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

  • 20 years since the withdrawal of the last Israeli troops from South Lebanon, Israel and Lebanon brace for war. -AP 

  • 80% of Lebanese private Catholic schools (that school roughly 700,000 pupils) could close their doors forever come fall, warned the Secretary General of Catholic Schools, Father Azar, in a letter to Lebanese president Gen. Michel Aoun.  -L'Orient Le Jour 

  • At a press conference marking 100 days since the confidence vote (in  the aftermath of the October revolution), PM Hassan Diab announced that the cabinet was able to accomplish 97% of its goals. -LBC News 

  • After months of rampant inflation, central bank governor Riad Salameh issued a statement announcing that as of 5/27 the bank will take "necessary measures" to protect the Lebanese pound.  -LBC News  

  • In an op-ed for the Washington Post, PM Diab warned that Lebanon is on the verge of a major food crisis/famine come the end of the year.  -Washington Post  

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  • The Lebanese government deemed the repatriation of Lebanese citizens a success from Europe and the Gulf countries. Next step is to prepare the repatriation from the US. Arab News 
  • The economic crisis, amidst the coronavirus lockdown, is worsening although the prime minister promised that the deposits of 98% of Lebanese are not under threat.  Libnanews 
  • Former Prime Minister Saad el Hariri is back to Lebanon, after months abroad, deepening the crisis with the actual government. Libnanews 
  • The Lebanese army clashed with protesters in Tripoli, after a large group in that city gathered to protest the dire socio-economic conditions. L'Orient Le Jour 
  • Lebanon is extending a lockdown by two weeks until April 12 to combat the spread of the coronavirus, its information minister said on Thursday, while introducing strict new steps that seemed to amount to an overnight curfew in all but name. -The New York Times
  • Political parties are butting heads about returning the Lebanese who are stuck abroad (the airport is closed), turning into a huge policy debate pitting rival political groups against one another. Hezbollah and Amal made it clear that it's important to have the Lebanese back, and it is a matter of National Unity. -An-Nahar
  • The Coronavirus crisis has worsened the economic crisis. Lebanese can barely withdraw only "fresh dollars" now. -L'Orient Le Jour