General information: general information. Lebanon has continued to make progress since 1991 in restoring political institutions and national sovereignty after the end of a devastating 16-year civil war. Under the Ta’if Agreement – a plan for national reconciliation – the Lebanese established a more just political system, in particular by giving Muslims the right to play a larger role in the political process. At the same time, the division of posts in the government along national and religious lines was fixed. After the end of the war, the Lebanese held several successful elections, most of the armed groups were weakened or disbanded, the Lebanese army extended the control of the central government to about two-thirds of the country. Hezbollah, a radical Shiite party, retains its units. Syria keeps about 25,000 soldiers in Lebanon, located mainly in Beirut, Northern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. The deployment of Syrian troops was made by decision of the League of Arab States during the civil war and legitimized by the Taif agreement. Damascus continues to maintain troops in Lebanon, justifying this with the weakness of the Lebanese army, the requests of Beirut, and the inability of the Lebanese government to carry out all the constitutional reforms provided for by the Taif agreement. Israel withdrew its troops from the security zone in southern Lebanon in May 2000, but it supports the demands of some Lebanese Christians and Druze for the withdrawal of Syrian troops as well. justifying this by the weakness of the Lebanese army, the requests of Beirut, the inability of the Lebanese government to carry out all the constitutional reforms provided for by the Taif agreement. Israel withdrew its troops from the security zone in southern Lebanon in May 2000, but it supports the demands of some Lebanese Christians and Druze for the withdrawal of Syrian troops as well. justifying this by the weakness of the Lebanese army, the requests of Beirut, the inability of the Lebanese government to carry out all the constitutional reforms provided for by the Taif agreement. Israel withdrew its troops from the security zone in southern Lebanon in May 2000, but it supports the demands of some Lebanese Christians and Druze for the withdrawal of Syrian troops as well.
Location: Middle East, Mediterranean coast, between Israel and Syria.
Geographic coordinates: 33°50′ N. latitude, 35° 50′ E
Reference map: Middle East.
Area: total: 10,400 km2; land surface area: 10,230 km2; water surface area: 170 km2
Comparative area: Approximately 0.7 of the area of the state of Connecticut.
Land borders: total: 454 km; with neighboring states: with Israel 79 km, with Syria 375 km.
Coastline: 225 km.
Maritime claims: territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: Mediterranean; mild to cool wet winters, hot dry summers; heavy snowfalls in the Lebanese mountains in winter.
Terrain: narrow coastal plain; The Bekaa Valley separates the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ranges.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m; highest point: Mt. Kurnat al-Sauda 3,088 m.
Natural resources: limestone, iron ore, salt, abundant fresh water in a region where water shortages are common, arable land.
Land use: arable land: 18%; cultivated land: 9%; pastures: 1%; forests and plantations: 8%; others: 64% (1996 est.).
Irrigated land: 860 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: Dust and sand storms.
Current environmental issues: deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Beirut due to the large number of cars and the burning of industrial waste; pollution of coastal waters by sewage and oil products.
International environmental treaties: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Waste, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Marine Pollution from Ships, Wetlands; signed but not ratified: Environmental change, Marine pollution, Marine life conservation.
Note to the section “Geography”: The Nar al-Litani is the only major river in the Middle East that does not cross an international border; rugged terrain has historically contributed to the isolation, protection and development of numerous groups united along religious, clan or ethnic lines.
Population: 3,627,774 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 27.57% (male 509,975; female 490,031); 15 to 64 years old: 65.72% (male 1,136,995; female 1,247,184); over 65: 6.71% (male 110,964; female 132,625) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.38% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 20.16 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 6.39 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; from 15 to 64 years old: 0.91 male/female; over 65: 0.84 male/female; for the general population: 0.94 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 28.35 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 71.52 years; men: 69.13 years; women: 74.03 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.05 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.09% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: no data (1999 est.).
AIDS mortality: no data (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Lebanese; adjective: Lebanese.
Ethnic groups: Arabs 95%, Armenians 4%, other 1%.
Believers: Muslims 70% (including Shiites, Sunnis, Druze, Ismailis, Alawites [or Nu-Sairi]), Christians 30% (including Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants), Jews in small numbers.
Language(s): Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian widely spoken.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 86.4%; men: 90.8%; women: 82.2% (1997 est.).
conventional long form: Lebanese Republic;
conventional short form: Lebanon; local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubna-niyah; local short form: Lubnan.
State structure: republic. See a2zgov.com to know more about Lebanon government and politics.
Administrative divisions: 5 governorates (mohafazah): Beirut, Jabal Loubnan, Ej Jnoub, El Beqaa, Ash Shimal.
Independence: from November 22, 1943 (until 1943 administered by France under a League of Nations mandate).
National holiday: Independence Day, November 22 (1943).
Constitution: adopted May 23, 1926, changed several times.
Legal system: mixture of Ottoman law, religious law, Napoleonic code and civil law; legislative acts are not considered in court; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 21 years old; mandatory for men; provided to women from 21 years of age with primary education. Executive:
Head 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 October 23, 2000);
Government: the cabinet is appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president and members of the National Assembly; elections: the president is elected by the National Assembly for a term of 6 years; elections last held 15 October 1998 (next to be held in 2004); the prime minister and deputy prime minister are appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly; by tradition, the President is a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of Parliament is a Shiite Muslim; election results: Émile LAHOUD elected president; vote in the National Assembly: 118 votes in favor, 0 against, 10 abstentions,
Legislature: unicameral National Assembly (Majlis Alnuwab) (128 seats; members are elected by popular vote on the basis of community proportional representation for 4 years); elections: last held 27 August and 3 September 2000 (next to be held in 2004); election results: distribution of votes by party: Muslims 57% (among them Sunnis 25%, Shiites 25%, Druze 6%, Alawites less than 1%), Christians 43% (among them Maronites 23%); distribution of votes between parties: Muslims 64 (including Sunnis 27, Shiites 27, Druze 8, Alawites less than 2), Christians 64 (among them Maronites 34).
Judicial branch: 4 courts of cassation (3 civil and commercial courts and one criminal court); Constitutional Council (created under the Taif agreement, monitors the compliance of laws with the constitution); The Supreme Council (if necessary, considers cases against the president and prime minister).
Political parties and leaders: the activities of political parties are carried out mainly within the communities; there are numerous political groupings, consisting of political leaders and their followers, united along religious, clan or economic lines.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ABEDA, ACCT, AFESD, AL, AMF, CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, PCA, UN, UNCTAO, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer).
Diplomatic representation in the USA: head of mission: Ambassador Farid ABBOUD (Dr. Farid ABBOUD); office: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 939-6300; fax:  (202) 939-6324; consulates general: Detroit, New York, Los Angeles.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador David SATTERFIELD; embassy: Antelias, Beirut; postal address: R. O. Box 70-840, Beirut; PSC 815, Box 2, FPO AE 09836-0002; phone:  (4) 543600; fax:  (4) 544136.
Description of the flag: three horizontal stripes of red (top), white (double width) and red with green-brown cedar in the middle of the white stripe. Economy