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Lebanon

Background

Lebanon

Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French separated out the region of Lebanon in 1920, and granted this area independence in 1943. A lengthy civil war (1975-1990) devastated the country, but Lebanon has since made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions. Under the Ta'if Accord - the blueprint for national reconciliation - the Lebanese established a more equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater voice in the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the government. Since the end of the war, Lebanon has conducted several successful elections. Most militias have been reduced or disbanded, with the exception of Hizballah, designated by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and Palestinian militant groups. During Lebanon's civil war, the Arab League legitimized in the Ta'if Accord Syria's troop deployment, numbering about 16,000 based mainly east of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley. Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000 and the passage in September 2004 of UNSCR 1559 - a resolution calling for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and end its interference in Lebanese affairs - encouraged some Lebanese groups to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq HARIRI and 22 others in February 2005 led to massive demonstrations in Beirut against the Syrian presence ("the Cedar Revolution"), and Syria withdrew the remainder of its military forces in April 2005. In May-June 2005, Lebanon held its first legislative elections since the end of the civil war free of foreign interference, handing a majority to the bloc led by Sa'ad HARIRI, the slain prime minister's son. In July 2006, Hizballah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers leading to a 34-day conflict with Israel in which approximately 1,200 Lebanese civilians were killed. UNSCR 1701 ended the war in August 2006, and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) deployed throughout the country for the first time in decades, charged with securing Lebanon's borders against weapons smuggling and maintaining a weapons-free zone in south Lebanon with the help of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The LAF in May-September 2007 battled Sunni extremist group Fatah al-Islam in the Nahr al-Barid Palestinian refugee camp, winning a decisive victory, but destroying the camp and displacing 30,000 Palestinian residents. Lebanese politicians in November 2007 were unable to agree on a successor to Emile LAHUD when he stepped down as president, creating a political vacuum until the election of LAF Commander Gen. Michel SULAYMAN in May 2008 and the formation of a new unity government in July 2008. Legislative elections in June 2009 again produced victory for the bloc led by Sa'ad HARIRI, but a period of prolonged negotiation over the composition of the cabinet ensued. A national unity government was finally formed in November 2009 and approved by the National Assembly the following month. In January 2010, Lebanon assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2010-11 term.

About

For other places with the same name, see Lebanon (disambiguation).

The Republic of Lebanon (لبنان) is a small country (10,452 sq km or 4076 sq mi in area with 3.7 million inhabitants) within the Middle East region with its capital being Beirut. It has a long coastline on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and shares a long land border with its much larger neighbour Syria to the north and the east, a much shorter (and currently "hot") border with Israel to the south.

Read more about Lebanon in our Lebanon travel guide »

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Lebanon

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Featured hotels in

Lebanon

LebanonRaouche Arjaan by Rotana 

Chouran Street
Beirut 13-5325
Lebanon

Price (US$): $120 - $2000 / night

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Location. Located in central Beirut, Raouche Arjaan by Rotana is near the airport and close to Pigeon Rocks, Beirut Municipality Stadium, and Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium. Nearby points of interest also include Manara Lighthouse and American University of Beirut. Hotel Features. Raouche Arjaan by Rotana's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts each… more »

LebanonInterContinental Phoenicia Beirut 

PO Box 11
Minet El Hosn
Beirut 846
Lebanon

Price (US$): $225 - $555 / night

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Location. InterContinental Phoenicia Beirut is a business friendly hotel located in central Beirut, close to Planet Discovery, Nejmeh Square, and Pigeon Rocks. Additional points of interest include Beirut Municipality Stadium and Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium. Hotel Features. Dining options at InterContinental Phoenicia Beirut include 4 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a health club,… more »

LebanonLe Gray 

Martyrs Square Central Distric
Beirut Central District
Beirut
Lebanon

Price (US$): $315 - $1044 / night

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Location. Located in central Beirut, Le Gray is near the airport and close to Martyrs Square, Beirut Municipality Stadium, and Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium. Nearby points of interest also include Pigeon Rocks and Mohammed Al Amin Mosque. Hotel Features. Dining options at Le Gray include 2 restaurants. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, a health club, and a sauna. The property's… more »

LebanonHilton Beirut Habtoor Grand 

Charles De Gaulle Street Horsh Tabet,
Sin El Fil
Beirut 55555
Lebanon

Price (US$): $195 - $750 / night

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Location. Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand is a business friendly Beirut hotel connected to a shopping center and close to Le Mall Sin El Fil, Beirut Municipality Stadium, and Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium. Additional points of interest include National Museum of Beirut and Hippodrome Du Parc De Beyrouth. Hotel Features. Dining options at Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand include 2 restaurants. A poolside bar is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves hot and… more »

LebanonMoevenpick Hotel & Resort Beirut 

General De Gaulle Avenue
Raouche 2038
Beirut 6908
Lebanon

Price (US$): $300 - $515 / night

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Location. Moevenpick Hotel & Resort Beirut is located on the beach in central Beirut, close to Pigeon Rocks, Beirut Municipality Stadium, and Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Hamra Street and Manara Lighthouse. Hotel Features. Dining options at Moevenpick Hotel & Resort Beirut include 5 restaurants. A beach bar, a swim up bar, a poolside bar, and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel… more »

Browse more hotels in Lebanon »

Lebanon

Full name
Republic of Lebanon
Capital
Beirut
Location

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

Geographic coordinates

33 50 N, 35 50 E

Area comparative

about 0.7 times the size of Connecticut

Border countries

Israel 79 km, Syria 375 km

Coastline

225 km

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

Lowest point

Mediterranean Sea 0 m

Highest point

Qornet es Saouda 3,088 m

Natural resources

limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land

Population

4,125,247 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%

Religions

Muslim 59.7% (Shia, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 39% (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Copt, Protestant), other 1.3%

Languages

Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian

Government type

republic

Independence

22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)

National holiday

Independence Day, 22 November (1943)

Chief of state

President Michel SULAYMAN (since 25 May 2008)

Head of government

Prime Minister Sa'ad al-Din al-HARIRI (since 9 November 2009); Deputy Prime Minister Elias MURR (since 9 November 2009)

Internet country code

.lb

Internet users

1 million (2009)

Airports

7 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Beirut, Tripoli

Other countries in the region