covered by “invisible” items such as foreign remittances and government loans. A series of economic and trade agreements signed with Syria after the end of the civil war resulted in a considerable degree of economic and commercial integration between the two countries.

      Before the civil war, the growth of the service sector—which generated the overwhelming proportion of national income and employed the largest proportion of the labour force—was related mainly to international transport and trade and to the position of Beirut as a centre of international banking and tourism. The abundance of natural scenery, historic sites, hotels, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, seaside and mountain resorts, outdoor sports facilities, and international cultural festivals in Lebanon traditionally helped maintain tourism as one of the country's most important year-round industries.

      Although all economic sectors were affected by the warfare, the detriment to the service sector was among the most profound. Following the end of the civil war in 1990, extensive reconstruction programs aimed to return Beirut to its status as a hub of finance and tourism, although progress was disrupted by periods of ongoing violence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Labour and taxation
      Large-scale unemployment and the emigration of many skilled labourers during the Lebanese civil war had a devastating effect on the country's workforce. As a result, numerous sectors were greatly hindered during the civil war period, with industry, construction, and transport and communications suffering the most significant contractions in workforce populations.

      Lebanon has a comparatively well-developed labour movement. Although faced with significant challenges, including government interference and restrictions, trade unions have secured some tangible gains, such as fringe benefits, collective bargaining contracts, and better working conditions. During the civil war, divisions in many of the trade unions weakened their normal functions, and many of their members joined the warring factions; many others emigrated. The end of the civil war saw the revival of Lebanon's trade union movement, which became an active participant in Lebanon's postwar civil society and demonstrated against the rising cost of living in the country and the increase in indirect taxes on such items as gasoline and oil. Lebanon's trade unions are organized into confederations, including the General Confederation of Lebanese Workers (Confédération Générale des Travailleurs au Liban).

      A minimum wage is set by the Labour Code, and legislation provides for cost-of-living increases, such as those that occurred prior to, during, and after the civil war, mainly because of a substantial rise in the cost of housing, education, food, and petroleum products. Tax revenues are an important source of income for the Lebanese government, among which domestic taxes on goods and services and income tax are the most significant.

      As in antiquity, Lebanon's location makes it a vital crossroads between East and West. The road network traversing Lebanon includes international highways, which form part of major land routes connecting Europe with the Arab countries and the East. There are also national highways, paved secondary roads, and unpaved roads.

 Numerous ports lie along the seacoast. Berths for oil tankers have been built offshore at Tripoli and at Al-Zahrānī, near Sidon, where pipeline terminals and refineries also are located. The principal cargo and passenger port is that of Beirut, which has a free zone and storage facilities for transit shipments. The port has been expanded and deepened, and a large storage silo (for wheat and other grains) has been built, but port facilities were severely damaged during the civil war and the postwar fighting. The harbour at Jūniyah has grown in importance.

      Beirut International Airport was one of the busiest airports in the Middle East before the civil war. Its runways were built to handle the largest jet airplanes in service, and a number of international airlines used Beirut regularly. After 1990, renovations to Beirut's airport were undertaken to facilitate a return to its prewar importance.

 At the end of the civil war, Lebanon's transportation infrastructure on the whole required significant reconstruction; many roads were rebuilt, including a highway along the coast from Tripoli to Sidon. Although some repairs were undertaken in 2004, Lebanon's railway system—which included lines along the coast and up Al-Biqāʿ valley, as well as a cog railway across the Lebanon Mountains—remained out of service in the years following the civil war. Many transport facilities—including the airport, ports, and major highways—were damaged anew during the warfare between Israel and Hezbollah in mid-2006.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
      Modern Lebanon is a republic with a parliamentary system of government. Its constitution, promulgated in 1926 during the French mandate and modified by several subsequent amendments, provides for a unicameral Chamber of Deputies (renamed the National Assembly in 1979) elected for a term of four years by universal adult suffrage (women attained the right to vote and eligibility to run for office in 1953). According to the 1989 Ṭāʾif Accord, parliamentary seats are apportioned equally between Christian and Muslim sects, thereby replacing an earlier ratio that had favoured Christians. This sectarian distribution is also to be observed in appointments to public office.

      The head of state is the president, who is elected by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly for a term of six years and is eligible to serve consecutive terms. By an unwritten convention the president must be a Maronite Christian, the premier a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the National Assembly a Shīʿite. The president, in consultation with the speaker of the National Assembly and the parliamentary deputies, invites a Sunni Muslim to form a cabinet, and the cabinet members' portfolios are organized to reflect the sectarian balance. The cabinet, which holds more executive power than the president, requires a vote of confidence from the Assembly in order to remain in power. A vote of no confidence, however, is rarely exercised in practice. A cabinet usually falls because of internal dissension, societal strife, or pressure exerted by foreign states.

Local government
      Lebanon is divided into muḥāfaẓāt (governorates) administered by the muḥāfiẓ (governor), who represents the central government. The governorates are further divided into aqḍiyyah (districts), each of which is presided over by a qāʾim-maqām (district chief), who, along with the governor, supervises local government. Municipalities (communities with at least 500 inhabitants) elect their own councils, which in turn elect mayors and vice-mayors. Villages and towns (more than 50 and fewer than 500 inhabitants) elect a mukhṭār (headman) and a council of elders, who serve on an honorary basis. Officers of local governments serve four-year terms.

      The system of law and justice is mostly modeled on French concepts. The judiciary consists of courts of the first instance, courts of appeal, courts of cassation, and a Court of Justice that handles cases affecting state security. The Council of State is a court that deals with administrative affairs. In addition, there are religious courts that deal with matters of personal status (such as inheritance, marriage, and property matters) as they pertain to autonomous communities. Stipulations in the Ṭāʾif Accord have led to the post-civil war establishment of a Constitutional Council, which is empowered to monitor the constitutionality of laws and handle disputes in the electoral process. Despite the country's well-developed legal system and a very high proportion of lawyers, significant numbers of disputes and personal grievances are resolved outside the courts. Justice by feud and vendetta continues.

Political process
      The political system in Lebanon remains a blend of secular and traditional features. Until 1975 the country appeared to support liberal and democratic institutions, yet in effect it had hardly any of the political instruments of a civil polity. Its political parties, parliamentary blocs, and pressure groups were so closely identified with parochial, communal, and personal loyalties that they often failed to serve the larger national purpose of the society. The National Pact of 1943, a sort of Christian-Muslim entente, sustained the national entity (al-kiyān), yet this sense of identity was neither national nor civic. The agreement reached at Ṭāʾif essentially secured a return to the same political process and its mixture of formal and informal political logic.

      Provisions are in place for power sharing among Lebanon's various sectarian groups. Women have not typically participated in the government; the first position in the cabinet to be held by a woman occurred in 2005. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon do not enjoy political rights and do not participate in the government.

      The armed forces consist of an army, an air force, and a navy. Lebanon also has a paramilitary gendarmerie and a police force. During the civil war the army practically disintegrated when splinter groups joined the different warring factions. Reconstruction of the Lebanese armed forces has been attempted, particularly with the assistance first of the United States and then of Syria, with substantial effect. Responsibility for maintaining security and order has often fallen to the various political and religious factions and to foreign occupiers.

Health and welfare
      Public health services are largely concentrated in the cities, although the government increasingly directs medical aid into rural areas. As in the field of social welfare, nongovernmental voluntary associations—mostly religious, communal, or ethnic—are active. The Lebanese diet is generally satisfactory, and the high standard of living and the favourable climate have served to reduce the incidence of many diseases that are still common in other Middle Eastern countries.

      Lebanon has a large number of skilled medical personnel, and hospital facilities are adequate under normal circumstances. Following the destruction of the civil war, considerable efforts—largely on the part of Lebanon's religious communities and nonprofit sector—were made to upgrade the infrastructure and services in the health and social welfare sectors.

      The National Social Security Fund, which is not fully implemented, provides sickness and maternity insurance, labour-accident and occupational-disease insurance, family benefits, and termination-of-service benefits.

      In response to the need for low-cost housing, the Popular Housing Law was enacted in the 1960s, providing for the rehabilitation of substandard housing. Prior to the civil war a substantial percentage of homes were without bathrooms, and thousands of families, including Palestinian refugees (refugee), were living in improvised accommodations. When an economic boom attracted villagers to the capital, the housing shortage worsened considerably. The civil war drastically increased the problem. Thousands of homes in battle zones were destroyed, and entire villages were evacuated and others occupied. The result was chaos in which property rights were violated as a matter of course. The government, in an attempt to remedy the situation, set up a Housing Bank to make housing loans.

      Lebanon's well-developed system of education reaches all levels of the population, and literacy rates are among the highest in the Middle East. Although education was once almost exclusively the responsibility of religious communities or foreign groups, public schools have sprung up across the country. Nevertheless, the majority of Lebanese students continue to be educated at private schools, which are generally considered more favourably than their public counterparts. Although more than two-fifths of students were enrolled in public schools in the early 1970s, at the end of the civil war the number had dropped to about one-third.

      The five-year primary school program is followed either by a seven-year secondary program (leading to the official baccalaureate certificate) or by a four-year program of technical or vocational training. Major universities include the American University of Beirut (Beirut, American University of) (1866), the Université Saint-Joseph (1875; subsidized by the French government and administered by the Jesuit order), the Lebanese University (Université Libanaise; 1951), and the Beirut Arab University (1960; an affiliate of the University of Alexandria).

Social and economic division
      Lebanese society was able for a long time to give a semblance of relative economic stability. The existence of a large middle-income group, in addition to the political and social legitimacy of kinship ties and religious and communal attachments, reinforced the veneer that masked the growing socioeconomic dislocations. The interaction of these factors covered up the growing class polarization, especially around the industrial belt that encircled Beirut. The eruption of civil conflict in 1975, and the state of chaos that ensued, is attributable in part to the fact that the system of government was unresponsive to the acute social problems and grievances.

      The problems of increasing socioeconomic disparity and government inaction continued into Lebanon's post-civil war period. Despite the visible success of some aspects of Lebanon's reconstruction program, the reality of the country's postwar economic situation has been characterized by a dwindling middle class and the descent of many Lebanese citizens into poverty.

Cultural life

Cultural milieu
      Historically, Lebanon is heir to a long succession of Mediterranean cultures—Phoenician, Greek, and Arab. Its cultural milieu continues to show clear manifestations of a rich and diverse heritage. As an Arab country, Lebanon shares more than a common language with neighbouring Arab states; it also has a similar cultural heritage and common interests.

 A number of Lebanon's rich cultural sites have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites (World Heritage site): the remains of the city of ʿAnjar (founded by al-Walīd (Walīd, al-) in the early 8th century); the ruins of successive cultures at the old Phoenician cities of Baalbek (Baalbeck), Byblos, and Tyre; and the Christian monasteries in Wadi Qādīshā, together with the nearby remains of a sacred forest of long-prized cedar.

Daily life and social customs
      Lebanon's diverse culture is a result of its admixture of various religious, linguistic, and socioeconomic groups. Family and kinship play a central role in Lebanese social relationships, in both the private and public spheres. Although family structure is traditionally largely patriarchal, women are active in education and politics.

      Because of the country's diverse religious makeup, Lebanese citizens observe a variety of holidays. Those celebrated by the Christian community include Easter and Christmas, the dates of which vary, as elsewhere, between the Catholic and Orthodox communities. Īd al-Fiṭrʿ (which marks the end of Ramadan (Ramaḍān)), Īd al-Aḍḥāʿ (which marks the culmination of the hajj), and the Prophet Muhammad's birthday are celebrated by Lebanese Muslims; Āshūrāʾʿ, a holiday particular to Shīʿite Muslims, is also observed. In addition, Martyrs' Day is observed on May 6 and Independence Day on November 22.

The arts
      Lebanon's antiquities and ruins have provided not only inspiration for artists but also magnificent backdrops for annual music festivals, most notably the Baalbek International Festival. At one time, international opera, ballet, symphony, and drama companies of nearly all nationalities competed to enrich the cultural life of Beirut. Following the end of the civil war in 1990, Lebanon's cultural life gradually began to reemerge, though that revival remained subject to interruption by periods of violence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

      Lebanon has produced a number of gifted young artists who have shown a refreshing readiness to experiment with new expressive forms. Some Lebanese are active in international opera, theatre companies, and television and movie productions, while others are intent on creating a wider audience for classical Arabic music and theatre. Other artists have remained cultural staples for many years: with a career spanning several decades, the immensely popular Lebanese singer Fairuz (Fayrūz) remains a well-known vocalist and a treasured cultural icon.

      The cultural awakening encouraged the revival of national folk arts, particularly song, dabkah (the national dance), and zajal (folk poetry), and the refinement of traditional crafts.

      In the 19th century, Lebanese linguists were in the vanguard of the Arabic literary awakening. In more recent times, writers of the calibre of Khalil Gibran (Gibran, Khalil), Georges Shehade, Michel Chiha, and Hanan al-Shaykh have been widely translated and have reached an international audience.

Cultural institutions
      While for a time cultural life in Lebanon was predominantly centred around universities and affiliated institutions, there has been an impressive proliferation of cultural activities under other auspices. Beirut has several museums and a number of private libraries, learned societies, and research institutions. The National Museum houses a collection of artifacts from Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine eras, and the National Library of Lebanon, closed in 1979 because of the civil war, began undergoing restorations in the early 21st century.

Sports and recreation
      Football (soccer) is among the most popular sports in Lebanon, although basketball is also favoured. weight lifting has been popular with many Lebanese athletes since the mid-20th century, and the country has traditionally sent weight lifters to international competitions with some regularity. Participation in outdoor activities has also gained momentum. Lebanon has several well-equipped ski resorts, and downhill skiing is popular among the wealthy, while windsurfing and kayaking are favoured pastimes among the younger generation. The untamed peaks and breathtaking scenery of the Lebanon Mountains contribute to the popularity of hiking expeditions and mountain biking.

      Lebanon sent a delegation of officials to the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, paving the way for the formation in 1947 of the Lebanese Olympic committee, which was acknowledged by the International Olympic Committee the following year. Since then, Lebanon has participated regularly in both the Summer and Winter Games. Lebanon has also hosted various competitions, including the Pan-Arab Games in 1997 and the Asian Cup in 2000.

Media and publishing
      Lebanon has long had a strong print media tradition. The country's major Arabic papers include Al-Nahār and Al-Safīr; other publications include a French-language newspaper, L'Orient–Le Jour, and The Daily Star, an English daily. While Lebanon's print media has been vulnerable to a certain degree of political influence, the country's press nevertheless remains among the freest and most lively in the Arab world.

      The relative independence of the print media contrasts sharply with the relatively high degree of regulation exercised by the government over audiovisual media. Television and radio broadcasting stations (especially those that air political news and commentary) are more heavily influenced by the government. Among these are television stations such as Télé-Liban, the official government station, as well as Future Television and the National Broadcasting Network; in addition, there are numerous stations that feature music and general entertainment programs.

Samir G. Khalaf Clovis F. Maksoud William L. Ochsenwald Paul Kingston


Origins and relations with Egypt
 The evidence of tools found in caves along the coast of what is now Lebanon shows that the area was inhabited from the Paleolithic Period (Old Stone Age) through the Neolithic Period (New Stone Age). Village life followed the domestication of plants and animals (the Neolithic Revolution, after about 10,000 BCE), with Byblos (modern Jubayl) apparently taking the lead. At this site also appear the first traces in Lebanon of pottery and metallurgy (first copper, then bronze, an alloy of tin and copper) by the 4th millennium BCE. The Phoenicians, indistinguishable from the Canaanites of Palestine, probably arrived in the land that became Phoenicia (a Greek term applied to the coast of Lebanon) about 3000 BCE. Herodotus and other Classical writers preserve a tradition that they came from the coast of the Erythraean Sea (i.e., the Persian Gulf), but in fact nothing certain is known of their original homeland.

      Except at Byblos, no excavations have produced any information concerning the 3rd millennium in Phoenicia before the advent of the Phoenicians. At Byblos the first urban settlement is dated about 3050–2850 BCE. Commercial and religious connections with Egypt (Egypt, ancient), probably by sea, are attested from the Egyptian 4th dynasty (c. 2575–c. 2465 BCE). The earliest artistic representations of Phoenicians are found at Memphis, in a damaged relief of Pharaoh Sahure of the 5th dynasty (mid-25th to early 24th century BCE). This shows the arrival of an Asiatic princess to be the pharaoh's bride; her escort is a fleet of seagoing ships, probably of the type known to the Egyptians as “Byblos ships,” manned by crews of Asiatics, evidently Phoenicians.

      Byblos was destroyed by fire about 2150 BCE, probably by the invading Amorites (Amorite). The Amorites rebuilt on the site, and a period of close contact with Egypt was begun. Costly gifts were given by the pharaohs to those Phoenician and Syrian princes, such as the rulers of Ugarit and Katna, who were loyal to Egypt. Whether this attests to Egypt's political dominion over Phoenicia at this time or simply to strong diplomatic and commercial relations is not entirely clear.

      In the 18th century BCE new invaders, the Hyksos, destroyed Amorite rule in Byblos and, passing on to Egypt, brought the Middle Kingdom to an end (c. 1630 BCE). Little is known about the Hyksos' origin, but they seem to have been ethnically mixed, including a considerable Semitic element, since the Phoenician deities El, Baal, and Anath figured in their pantheon. The rule of the Hyksos in Egypt was brief and their cultural achievement slight, but in this period the links with Phoenicia and Syria were strengthened by the presence of Hyksos aristocracies throughout the region. Pharaoh Ahmose I expelled the Hyksos about 1539 BCE and instituted the New Kingdom policy of conquest in Palestine and Syria. In his annals, Ahmose records capturing oxen from the Fenkhw, a term here perhaps referring to the Phoenicians. In the annals of the greatest Egyptian conqueror, Thutmose III (reigned c. 1479–26 BCE), the coastal plain of Lebanon, called Djahy, is described as rich with fruit, wine, and grain. Of particular importance to the New Kingdom pharaohs was the timber, notably cedar, of the Lebanese forests. A temple relief at Karnak depicts the chiefs of Lebanon felling cedars for the Egyptian officers of Seti I (c. 1300 BCE).

      Fuller information about the state of Phoenicia in the 14th century BCE comes from the Amarna letters, diplomatic texts belonging to the Egyptian foreign office, written in cuneiform and found at Tell el-Amarna (Amarna, Tell el-) in Middle Egypt. These archives reveal that the land of Retenu (Syria-Palestine) was divided into three administrative districts, each under an Egyptian governor. The northernmost district (Amurru) included the coastal region from Ugarit to Byblos, the central district (Upi) included the southern Al-Biqāʿ (Biqāʿ, Al-) valley and Anti-Lebanon Mountains, and the third district ( Canaan) included all of Palestine from the Egyptian border to Byblos. Also among the letters are many documents addressed by the subject princes of Phoenicia and their Egyptian governors to the pharaoh. It was a time of much political unrest. The Hittites (Hittite) from central Anatolia were invading Syria; nomads from the desert supported the invasion, and many of the local chiefs were ready to seize the opportunity to throw off the yoke of Egypt. The tablets that reveal this state of affairs are written in the language and script of Babylonia (i.e., Akkadian (Akkadian language)) and thus show the extent to which Babylonian culture had penetrated Palestine and Phoenicia; at the same time they illustrate the closeness of the relations between the Canaanite towns (i.e., those in Palestine) and the dominant power of Egypt.

      After the reign of Akhenaton (Amenhotep IV; reigned 1353–36 BCE), that power collapsed altogether, but his successors attempted to recover it, and Ramses II (1279–13 BCE) reconquered Phoenicia as far as the Al-Kalb River (Kalb River, Al-). In the reign of Ramses III (1187–56 BCE), many great changes began to occur as a result of the invasion of Syria by peoples from Asia Minor and Europe. The successors of Ramses III lost their hold over Canaan; the 21st dynasty no longer intervened in the affairs of Syria. In The Story of Wen-Amon, a tale of an Egyptian religious functionary sent to Byblos to secure cedar about 1100 BCE, the episode of the functionary's inhospitable reception shows the extent of the decline of Egypt's authority in Phoenicia at this time. Sheshonk (Shishak (Sheshonk I)) I, the founder of the 22nd dynasty, endeavoured about 928 BCE to assert the ancient supremacy of Egypt. His successes, however, were not lasting, and, as is clear from the Old Testament, the power of Egypt thereafter became ineffective.

Phoenicia as a colonial and commercial power
 Kingship appears to have been the oldest form of Phoenician government. The royal houses claimed divine descent, and the king could not be chosen outside their members. His power, however, was limited by that of the merchant families, who wielded great influence in public affairs. Associated with the king was a council of elders; such at least was the case at Byblos, Sidon, and perhaps Tyre. During Nebuchadrezzar II's reign (c. 605–c. 561 BCE), a republic took the place of the monarchy at Tyre, and the government was administered by a succession of suffetes (judges); they held office for short terms, and in one instance two ruled together for six years. Much later, in the 3rd century BCE, an inscription from Tyre also mentions a suffete. Carthage was governed by two suffetes, and these officers are frequently named in connection with the Carthaginian colonies. But this does not justify any inference that Phoenicia itself had such magistrates. Under the Persians a federal bond was formed linking Sidon, Tyre, and Aradus. Federation on a larger scale was never possible in Phoenicia because no sense of political unity existed to bind the different states together.

      By the 2nd millennium BCE the Phoenicians had already extended their influence along the coast of the Levant by a series of settlements, some well known, some virtually nothing but names. Well known throughout history are Joppa (Jaffa; later incorporated into Tel Aviv–Yafo, Israel) and Dor in the south. However, the earliest site known to possess important aspects of Phoenician culture outside the Phoenician homeland is Ugarit (Ra's Shamrah), about 6 miles (10 km) north of Latakia. The site was already occupied before the 4th millennium BCE, but the Phoenicians became prominent there only in the Egyptian 12th dynasty (1938–1756 BCE).

      Evidence remains of two temples dedicated to the Phoenician gods Baal and Dagon (Dagan), although the ruling family appears to have been of different, non-Phoenician extraction. The 15th century BCE shows strong cultural influences already established there from Cyprus and the world of Mycenaean Greece. A splendid archive of literary and administrative documents found at Ugarit from this period provides evidence of an early form of alphabetic script, arguably the most important Phoenician contribution to Western civilization. In the latter part of the 13th century BCE, a flood of land and sea raiders (the Sea Peoples (Sea People)) descended on the Levant coast, destroying many of the Phoenician cities and rolling onward to the frontier of Egypt, from which they were beaten back by the pharaoh Ramses III. Ugarit was destroyed, together with Aradus and Byblos, though the latter were afterward rebuilt. Though Sidon was destroyed only in part, its inhabitants fled to Tyre, which from this time was regarded as the principal city of Phoenicia and began its period of prosperity and expansion.

      Tyre's first colony, Utica in North Africa, was founded perhaps as early as the 10th century BCE. It is likely that the expansion of the Phoenicians at the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE is to be connected with the alliance of Hiram of Tyre with Solomon of Israel in the second half of the 10th century BCE. In the following century, Phoenician presence in the north is shown by inscriptions at Samal ( Zincirli Höyük) in eastern Cilicia and in the 8th century BCE at Karatepe in the Taurus Mountains, but there is no evidence of direct colonization. Both these cities acted as fortresses commanding the routes through the mountains to the mineral and other wealth of Anatolia.

      Cyprus had Phoenician settlements by the 9th century BCE. Citium (biblical Kittim), known to the Greeks as Kition, in the southeast corner of the island, became the principal colony of the Phoenicians in Cyprus. Elsewhere in the Mediterranean, several smaller settlements were planted as stepping-stones along the route to Spain and its mineral wealth in silver and copper: early remains at Malta go back to the 7th century BCE and at Sulcis and Nora in Sardinia and Motya in Sicily perhaps a century earlier. According to Thucydides, the Phoenicians controlled a large part of the island but withdrew to the northwest corner under pressure from the Greeks. Modern scholars, however, disbelieve this and contend that the Phoenicians arrived only after the Greeks were established.

      In North Africa the next site colonized after Utica was Carthage (near modern-day Tunis, Tun (Tunisia).). Carthage in turn seems to have established (or in some cases reestablished) a number of settlements in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the Balearic Islands, and southern Spain, eventually making this city the acknowledged leader of the western Phoenicians.

      There is little factual evidence to confirm the presence of any settlement in Spain earlier than the 7th century BCE, or perhaps the 8th century, and many of these settlements should be viewed as Punic (Carthaginian) rather than Phoenician, though it is likely that the colonizing expeditions of the Carthaginians were supported by many emigrants from the Phoenician homeland. It is very probable that the tremendous colonial activity of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians was stimulated in the 8th–6th centuries BCE by the military blows that were wrecking the trade of the Phoenician homeland. Also, competition with the synchronous Greek colonization of the western Mediterranean cannot be ignored as a contributing factor.

      In the 3rd century BCE Carthage, defeated by the Romans (ancient Rome) (in the First Punic War (Punic War, First)), embarked on a further imperialistic phase in Spain to recoup its losses. Rome responded, defeated Carthage a second time, and annexed Spain (Second Punic War (Punic War, Second)). Finally, in 146 BCE, after a third war with Rome, Carthage suffered total destruction (Third Punic War (Punic War, Third)). It was rebuilt as a Roman colony in 44 BCE. The ancient Phoenician language survived in use as a vernacular in some of the smaller cities of North Africa at least until the time of St. Augustine (Augustine, Saint), bishop of Hippo (5th century CE).

      The mercantile role that tradition especially assigns to the Phoenicians was first developed on a considerable scale at the time of the Egyptian 18th dynasty. The position of Phoenicia, at a junction of both land and sea routes and under the protection of Egypt, favoured this development, and the discovery of the alphabet and its use and adaptation for commercial purposes assisted the rise of a mercantile society. A fresco in an Egyptian tomb of the 18th dynasty depicts seven Phoenician merchant ships that had just put in at an Egyptian port to sell their goods, including the distinctive Canaanite wine jars in which wine, a drink foreign to the Egyptians, was imported. The Story of Wen-Amon recounts the tale of a Phoenician merchant, Werket-el of Tanis in the Nile delta, who was described as the owner of 50 ships that sailed between Tanis and Sidon. The Sidonians are also famous in the poems of Homer as craftsmen, traders, pirates, and slave dealers. The biblical prophet Ezekiel, in a famous denunciation of the city of Tyre (Ezekiel 27–28 (Ezekiel, The Book of)), catalogs the vast extent of its commerce, covering most of the then-known world.

      The exports of Phoenicia as a whole included particularly cedar and pine woods from Lebanon, fine linen from Tyre, Byblos, and Berytos, cloth dyed with the famous Tyrian purple (made from the snail Murex), embroideries from Sidon, metalwork and glass, glazed faience, wine, salt, and dried fish. The Phoenicians received in return raw materials such as papyrus, ivory, ebony, silk, amber, ostrich eggs, spices, incense, horses, gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, jewels, and precious stones.

      In addition to these exports and imports, according to Herodotus's History, the Phoenicians also conducted an important transit trade, especially in the manufactured goods of Egypt and Babylonia. From the lands of the Euphrates and Tigris, regular trade routes led to the Mediterranean. In Egypt the Phoenician merchants soon gained a foothold; they alone were able to maintain a profitable trade in the anarchic times of the 22nd and 23rd dynasties (c. 950–c. 730 BCE). Herodotus also observed that, though there were never any regular colonies of Phoenicians in Egypt, the Tyrians had a quarter of their own in Memphis and the Arabian caravan trade in perfume, spices, and incense passed through Phoenician hands on its way to Greece (ancient Greek civilization) and the West.

      The Phoenicians were not mere passive peddlers in art or commerce. Their achievement in history was a positive contribution, even if it was only that of an intermediary. For example, the extent of the debt of Greece (Greek alphabet) alone to Phoenicia may be fully measured by its adoption, probably in the 8th century BCE, of the Phoenician alphabet with very little variation (along with Semitic loanwords), by characteristically Phoenician decorative motifs on pottery and by architectural paradigms, and by the universal use in Greece of the Phoenician standards of weights and measures.

navigation and seafaring
      Essential for the establishment of commercial supremacy was the Phoenician skill in navigation and seafaring. The Phoenicians are credited with the discovery and use of Polaris (the North Star). Fearless and patient navigators, they ventured into regions where no one else dared to go, and always, with an eye to their monopoly, they carefully guarded the secrets of their trade routes and discoveries and their knowledge of winds and currents. According to Herodotus, Pharaoh Necho II (reigned 610–595 BCE) organized the Phoenician circumnavigation of Africa (History, Book IV, chapter 42). Hanno, a Carthaginian, led another in the mid-5th century. The Carthaginians seem to have reached the island of Corvo (Corvo Island) in the Azores, and they may even have reached Britain, for many Carthaginian coins have been found there.

Assyrian and Babylonian (Babylonia) domination of Phoenicia
 Between the withdrawal of Egyptian rule in Syria and the western advance of Assyria, there was an interval during which the city-states of Phoenicia owned no suzerain. Byblos had kings of its own, among them Ahiram, Abi-baal, and Ethbaal (Ittobaʿal) in the 10th century, as excavations have shown. The history of this time period is mainly a history of Tyre, which not only rose to a hegemony among the Phoenician states but also founded colonies beyond the seas. Unfortunately, the native historical records of the Phoenicians have not survived, but it is clear from the Bible that the Phoenicians lived on friendly terms with the Israelites (Israelite). In the 10th century BCE Hiram, king of Tyre, built the Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem in return for rich gifts of oil, wine, and territory. In the following century Ethbaal of Tyre married his daughter Jezebel to Ahab, king of Israel, and Jezebel's daughter in turn married the king of Judah.

      In the 9th century, however, the independence of Phoenicia was increasingly threatened by the advance of Assyria. In 868 BCE Ashurnasirpal II reached the Mediterranean and exacted tribute from the Phoenician cities. His son, Shalmaneser III, took tribute from the Tyrians and Sidonians and established a supremacy over Phoenicia (at any rate, in theory), which was acknowledged by occasional payments of tribute to him and his successors. In 734 BCE Tiglath-pileser III in his western campaign established his authority over Byblos, Arados, and Tyre. A fresh invasion by Shalmaneser V took place in 725 when he was on his way to Samaria, and in 701 Sennacherib, facing a rebellion of Philistia, Judah, and Phoenicia, drove out and deposed Luli, identified as king of both Sidon and Tyre. In 678 Sidon rebelled against the Assyrians, who marched down and annihilated the city, rebuilding it on the mainland. Sieges of Tyre took place in 672 and 668, but the city resisted both, only submitting in the later years of Ashurbanipal.

      During the period of Neo-Babylonian power, which followed the fall of Nineveh in 612 BCE, the pharaohs made attempts to seize the Phoenician and Palestinian seaboard. Nebuchadrezzar II, king of Babylon, having sacked Jerusalem, marched against Phoenicia and besieged Tyre, but it held out successfully for 13 years, after which it capitulated, seemingly on favourable terms.

      Phoenicia passed from the suzerainty of the Babylonians to that of their conquerors, the Persian Achaemenian Dynasty, in 538 BCE. Not surprisingly, the Phoenicians turned as loyal supporters to the Persians, who had overthrown their oppressors and reopened to them the trade of the East. Lebanon, Syria-Palestine, and Cyprus were organized as the fifth satrapy (province) of the Persian empire. At the time of Xerxes I's invasion of Greece (480 BCE), Sidon was considered the principal city of Phoenicia; the ships of Sidon were considered the finest part of Xerxes' fleet, and its king ranked next to Xerxes and before the king of Tyre. (Phoenician coins have been used to supplement historical sources on the period. From the reign of Darius I [522–486 BCE], the Persian monarchs had allowed their satraps and vassal states to coin silver and copper money. Arados, Byblos, Sidon, and Tyre therefore issued coinage of their own.) In the 4th century Tyre and later Sidon revolted against the Persian king. The revolt was suppressed in 345 BCE.

Greek and Roman periods
      In 332 BCE Tyre resisted Alexander the Great in a siege of eight months. Alexander finally captured the city by driving a mole into the sea from the mainland to the island. As a result, Tyre, the inhabitants of which were largely sold into slavery, lost all importance, soon being replaced in the leadership of the regional markets by Alexandria, the conqueror's newly founded city in Egypt. In the Hellenistic Age (323–30 BCE) the cities of Phoenicia became the prize for the competing Macedonian dynasties, controlled first by the Ptolemies of Egypt in the 3rd century BCE and then by the Seleucid dynasty (Seleucid kingdom) of Syria in the 2nd century and early decades of the 1st century BCE. The Seleucids apparently permitted a good measure of autonomy to the Phoenician cities. Tigranes II (Tigranes II The Great) (the Great) of Armenia brought an end to the Seleucid dynasty in 83 BCE and extended his realm to Mount Lebanon. The Romans eventually intervened to restore Seleucid sovereignty, but, when anarchy prevailed, they imposed peace and assumed direct rule in 64 BCE.

      Phoenicia was incorporated into the Roman (ancient Rome) province of Syria, though Aradus, Sidon, and Tyre retained self-government. Berytus ( Beirut), relatively obscure up to this point, rose to prominence by virtue of Augustus's grant of Roman colonial status and by the lavish building program financed by Herod the Great (and in turn by his grandson and great-grandson). Under the Severan dynasty (CE 193–235) Sidon, Tyre, and probably Heliopolis (Baalbek (Baalbeck)) also received colonial status. Under this dynasty the province of Syria was partitioned into two parts: Syria Coele (“Hollow Syria”), comprising a large region loosely defined as north and east Syria, and Syria Phoenice in the southwestern region, which included not only coastal Phoenicia but also the territory beyond the mountains and into the Syrian Desert. Under the provincial reorganization of the Eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II in the early 5th century CE, Syria Phoenice was expanded into two provinces: Phoenice Prima (Maritima), basically ancient Phoenicia; and Phoenice Secunda (Libanesia), an area extending to Mount Lebanon on the west and deep into the Syrian Desert on the east. Phoenice Secunda included the cities of Emesa (its capital), Heliopolis, Damascus, and Palmyra.

      During the period of the Roman Empire, the native Phoenician language died out in Lebanon and was replaced by Aramaic (Aramaic language) as the vernacular. Latin, the language of the soldiers and administrators, in turn fell before Greek, the language of letters of the eastern Mediterranean, by the 5th century CE. Lebanon produced a number of important writers in Greek, most notably Philo of Byblos (64–141) and, in the 3rd century, Porphyry of Tyre and Iamblichus of Chalcis in Syria Coele. Porphyry played a key role in disseminating the Neoplatonic philosophy of his master, Plotinus, which would influence both pagan and Christian thought in the later Roman Empire.

      In many respects, the two most important cities of Lebanon during the time of the Roman Empire were Heliopolis (Baalbeck) and Berytus. At Heliopolis the Roman emperors, particularly the Severans, constructed a monumental temple complex, the most spectacular elements of which were the Temple of Jupiter Heliopolitanus and the Temple of Bacchus. Berytus, on the other hand, became the seat of the most famous provincial school of Roman law. The school, which probably was founded by Septimius Severus (Severus, Septimius), lasted until the destruction of Berytus itself by a sequence of earthquakes, a tidal wave, and fire in the mid-6th century. Two of Rome's most famous jurists, Papinian and Ulpian, both natives of Lebanon, taught as professors at the law school under the Severans. Their judicial opinions constitute well over one-third of the Pandects (Digest) contained in the great compilation of Roman law commissioned by the emperor Justinian I in the 6th century CE.

      In 608–609 the Persian king Khosrow II pillaged Syria and Lebanon and reorganized the area into a new satrapy, excluding only Phoenicia Maritima. Between 622 and 629 the Byzantine emperor Heraclius mounted an offensive and restored Syria-Lebanon to his empire. This success was short-lived; in the 630s Muslim (Islāmic world) Arabs conquered Palestine and Lebanon, and the old Phoenician cities offered only token resistance to the invader.

Richard David Barnett William L. Ochsenwald Glenn Richard Bugh

Lebanon in the Middle Ages
      The population of Lebanon did not begin to take its present form until the 7th century CE. At some time in the Byzantine period, a military group of uncertain origin, the Mardaïtes (Mardaïte), established themselves in the north among the indigenous population. From the 7th century onward another group entered the country, the Maronites (Maronite church), a Christian community adhering to the Monothelite doctrine. Forced by persecution to leave their homes in northern Syria, they settled in the northern part of the Lebanon Mountains and absorbed the Mardaïtes and indigenous peasants to form the present Maronite church. Originally Syriac (Syriac language)-speaking, they gradually adopted the Arabic language while keeping Syriac for liturgical purposes. In south Lebanon, Arab tribesmen came in after the Muslim conquest of Syria in the 7th century and settled among the indigenous people. In the 11th century many were converted to the Druze faith, an esoteric offshoot of Shīʿite Islam. South Lebanon became the headquarters of the faith. Groups of Shīʿite Muslims settled on the northern and southern fringes of the mountains and in Al-Biqāʿ. In the coastal towns the population became mainly Sunni Muslim, but in town and country alike there remained considerable numbers of Christians of various sects. In the course of time, virtually all sections of the population adopted Arabic, the language of the Muslim states in which Lebanon was included.

      Beirut and Mount Lebanon were ruled by the Umayyad Dynasty (661–750) as part of the district of Damascus. Despite the occasional rising by the Maronites, Lebanon provided naval forces to the Umayyads in their interminable warfare with the Byzantines. The 8th-century Beirut legist al-Awzāʿī established a school of Islamic law that heavily influenced Lebanon and Syria. From the 9th to the 11th century, coastal Lebanon was usually under the sway of independent Egyptian Muslim dynasties, although the Byzantine Empire attempted to gain portions of the north.

      At the end of the 11th century, Lebanon became a part of the Crusader (Crusades) states, the north being incorporated in the county of Tripoli, the south in the kingdom of Jerusalem (Jerusalem, kingdom of). The Maronite church began to accept papal supremacy while keeping its own patriarch and liturgy.

      Despite the strong fortresses of the Crusaders, a Muslim reconquest of Lebanon began, under the leadership of Egypt, with the fall of Beirut to the famous sultan Saladin in 1187. Mongol raids against Al-Biqāʿ valley were defeated. Lebanon became part of the Mamlūk state of Egypt and Syria in the 1280s and '90s and was divided between several provinces. Mamlūk rule, which allowed limited local autonomy to regional leaders, encouraged commerce. The coastal cities, especially Tripoli, flourished, and the people of the interior were left largely free to manage their own affairs.

Ottoman (Ottoman Empire) period
      Expansion of the Ottoman Empire began in the area under Selim I (reigned 1512–20). He defeated the Mamlūks in 1516–17 and added Lebanon (as part of Mamlūk Syria and Egypt) to his empire. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Ottoman Lebanon evolved a social and political system of its own. Ottoman Aleppo or Tripoli governed the north, Damascus the centre, and Sidon (after 1660) the south. Coastal Lebanon and Al-Biqāʿ valley were usually ruled more directly from Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, Tur (Turkey).), the Ottoman capital, while Mount Lebanon enjoyed semiautonomous status. The population took up its present position: the Shīʿites were driven out of the north but increased their strength in the south; many Druze moved from south Lebanon to Jebel Druze (Jabal al-Durūz (Durūz, Mount al-)) in southern Syria; Maronite peasants, increasing in numbers, moved south into districts mainly populated by Druze. Monasteries acquired more land and wealth. In all parts of the mountains there grew up families of notables who controlled the land and established a feudal relation with the cultivators; some were Christian, some Druze, who were politically dominant. From them arose the house of Maʿn, which established a princedom over the whole of Mount Lebanon and was accepted by Christians and Druze alike. Fakhr al-Dīn II (Fakhr ad-Dīn II) ruled most of Lebanon from 1593 to 1633 and encouraged commerce. When the house of Maʿn died out in 1697, the notables elected as prince a member of the Shihāb family, who were Sunni Muslims but with Druze followers, and this family ruled until 1842. Throughout this period European influence was growing. European trading colonies were established in Saïda and other coastal towns, mainly to trade in silk, the major Lebanese export from the 17th to the 20th century. French political influence was great, particularly among the Maronites, who formally united with the Roman Catholic Church in 1736.

      The 19th century was marked by economic growth, social change, and political crisis. The growing Christian (Christianity) population moved southward and into the towns, and toward the end of the century many of these Christians emigrated to North America, South America, and Egypt. French Catholic and American Protestant mission schools, as well as schools of the local communities, multiplied; in 1866 the American mission established the Syrian Protestant College (now the American University of Beirut (Beirut, American University of)), and in 1875 the Jesuits (Jesuit) started the Université Saint-Joseph. Such schools produced a literate class, particularly among the Christians, that found employment as professionals. Beirut became a great international port, and its merchant houses established connections with Egypt, the Mediterranean countries, and England.

      The growth of the Christian communities upset the traditional balance of Lebanon. The Shihāb princes inclined more and more toward them, and part of the family indeed became Maronites. The greatest of them, Bashīr II (Bashīr Shihāb II) (reigned 1788–1840), after establishing his power with the help of Druze notables, tried to weaken them. When the Egyptian troops of Ibrāhīm Pasha (İbrahim Paşa) occupied Lebanon and Syria in 1831, Bashīr formed an alliance with him to limit the power of the ruling families and to preserve his own power. But Egyptian rule was ended by Anglo-Ottoman intervention, aided by a popular rising in 1840, and Bashīr was deposed. With him the princedom virtually ended; his weak successor was deposed by the Ottomans in 1842, and from that time relations grew worse between the Maronites, led by their patriarch, and the Druze, trying to retain their traditional supremacy. The French supported the Maronites and the British supported a section of the Druze, while the Ottoman government encouraged the collapse of the traditional structure, which would enable it to impose its own direct authority. The conflict culminated in the massacre of Maronites by the Druze in 1860. The complacent attitude of the Ottoman authorities led to direct French intervention on behalf of the Christians. The powers jointly imposed the Organic Regulation of 1861 (modified in 1864), which gave Mount Lebanon, the axial mountain region, autonomy under a Christian governor appointed by the Ottoman sultan, assisted by a council representing the various communities. Mount Lebanon prospered under this regime until World War I (1914–18), when the Ottoman government placed it under strict control, similar to that already established for the coast and Al-Biqāʿ valley.

French mandate
      At the end of the war, Lebanon was occupied by Allied forces and placed under a French military administration. In 1920 Beirut and other coastal towns, Al-Biqāʿ, and certain other districts were added to the autonomous territory Mount Lebanon as defined in 1861 to form Greater Lebanon (Grand Liban; subsequently called the Lebanese Republic). In 1923 the League of Nations (Nations, League of) formally gave the mandate for Lebanon and Syria to France. The Maronites, strongly pro-French by tradition, welcomed this, and during the next 20 years, while France held the mandate, the Maronites were favoured. The expansion of prewar Lebanon into Greater Lebanon, however, changed the balance of the population. Although the Maronites were the largest single element, they no longer formed a majority. The population was more or less equally divided between Christians and Muslims, and a large section of it wanted neither to be ruled by France nor to be part of an independent Lebanon but rather to form part of a larger Syrian or Arab state. To ease tensions between the communities, the constitution of 1926 provided that each should be equitably represented in public offices. Thus, by convention the president of the republic was normally a Maronite, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the chamber a Shīʿite Muslim.

      Under French administration, public utilities and communications were improved, and education was expanded (although higher education was left almost wholly in the hands of religious bodies). Beirut prospered as a centre of trade with surrounding countries, but agriculture was depressed by the decline of the silk industry and the worldwide economic depression. As the middle class of Beirut grew and a real, if fragile, sense of common national interest sprang up alongside communal loyalties, there also grew the desire for more independence. A Franco-Lebanese treaty of independence and friendship was signed in 1936 but was not ratified by the French government. Lebanon was controlled by the Vichy (Vichy France) authorities after the fall of France in 1940 but was occupied by British and Free French troops in 1941. The Free French representative proclaimed the independence of Lebanon and Syria, which was underwritten by the British government. Because of their own precarious position, however, the Free French were unwilling to relax control. In 1943, however, they held elections, which resulted in victory for the Nationalists. Their leader, Bishara al-Khuri (Khuri, Bishara al-), was elected president. The new government passed legislation introducing certain constitutional changes that eliminated all traces of French influence, to which the French objected. On Nov. 11, 1943, the president and almost the entire government were arrested by the French. This led to an insurrection, followed by British diplomatic intervention; the French restored the government and transferred powers to it. Although independence had been proclaimed on Nov. 22, 1943, it was not until after another crisis in 1945 that an agreement was reached on a simultaneous withdrawal of British and French troops. This was completed by the end of 1946, and Lebanon became wholly independent; it had already become a member of the United Nations and the Arab League.

Richard David Barnett William L. Ochsenwald

Lebanon after independence
      For many years Lebanon maintained its parliamentary democracy, despite serious trials. The main problem for Lebanon was to implement the unwritten power-sharing National Pact of 1943 between the Christians and Muslims. In the early years of independence, so long as no urgent call for pan-Arab unity came from outside, the National Pact faced no serious strains.

Khuri regime, 1943–52
      Khuri, the Maronite president, closely cooperated with the Sunni leader Riad al-Sulh, who was premier most of the time. A temporary amendment of the constitution permitted the president, in 1949, a second six-year term. The parliamentary elections of 1947 were manipulated to produce a parliament favourable to the amendment. This, together with the open favouritism of the president toward his friends and the gross corruption he allegedly condoned, made Khuri increasingly unpopular after his reelection in 1949.

      The military coup that overthrew the regime of Shukri al-Kuwatli (Quwatli, Shukri al-) in Syria in March 1949 encouraged the opponents of Khuri in Lebanon. In July 1949 the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (or the Parti Populair Syrien; PPS) tried to overthrow the regime by force. The coup failed, and its leaders were seized and shot. The PPS took its revenge by securing the assassination of Khuri's premier in 1951. The mounting opposition to the Khuri regime culminated in September 1952 in a general strike that forced his resignation. Camille Chamoun (Chamoun, Camille) was elected by the parliament to succeed him.

Chamoun regime and the 1958 crisis
      The presidency of Chamoun coincided with the rise of Arab nationalist leader Gamal Abdel Nasser (Nasser, Gamal Abdel) in Egypt. During the Suez War (October–December 1956), Chamoun earned Nasser's enmity by refusing to break off diplomatic relations with Britain and France, which had joined Israel in attacking Egypt. Chamoun was accused of seeking to align Lebanon with the Western-sponsored Central Treaty Organization, also known as the Baghdad Pact. (See Suez Crisis.)

      Matters came to a head following the parliamentary elections of 1957, which allegedly were manipulated to produce a parliament favourable to the reelection of Chamoun. When Syria entered into a union with Egypt—the United Arab Republic—in February 1958, the Muslim opposition to Chamoun in Lebanon hailed the union as a triumph for Pan-Arabism, and there were widespread demands that Lebanon be associated in the union. In May a general strike was proclaimed, and the Muslims of Tripoli rose in armed insurrection. The insurrection spread, and the army was asked to take action against the insurgents. The commanding general, Fuad Chehab (Chehab, Fuad), refused to attack them for fear that the army, which was composed of Christians and Muslims, would split apart. The Chamoun government took the issue of external intervention to the United Nations (UN), accusing the United Arab Republic of intervention, and UN observers were sent to Lebanon. When in July the pro-Western regime in Iraq was toppled in a coup, President Chamoun immediately requested U.S. military intervention, and on the following day U.S. Marines landed outside Beirut. The presence of U.S. troops had little immediate effect on the internal situation, but the insurrection slowly faded out. Parliament turned to the commander of the army, General Chehab, as a compromise candidate to succeed Chamoun as his term ended; Rashid Karami became the new premier.

Chehabism: from Chehab to Hélou, 1958–76
      The crisis had been resolved by compromise, and the Chehab regime was successful in maintaining the compromise and promoting the national unity of the Lebanese people. By his refusal as army commander to take offensive action against the insurgents in 1958, Chehab had earned the confidence of the Muslims. Once in power, he proceeded to allay long-standing Muslim grievances by associating Muslims more closely in the administration and by attending to neglected areas of Lebanon where Muslims predominated. Internal stability was further promoted by the maintenance of good relations with the United Arab Republic, which, even after the Syrian secession in 1961, remained highly popular with the Muslim Lebanese. The economic boom that had begun under the Chamoun regime as the result of the flight of capital from the unstable Arab world into Lebanon continued under the Chehab regime.

      After stabilizing confessional relations, Chehab embarked upon a program of reform intended to strengthen the Lebanese state, the capabilities of which up until that time had been enormously weak. His main goal was to reduce some of the social and economic imbalances that had begun to emerge in Lebanese society and which were reflected in the political system by the dominance of the zuʿamāʾ (old semifeudal elites). Personnel reform legislation passed in 1959 called for an equality of appointments for Christians and Muslims to bureaucratic posts. His efforts to expand the state's role in the provision of social services were regarded by the traditional elites with suspicion, as this development competed with their own patronage networks. Through the establishment of state-run agencies such as the Litani River Authority aimed at improving the socioeconomic status of the relatively underserved (and largely Shīʿite) south of the country, Chehab also tried to enhance the role of the Lebanese state in development activities.

      Charles Hélou (Hélou, Charles), a former journalist and member of Khuri's Constitutional Bloc, was elected to succeed Chehab in 1964. Hélou's presidency, essentially a similar—if weaker—version of the Chehab administration, coincided with a period of great change in Lebanon that would lead to the outbreak of civil war in 1975. Combined with the country's oil boom, Chehab-era reforms set off a wave of tremendous socioeconomic change in Lebanon that led to dramatic increases in social mobility and urbanization, especially in Beirut. Like the country, however, the city failed to achieve a balanced integration of its various groups. Beirut became a reflection of Lebanon as a whole as each quarter took on a religious affiliation, and newcomers suffered from deep and growing social and economic contrasts with their more affluent neighbours. Freed from the control of their rural patrons and unintegrated into the urban social and political fabric, these migrants, relatively underprivileged compared with the wealthier urban classes of Beirut, soon emerged as a tremendous source of potential instability. By the mid-1970s a multitiered “poverty belt”—a ring of impoverished settlements largely populated by poorer rural migrants—had sprung up to encircle the city.

      Social and political polarization in Lebanon was further increased by the movement of Palestinian guerrillas into Lebanon, particularly after the Jordanian campaign against the Palestinian militias and subsequent expulsion of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from Jordan in the early 1970s. After being forced from bases in Jordan, the Palestinians thought of Lebanon as their last refuge, and by 1973 roughly one-tenth of the population in Lebanon was Palestinian. Landless, mostly poor, and without political status, the Palestinians in Lebanon contributed to the polarization of Lebanese politics as they found common cause with those Lebanese who were poor, rural, and mainly Muslim. As socioeconomic alienation increasingly began to intersect with confessional grievances, and as the Palestinian presence in Lebanon began to essentially acquire the status of a “state within a state,” Lebanon's delicate political balance began to unravel.

      The experiment in state building started by Chehab and continued by Hélou came to an end with the election of Suleiman Franjieh (Franjieh, Suleiman) to the presidency in August 1970. Franjieh, a traditional Maronite clan leader from the Zghartā region of northern Lebanon, proved unable to shield the state from the conflicting forces lining up against it. The dramatic increase in social and political mobilization sparked by the growing presence of Palestinian guerrillas led to the emergence of various new social and political movements, including Mūsā al-Ṣadr's Ḥarakat al-Maḥrūmīn (“Movement of the Deprived”), and to the rise of numerous sectarian-based militias. Unable to maintain a monopoly of force, the Lebanese state apparatus was powerless to stop the increase in violence that was gradually destroying the country's fragile social and political fabric. On the eve of the civil war in the mid-1970s, the escalating violence had deepened the fault line between the Maronite Christian and Muslim communities, symbolized in turn by the increasing power of the Christian Phalangists, led by Pierre Gemayel (see Gemayel (Gemayel Family) family), and the predominantly Muslim Lebanese National Movement (LNM), led by Kamal Jumblatt.

      On April 13, 1975, the Phalangists attacked a bus of Palestinians en route to a refugee camp at Tall al-Zaʿtar, an attack that escalated into a more general battle between the Phalangists and the LNM. In the months that followed, the general destruction of the central market area of Beirut was marked by the emergence of a “green line” between Muslim West Beirut and Christian East Beirut, which persisted until the end of the civil war in 1990, with each side under the control of its respective militias. Lebanon witnessed the disintegration of many of its administrative apparatuses, including the army, which splintered into its various sectarian components.

      In the midst of this violence, Elias Sarkis was elected president in May 1976. With the Christians on the defensive against the forces affiliated with the LNM, there appeared to be some opening for negotiations to patch up the fractured communal consensus. Sarkis's mediation efforts, however, were thwarted by two principal factors that continued to plague negotiation efforts throughout the civil war: the increasing interference of external actors in the Lebanese conflict and the emergence of power struggles within the various sectarian communities that ultimately militated against stable negotiations.

      The first major intervention by an external actor in the Lebanese civil war was carried out by Syria in May 1976. Despite its earlier support for the PLO, Syria feared that an LNM-PLO victory would provoke Israeli intervention against the Palestinians and lead Syria into a confrontation with Israel, thereby complicating Syria's own interests; as a result, it intervened to redress the emerging imbalance of power in favour of the Christians. Syria's intervention sparked a more active Israeli involvement in Lebanese affairs, in which Israel also intervened on behalf of the Christians, whom Israelis looked upon as their main ally in their fight against the PLO. Thus, Israel provided arms and finances to the Christians in the south of the country while the Palestinian forces (who by 1977 again enjoyed Syrian support) continued to conduct cross-border raids into Israel. In March 1978 Israel launched a major reprisal attack, sending troops into the south of Lebanon as far as the Līṭānī River. The resulting conflict led to the establishment of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)—a peacekeeping force meant to secure Israeli withdrawal and support the return of Lebanese authority in the south—as well as to the creation of the South Lebanese Army (SLA)—a militia led by Saʿd Haddad and armed and financed by Israel to function as a proxy militia under Lebanese Christian command.

      The most significant Israeli intervention during the course of the Lebanese civil war, however, was the invasion that began on June 6, 1982. Although the stated goal of Israel was only to secure the territory north of its border with Lebanon so as to stop PLO raids, Israeli forces quickly progressed as far as Beirut's suburbs and laid siege to the capital, particularly to West Beirut. The invasion resulted in the eventual removal of PLO militia from Lebanon under the supervision of a multinational peacekeeping force, the transfer of the PLO headquarters to Tunis, Tun., and the temporary withdrawal of Syrian forces back to Al-Biqāʿ. Galvanized by the Israeli invasion, a number of Shīʿite groups subsequently emerged, including Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia that led an insurgency campaign against Israeli troops.

      In August 1982 Pierre Gemayel's son Bashir, the young Phalangist leader who had managed to unify the Maronite militias into the Lebanese Forces (LF), was elected to the presidency. In mid-September, however, three weeks after his election, Gemayel was assassinated in a bombing at the Phalangist headquarters. Two days later, Christian militiamen under the command of Elie Hobeika, permitted entry to the area by Israeli forces, retaliated by killing hundreds (estimates range from several hundreds to several thousands) of people in the Palestinian refugee camps of Ṣabrā and Shātīlā. The election of Bashir's brother, Amin Gemayel, to the presidency in late September 1982 failed to temper the mounting violence as battles between the Christians and the Druze broke out in the traditionally Druze territory of the Shūf Mountains, resulting in numerous Christian fatalities. The Western peacekeeping forces that had been dispatched to Lebanon in 1982 likewise suffered heavy casualties, among them the destruction of the U.S. embassy by a car bomb in April 1983 and the suicide attacks on the U.S. and French troops of the multinational force stationed in Lebanon in October 1983, which hastened their withdrawal from Lebanon early the following year (see 1983 Beirut barracks bombings). By mid-1985 most of the Israeli troops had also withdrawn, leaving the proxy SLA in control of a buffer zone north of the international border in their wake.

      Exacerbated by various foreign interventions, the Lebanese civil war descended into a complicated synthesis of inter- and intracommunal conflict characterized by the increasing fragmentation of the militias associated with each of the sectarian communities. The Phalangist-dominated LF fractured into various contending parties that were in turn challenged by the militias of the Franjieh and Chamoun families in the north and south of the country, respectively. Meanwhile, the Sunni community's militias were challenged by militias organized by Islamic fundamentalist groups, and the Shīʿite community experienced fierce divisions between the more clerical Hezbollah in the south and the more secular Amal (“Hope,” also an acronym for Afwāj al-Muqāwamah al-Lubnāniyyah [Lebanese Resistance Detachments]) movement led by Nabbih Berri. The Palestinians in turn endured serious infighting between Fatah factions of the PLO that had begun to return to the country following the Israeli withdrawal.

      Fueled by continuing foreign patronage, Lebanon between 1985 and 1989 descended into a “war society” as the various militias became increasingly involved in smuggling, extortion, and the arms and drug trades and began to lose their populist legitimacy. This period of disintegration was crystallized with the decline of many of the country's remaining institutions, and in 1987 the collapse of the Lebanese pound—which had demonstrated a surprising resiliency throughout the first 10 years of the war—led to a period of profound economic hardship and inflation. Furthermore, when Gemayel's term ended on Sept. 22, 1988, parliament could not agree on the selection of a new president; as a result, Gemayel named Gen. Michel Aoun, a Maronite and the head of what was left of the Lebanese Army, as acting prime minister moments before his own term expired, despite the continuing claim to that office by the incumbent, Salim al-Hoss. Lebanon thus had no president but two prime ministers, and two separate governments emerged in competition for legitimacy. In late November 1988, General Aoun was dismissed as commander in chief of the armed forces; because of the continued loyalty of large portions of the military, however, Aoun was able to retain a de facto leadership. In February 1989 Aoun launched an offensive against the rival LF, and in March he declared a “war of liberation” in an attempt to expel the Syrian influence. In September 1989, following months of intense violence, Aoun accepted a cease-fire brokered by a tripartite committee made up of the leaders of Algeria, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.

      On Oct. 22, 1989, most members of the Lebanese parliament (last elected in 1972) met in Ṭāʾif, Saudi Arabia, and accepted a constitutional reform package that restored consociational government in Lebanon in modified form. The power of the traditionally Maronite president was reduced in relation to those of the Sunni prime minister and the Shīʿite speaker of the National Assembly, and the division of parliamentary seats, cabinet posts, and senior administrative positions was adjusted to represent an equal ratio of Christian and Muslim officials. A commitment was made for the gradual elimination of confessionalism, and Lebanese independence was affirmed with a call for an end to foreign occupation in the south. The terms of the agreement also stipulated that Syrian forces were to remain in Lebanon for a period of up to two years, during which time they would assist the new government in establishing security arrangements. For his part, General Aoun was greatly opposed to the Ṭāʾif Accord, fearing it would provide a recipe for continued Syrian involvement in Lebanon.

      Parliament subsequently convened on Nov. 5, 1989, in Lebanon, where it ratified the Ṭāʾif Accord and elected René Moawad to the presidency. Moawad was assassinated on November 22, and Elias Hrawi was elected two days later; however, General Aoun denounced both presidential elections as invalid. Several days later it was announced that General Aoun had again been dismissed from his position as head of the armed forces, and Gen. Émile Lahoud (Lahoud, Émile) was named in his place.

      In January 1990 intense strife broke out in East Beirut between Aoun and Samir Geagea, who then headed the LF, which proved very costly for the Maronite community and, over several months, resulted in the deaths of numerous (mostly Christian) Lebanese. The final vestiges of the Lebanese civil war were at last extinguished on Oct. 13, 1990, when Syrian troops launched a ground and air attack against Aoun and forced him into exile.

      The newly unified government of President Hrawi then embarked upon the delicate and dangerous process of consolidating and extending the power of the Lebanese government. A new cabinet composed of many former militia leaders was appointed, and considerable effort was devoted to the demobilization of most of the wartime militias. The process of rebuilding the Lebanese army was begun under the auspices of General Lahoud, its new commander in chief. At tremendous cost, the more-than-15-year Lebanese civil war was ended, and the framework for Lebanon's Second Republic had been established. Throughout the war's duration, more than 100,000 people had been killed, nearly 1,000,000 displaced, and several billion dollars' worth of damage to property and infrastructure sustained.

Lebanon's Second Republic (1990– )

Politics and reconstruction in post-civil war Lebanon
      The destruction wrought by the country's massive civil war necessitated a sweeping program of reconstruction, which was largely undertaken by Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri (Hariri, Rafiq al-) following his appointment to the post after the 1992 parliamentary elections. Hariri's reconstruction plan, designed to revive the economy and reestablish Lebanon as a financial and commercial centre in the region, achieved the initial stabilization of the value of the Lebanese pound and succeeded in raising significant foreign capital on European bond markets, albeit at high rates of return.

      The immediate challenges of Lebanon's post-civil war period were to institutionalize the political reforms agreed to at Ṭāʾif and to reconstruct the country's social and economic infrastructure. Lebanon achieved important political successes with the transition of the presidency in 1998 from Hrawi to Lahoud, paralleled by the transition from Hariri's government to that of Salim al-Hoss that same year, and with the increasing legitimacy of the National Assembly in the Lebanese political process. The gradual reintegration of previously marginalized groups, facilitated by acceptance of the Ṭāʾif reforms, meant an increased role for both the Maronite Christians (who had initially boycotted the electoral process) and Hezbollah, which became politically active in postwar Lebanon.

Continuing challenges into the 21st century: external intervention and confessional conflict
  The development of the Second Republic remained closely linked to its larger external environment—in particular, to Israel and Syria, the two principal players in Lebanon. Israel continued to exercise influence in its self-declared security zone in southern Lebanon, where it waged an ongoing war of attrition with Hezbollah's militia forces throughout the 1990s. However, in light of the increasingly costly war, Israeli support for a unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon had gathered significant momentum by the end of the decade, and Israeli troops were withdrawn in 2000. Hostility between Israel and Hezbollah, marked by periodic clashes and retaliatory exchanges of violence, continued into the early years of the 21st century. Tensions flared in July 2006, when Hezbollah launched an armed operation against Israel from southern Lebanon, killing a number of Israeli soldiers and abducting two as prisoners of war. This led Israel to launch a major military offensive against Hezbollah. The 34-day war between Hezbollah and Israel, in which more than 1,100 Lebanese and about 160 Israelis were killed and some 1,000,000 Lebanese were displaced, caused fresh damage to key services and infrastructure in southern Lebanon.

 Meanwhile, following the agreement reached at Ṭāʾif, Syria also continued to exercise an extensive influence in Lebanon. Socioeconomic ties between Syria and Lebanon were facilitated by a series of bilateral treaties and agreements concluded between the two governments, the scope of which ranged from economic and trade ties to cultural and educational exchanges. On May 22, 1991, a treaty of “fraternity, coordination, and cooperation,” interpreted by some as a legitimation of Syria's continued presence in Lebanon, was signed with Syria, and a defense and security pact followed. In addition, despite stipulations in the Ṭāʾif Accord that called for a withdrawal of Syrian troops to Al-Biqāʿ by the end of 1992, Syria maintained a contingent of some 30,000 troops in Lebanon in the 1990s. With the Israeli withdrawal from the south of the country in 2000, however, calls for Syrian disengagement increased. Over the next several years, Syrian troops undertook a series of phased withdrawals and redeployments, gradually restructuring the number and distribution of Syria's armed forces in Lebanon. Overall troop strength for the Syrian army in Lebanon was reduced to about 14,000, but it was not until the assassination of Hariri in early 2005 that real domestic pressure for a full Syrian withdrawal began to grow. It was widely suspected that Hariri, who was then out of office, was killed at the behest of the Syrian government. The result was that hundreds of thousands of Lebanese—both against and for the Syrian presence—poured into the streets in a series of spontaneous mass protests. The last Syrian troops left Lebanon by mid-2005, and in late 2008 Syria and Lebanon established formal diplomatic ties for the first time.

      While the Ṭāʾif Accord had called for a gradual end to confessionalism within the country, the reality in post-civil war Lebanon tended toward an entrenchment and strengthening of sectarian allegiances. The civil war resulted in the virtual elimination of multiconfessional regions where coexistence was the norm; as a result, sectarianism became increasingly geographically as well as culturally defined. Moreover, the electoral system continued to militate against the emergence of crosscutting political parties with the ability to challenge the regional power bases of Lebanon's traditional zuʿamāʾ. Despite the increased dynamism of the Lebanese parliament, real political power in Lebanon's Second Republic lay with the troika of sectarian leaders that occupied the offices of president, prime minister, and the speaker of the Assembly. Following the disarmament of the various militias of the civil war era, communal conflict was largely transplanted into the political arena, as political decisions largely became a result of elite confessional bargaining rather than an outcome of democratic process; political divisions were further deepened by the fracture of the political process following the assassination of Hariri and the withdrawal of Syria from the country in 2005.

      As the end of President Lahoud's nine-year period in office approached in late 2007, the Lebanese political process faced a stalemate; the National Assembly's attempt to select a successor was suspended in deadlock by a boycott led by the pro-Syrian opposition, which sought a greater share of political power and prevented the Assembly from achieving the necessary two-thirds quorum. As a result, Lahoud's term expired in November 2007 with no successor named. The post remained unoccupied as the opposing factions struggled to reach a consensus on a candidate and on the makeup of the new government.

      As the political crisis drew on, clashes between Hezbollah forces and government supporters—sparked by government decisions that included plans to shut down Hezbollah's private telecommunications network—erupted in Beirut in May 2008. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (Nasrallah, Hassan) equated these moves with a declaration of war and mobilized Hezbollah forces, which swiftly took control of parts of the city. In the following days the government reversed the decisions that had sparked the outbreak of violence, and a summit attended by both factions in Qatar led to an agreement granting the Hezbollah-led opposition the veto power it had long sought.

      On May 25, 2008, Gen. Michel Suleiman was elected president, ending months of political impasse. He reappointed Fuad Siniora, who had been prime minister since mid-2005, at the head of a new unity government soon thereafter, and, after several weeks of negotiation, the makeup of the new government was agreed upon. Reconciliation efforts continued, and in October 2008 a new election law that restructured voting districts was passed.

William L. Ochsenwald Paul Kingston Ed.

Additional Reading

General discussions of the land and people may be found in W.B. Fisher, The Middle East, 7th ed. (1978); and David C. Gordon, The Republic of Lebanon: Nation in Jeopardy (1983). Shereen Khairallah, Lebanon (1979), is an annotated bibliography of works on all aspects of the country.Economic and social matters are discussed in World Bank, Lebanon Private Sector Assessment (1995); Salim Nasr, “New Social Realities and Post-War Lebanon: Issues for Reconstruction,” in Philip S. Khoury and Samir Khalaf (eds.), Recovering Beirut (1993), pp. 63–80; Huda C. Zurayk and Haroutune K. Armenian, Beirut 1984 (1985); Abdul-Amir Badrud-din, The Bank of Lebanon (1984); Friedrich Ragette (ed.), Beirut of Tomorrow: Planning for Reconstruction (1983); Joseph Chamie, Religion and Fertility: Arab Christian-Muslim Differentials (1981); Liliane Germanos-Ghazaly, Le Paysan, la terre, et la femme: organisation sociale d'un village du Mont-Liban (1978); Nadim G. Khalaf, The Economic Implications of the Size of Nations, with Special Reference to Lebanon (1971); and Yusif A. Sayigh, Entrepreneurs of Lebanon (1962), a study of the role of entrepreneurs in the national development of Lebanon.Useful discussions of Lebanese government include Guilain Denoeux and Robert Springborg, “Hariri's Lebanon,” Middle East Policy, 6(2):158–73 (October 1998); William W. Harris, Faces of Lebanon: Sects, Wars, and Global Extensions (1997); Charles Winslow, Lebanon: War and Politics in a Fragmented Society (1996); R.D. McLaurin, “Lebanon and Its Army: Past, Present, and Future,” in Edward E. Azar et al., The Emergence of a New Lebanon: Fantasy or Reality? (1984), pp. 79–114; Adel A. Freiha, L'Armée et l'état au Liban, 1945–1980 (1980); Michael W. Suleiman, Political Parties in Lebanon: The Challenge of a Fragmented Political Culture (1967); and George Grassmuck and Kamal Salibi, Reformed Administration in Lebanon, 2nd ed. (1964).Cultural matters are discussed by Lawrence I. Conrad, “Culture and Learning in Beirut,” The American Scholar, 52:463–478 (Autumn 1983); and Friedrich Ragette, Architecture in Lebanon: The Lebanese House During the 18th and 19th Centuries (1974, reprinted 1980).

Ancient history is detailed in The Cambridge Ancient History, especially vol. 1 in 2 parts, 3rd ed. (1970–71), vol. 2, part 1, 3rd ed. (1973), and vol. 3, part 3, 2nd ed. (1982); and in Donald Harden, The Phoenicians, rev. ed. (1971). Other useful studies include Maurice Dunand, Byblos: Its History, Ruins, and Legends, 2nd ed. (1968; originally published in French, 2nd ed., 1968); Friedrich Ragette, Baalbek (1980); F.M. Heichelheim, “Roman Syria,” in Tenney Frank (ed.), An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome, vol. 4 (1938, reprinted 1975), pp. 121–257; Hildegard Temporini and Wolfgang Haase (eds.), Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, vol. 2, part 8, Politische Geschichte: Provinzen und Rundvölker: Syrien, Palästina, Arabien (1977), 3–294; and Nina Jidejian, Byblos Through the Ages (1968), Tyre Through the Ages (1969), Sidon Through the Ages (1971), Beirut Through the Ages (1973), and Baalbek: Heliopolis, City of the Sun (1975).The most important works on Lebanon's medieval and modern history are Philip K. Hitti, Lebanon in History: From the Earliest Times to the Present, 3rd ed. (1967); and Kamal S. Salibi, The Modern History of Lebanon (1965, reissued 1977), and A House of Many Mansions: The History of Lebanon Reconsidered (1988). The Ottoman period is discussed by Abdul-Rahim Abu-Husayn, Provincial Leaderships in Syria, 1575–1650 (1985); Dominique Chevallier, La Société du Mont Liban à l'époque de la révolution industrielle en Europe (1971, reissued 1982); and Iliya F. Harik, Politics and Change in a Traditional Society: Lebanon, 1711–1845 (1968).Twentieth-century history is explored by Albert H. Hourani, Syria and Lebanon: A Political Essay (1946, reprinted 1968); and Michael C. Hudson, The Precarious Republic: Political Modernization in Lebanon (1968, reissued 1985). The civil war and subsequent events are evaluated by Kamal S. Salibi, Cross Roads to Civil War: Lebanon, 1958–1976 (1976, reissued as Crossroads to Civil War, 1988); Walid Khalidi, “Lebanon: Yesterday and Tomorrow,” The Middle East Journal, 43(3):375–387 (Summer 1989); Helena Cobban, The Making of Modern Lebanon (1985); David Gilmour, Lebanon, the Fractured Country, rev. and updated ed. (1987); N. Kliot, “The Collapse of the Lebanese State,” Middle Eastern Studies, 23(1):54–74 (January 1987); Halim Barakat (ed.), Toward a Viable Lebanon (1988); Augustus Richard Norton and Jillian Schwedler, “Swiss Soldiers, Ta'if Clocks, and Early Elections: Toward a Happy Ending?” in Deirdre Collings (ed.), Peace for Lebanon?: From War to Reconstruction (1994), pp. 45–68; Rosemary Hollis and Nadim Shehadi (eds.), Lebanon on Hold: Implications for Middle East Peace (1996); Elizabeth Picard, Lebanon: A Shattered Country, rev. ed. (2002; originally published in French, 1988); and Habib C. Malik, Between Damascus and Jerusalem: Lebanon and Middle East Peace, updated ed. (2000).Samir G. Khalaf Clovis F. Maksoud William L. Ochsenwald Paul Kingston

      town (township), New London county, east-central Connecticut, U.S. Settled in 1695 and incorporated in 1700, its name was inspired by a nearby cedar forest that suggested the biblical cedars of Lebanon. In colonial times the town was on the most direct road between New York City and Boston. The home of Jonathan Trumbull (1740), American Revolutionary governor of Connecticut, is preserved in Lebanon, and the Revolutionary War office (1727), which served as the governor's headquarters from which Connecticut's war effort was directed, is now a museum. Agriculture is the mainstay of the town's economy. Area 54 square miles (140 square km). Pop. (1990) 6,041; (2000) 6,907.

      city, seat (1849) of Laclede county, south-central Missouri, U.S., in the Ozark Mountains about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Springfield. Founded about 1849, it was originally called Wyota for the Native Americans who had populated the area, then renamed for Lebanon, Tenn. During the American Civil War the town was occupied alternately by Union and Confederate troops because of its strategic location on the military road (later U.S. Route 66, now Interstate Highway 44) between Springfield and St. Louis. Agriculture, dairying, manufacturing (aluminum boats, clothing, barrels, air compressors), and tourism are the economic mainstays. Harold Bell Wright was pastor (1905–07) of the Lebanon Christian Church, which he fictionalized in his novel The Calling of Dan Matthews (1909). Vocational education is provided by the Lebanon Technology and Career Center (1966). Nearby are Bennett Spring State Park (west), Mark Twain National Forest (east), and Lake of the Ozarks (north). Fort Leonard Wood, a U.S. Army base, is 30 miles (48 km) east. Inc. 1877. Pop. (2000) 12,155; (2005 est.) 13,336.

      city, Grafton county, western New Hampshire, U.S., on the Mascoma River near its junction with the Connecticut River, just south of Hanover. Founded in 1761 by settlers from Connecticut, the town grew slowly until the arrival (1848) of the railroad brought industrial development. Manufactures include metal-cutting plasma torches and metal and electrical items. Winter sports, based on nearby ski resorts, are an added source of income. Inc. city, 1958. Pop. (1990) 12,183; (2000) 12,568.

      city, seat (1813) of Lebanon county, southeastern Pennsylvania, U.S., in the Lebanon Valley, 23 miles (37 km) east of Harrisburg. Settled by immigrant Germans in the 1720s, it was laid out (c. 1750) by George Steitz and was first called Steitztown. Later it was renamed for the biblical Lebanon. Its location near the famous Cornwall ore mines and other mineral deposits led to its development before the American Revolution as an iron centre. Its growth was spurred by construction of the Union Canal (1827) and the Lebanon Valley Railroad (1857).

      Principal manufactures include hardwood lumber products, aluminum products, and processed foods. Lebanon Valley College (1866) is at Annville, 5 miles (8 km) west. Inc. borough, 1821; city, 1885. Pop. (1990) city, 24,800; Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle MSA, 587,986; (2000) city, 24,461; Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle MSA, 629,401.

      city, seat of Wilson county, north-central Tennessee, U.S., about 30 miles (50 km) east of Nashville and about 5 miles (10 km) south of the Cumberland River. Established in 1802 on an overland stagecoach route, it was named for the biblical Lebanon, which had a profusion of cedar trees, because the area's stands of juniper were mistaken for cedars by the early settlers. It developed as a trading centre for livestock and farm products. Lebanon was the scene of several minor skirmishes during the American Civil War, mainly during 1862.

      Beef cattle and tobacco are important to the economy; manufactures include appliances, automotive parts, luggage, and rubber products. Tourism is also significant. Nearby Cedars of Lebanon State Park and State Forest and several lakes (including Old Hickory and J. Percy Priest lakes) provide recreational opportunities. Lebanon is the seat of Cumberland University (1842). The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson (Jackson, Andrew), is about 20 miles (30 km) west. Lebanon is where Sam Houston (Houston, Sam), who later became president of the Republic of Texas, began his legal practice (c. 1818). Fiddlers Grove preserves local history with restored and replicated buildings. Inc. 1819. Pop. (1990) 15,208; (2000) 20,235.

      county, southeastern Pennsylvania, U.S., located midway between the cities of Harrisburg and Reading. It consists of a central plain that rises to low hills in the south and to Blue Mountain in the north. The county is drained by Swatara, Stony, Little Swatara, Quittapahilla, Tulpehocken, Conewago, and Hammer creeks. Located in the northern half of the county are Swatara and Memorial Lake state parks, while the Appalachian National Scenic Trail follows the ridgeline of Blue Mountain.

      Scotch-Irish and Germans ( Pennsylvania Germans, misleadingly called Pennsylvania Dutch) settled in the region in the early 18th century. Michter's Distillery, one of America's first legal distilleries, produced corn mash whiskey along Snitz Creek from 1753 to about 1990. The county was created in 1813. County traffic increased after the completion of a mountain tunnel for the Union Canal (1827) and the arrival of the Lehigh Valley Railroad (Lehigh Valley Railroad Company) (1857). Communities include Lebanon city (the county seat), Palmyra, and Myerstown.

      The economy is based on manufacturing (textiles, steel, and metal products), livestock (cattle, hogs, and poultry), and field crops (tobacco, barley, and soybeans). Area 362 square miles (937 square km). Pop. (1990) 113,744; (2000) 120,327.

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  • Lebanon — • So called from the snow which covers the highest peaks during almost the entire year, or from the limestone which glistens white in the distance Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Lebanon     Lebanon …   Catholic encyclopedia

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  • Lebanon, IN — U.S. city in Indiana Population (2000): 14222 Housing Units (2000): 6202 Land area (2000): 7.282579 sq. miles (18.861792 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 7.282579 sq. miles (18.861792 sq. km) FIPS …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Lebanon, KS — U.S. city in Kansas Population (2000): 303 Housing Units (2000): 204 Land area (2000): 0.317128 sq. miles (0.821357 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.317128 sq. miles (0.821357 sq. km) FIPS code …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

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