Lebanon

Lebanon

BACKGROUND

Lebanon is a small country in the Near East, bordering Syria to the north and the east, Israel to the south and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. Since the 18th century, Mount Lebanon, the historical nucleus of the state of Lebanon, became a safe haven and homeland for many persecuted Christians from the Ottoman Empire. The Republic of Lebanon was born on September 1, 1920 in the aftermath of World War I, under the French mandate, to defend and protect Christian minorities from falling into subordination to a pan-Arab state where Muslims would be dominant. Lebanon gained its independence from the French on November 22, 1943.

Boasting a patchwork of religious diversity, Lebanon is home to 18 communities divided into Christians, Muslims (Sunnis and Shi`as) and Druzes. Amongst the Christian denominations, the Syriac Maronite Church is the largest, followed by the Greek (Antiochian) Orthodox Church. It is estimated that the Christians today constitute 33.7% of the Lebanese population. To this day, Lebanon remains the only country in the Arab world where the head of State is Christian.

LATEST NEWS

  • Top economic advisor in the Lebanese government, Henri J. Chaoul, who is in charge of negotiating a bailout with the IMF, handed in his resignation. Full statement here 

  • Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah is blaming the US for the lack of funding reaching the crisis-hit country due to the new sanctions imposed by the CAESAR ACT, aimed at starving Syria their allies.  He also called for injecting USD in the Lebanese market.  -NYTimes  

  • USD still fluctuating between 3,800LL and 5000LL. -OLJ 

  • At a press conference, the Lebanese Information Minister confirmed that the Lebanese government is considering "every opportunity to meet its needs," a nod to Sec General Hassan Nasrallah who called on the Lebanese government to look East (toward Iran and China) for economic support.  -MTV News Leb 

  • A recent article in the American interest investigates who killed the former Shi`a cleric and AMAL founder, Musa el Sadr. -American Interest  

archive

  • report released on June 10 by the Congressional Republican Study Committee (RSC), contains recommendations on a variety of foreign policy questions. The recommendations are focused on containing Iranian power in the region through a hardening of the maximum pressure campaign against Tehran. But what is new is the inclusion of Lebanon in that effort. It asks, first, that security assistance to the Lebanese army be ended. A second recommendation is that the United States should sanction Hezbollah’s allies in Lebanon. -Carnegie 

  • Israeli fighter planes flew over Lebanon again on Thursday Night to strike Syrian weapons depots in its Hama province. -The Daily Star

  • The Lebanese revolution went back to the streets on June 6. The movement has the potential to address the lingering economic/political problems and Hezbollah's weapons, but it is also possible that it will fade away. -Al Modon

  • Anti-fraud Lebanese banker, Antoine Daher, was found dead in the parking lot of his apartment complex in Hazmieh, a suburb of Beirut. -The National