GENERAL /

Date Established: November 22, 1943

US Aid: Obligated: $45 million
Spent: $48 million

GOVERNMENT /

Chief of State: President Michel Awn

Head of Government: Prime Minister Hassan Diab

Government Type: Parliamentary Republic

Capital: Beirut

Legislature: Parliament of Lebanon

Judiciary: Mixed legal system of civil law based on French civil code, Ottoman legal tradition, and religious laws covering personal status and other family relations of the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian communities

Ambassador to US: Gabriel Issa

US Ambassador: Dorothy C. Shea

PEOPLE & SOCIETY /

Population: 5.5 million

Language: Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian

Ethnicity: Arabs (95%), Armenian (4%), other (1%)

Religion: Sunni (30.6%), Shia (30.5%), Christian (majority Maronite Catholics) (33.7%), Druze (5.2%), small number of Jews, Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus

Christian Communities: Syriac Maronite, Greek (Antiochian) Orthodox, Greek (Melkite) Catholic, Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic, Roman Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic, Protestant

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

  • Lebanon’s Sunni leader Hariri urges revival of French plan: Lebanon’s leading Sunni politician has called for a restoration of a French plan to lift Lebanon out of financial crisis. France, which has led foreign aid efforts, tried to rally Lebanese leaders to tackle the crisis, but they failed to agree on a new government, which was the first step in the French roadmap. Hariri has stated he would only return as prime minister if there was agreement on securing and IMF deal. - Arab News

  • Turmoil, strife, and wine: reds from Lebanon: The wine industry of Lebanon is struggling, as the wine producers cannot raise prices to cover the cost of materials due to the economic conditions within the country. Most Lebanese wine production is centered in the Bekaa Valley, but there is some around Batroun as well. - New York Times

  • Coronavirus is pushing Lebanon over the brink: Already suffering from horrible economic crisis, Lebanon has been hit hard with COVID-19, with case numbers rising 220% since the Beirut blast. Doctors and nurses are also reporting lower salaries, and many are unhappy with their current pay. - Foreign Policy

Lebanon

Lebanon

GENERAL /

Date Established: November 22, 1943

US Aid: Obligated: $45 million
Spent: $48 million

GOVERNMENT /

Chief of State: President Michel Awn

Head of Government: Prime Minister Hassan Diab

Government Type: Parliamentary Republic

Capital: Beirut

Legislature: Parliament of Lebanon

Judiciary: Mixed legal system of civil law based on French civil code, Ottoman legal tradition, and religious laws covering personal status and other family relations of the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian communities

Ambassador to US: Gabriel Issa

US Ambassador: Dorothy C. Shea

PEOPLE & SOCIETY /

Population: 5.5 million

Language: Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian

Ethnicity: Arabs (95%), Armenian (4%), other (1%)

Religion: Sunni (30.6%), Shia (30.5%), Christian (majority Maronite Catholics) (33.7%), Druze (5.2%), small number of Jews, Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus

Christian Communities: Syriac Maronite, Greek (Antiochian) Orthodox, Greek (Melkite) Catholic, Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic, Roman Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic, Protestant

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

  • Tripoli’s port steps in after apocalyptic Beirut blast:  Following the explosion at the Beirut port, ships carrying goods to Lebanon, a country that imports about 80 percent of what it consumes, docked in Tripoli instead of Beirut. The quick response from the Libyan port saved Lebanon from an impending food crisis, helping to keep the country somewhat afloat. - Al Jazeera

  • French president warns Lebanon risks new civil war if not helped: French President Macron warned that if left alone to deal with its crisis, Lebanon may risk returning to civil war. Paris remains impatient over the lack of progress in forming a new government and implementing reforms in the aftermath of the blast. - The Times of Israel

  • Lebanon could ‘lose control’ of coronavirus outbreak says PM Diab: Prime Minister Diab has stated that the Lebanese government is at risk of losing control over the country’s coronavirus outbreak. Cases doubled in the two weeks following the blast, and the virus spread in hospitals where victims were being treated. The government imposed a partial lockdown to help combat the community spread. - Arab News

  • Huge fire at Beirut port brought under control: A towering inferno at Beirut’s port caused widespread panic. While the fire has been brought under control, it is not yet extinguished. No injuries have been reported. - Al Jazeera

  • Lebanese army says shot down Israeli drone that crashed in Lebanon: Israel’s military claimed that one of its drones fell inside Lebanon during operational activity, while the Lebanese army said it was shot down. The Israeli army spokesman said there is no risk of a breach of information. - The Jerusalem Post

  • Lebanon’s central bank governor won’t step down, says he tried not to let the system ‘collapse’: Lebanon’s central bank governor said that he will not resign, and wants to help the country in its time of distress. He also does not take responsibility for the state Lebanon is in. - CNBC

  • Displaced Syrians look for a way out of a Lebanon in conflict: Displaced Syrians have escaped Syria, only to have death haunt them in Lebanon as well. As poverty and protests grow in Lebanon, finding official resources to assist displaced people is less of a priority. While some plan escapes to Turkey, it would be very risky. - DW