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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 (1975-90) 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. 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. Inspired by the popular revolts that began in late 2010 against dictatorships across the Middle East and North Africa, marches and demonstrations in Lebanon were directed instead against sectarian politics. Although the protests gained some traction, they were limited in size and unsuccessful in changing the system. Opposition politicians collapsed the national unity government under Prime Minister Sa'ad HARIRI in February 2011. After several months in caretaker status, the government named Najib MIQATI Prime Minister.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form Lebanese Republic
Conventional short form Lebanon
Local long form Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
Local short form Lubnan
Former Greater Lebanon

Government type
Republic

Capital
Name Beirut
Geographic coordinates 33 52 N, 35 30 E
Time difference
UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions
6 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Beqaa, Beyrouth (Beirut), Liban-Nord, Liban-Sud, Mont-Liban, Nabatiye
Note
Two new governorates - Aakkar and Baalbek-Hermel - have been legislated but not yet implemented

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

Constitution
23 May 1926; amended a number of times, most recently in 1990 to include changes necessitated by the Charter of Lebanese National Reconciliation (Ta'if Accord) of October 1989

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil law based on the French civil code and religious laws covering personal status, marriage, divorce, and other family relations of the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian communities

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Suffrage
21 years of age; compulsory for all males; authorized for women at age 21 with elementary education; excludes military personnel

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Michel SULAYMAN (since 25 May 2008)
Head of government
Prime Minister Najib MIQATI (since 7 July 2011), Deputy Prime Minister Samir MOQBIL (since 7 July 2011)
Cabinet
Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and members of the National Assembly
Elections
President elected by the National Assembly for a six-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held on 25 May 2008 (next to be held in 2014); the prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly
Election results
Michel SULAYMAN elected president; National Assembly vote - 118 for, 6 abstentions, 3 invalidated; 1 seat unfilled due to death of incumbent

Legislative branch
Unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Nuwab (Arabic) or Assemblee Nationale (French) (128 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of sectarian proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
Elections
Last held on 7 June 2009 (next to be held in 2013)
Election results
Percent of vote by group - March 8 Coalition 54.7%, March 14 Coalition 45.3%; seats by group - March 14 Coalition 71; March 8 Coalition 57; seats by party following 16 July 2012 by-election held to fill one seat - March 14 Coalition 72, March 8 Coalition 56

Judicial branch
Four Courts of Cassation (three courts for civil and commercial cases and one court for criminal cases); Constitutional Council (called for in Ta'if Accord - rules on constitutionality of laws); Supreme Council (hears charges against the president and prime minister as needed)

Political parties and leaders
14 March Coalition
Democratic Left [Ilyas ATALLAH]; Democratic Renewal Movement [Nassib LAHUD]; Future Movement Bloc [Sa'ad al-HARIRI]; Kataeb Party [Amine GEMAYEL]; Lebanese Forces [Samir JA'JA]; Tripoli Independent Bloc
8 March Coalition
Development and Resistance Bloc [Nabih BERRI, leader of Amal Movement]; Free Patriotic Movement [Michel AWN]; Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc [Mohammad RA'AD] (includes Hizballah [Hassan NASRALLAH]); Nasserite Popular Movement [Usama SAAD]; Popular Bloc [Elias SKAFF]; Syrian Ba'th Party [Sayez SHUKR]; Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Ali QANSO]; Tashnaq [Hovig MEKHITIRIAN]
Independent
Democratic Gathering Bloc [Walid JUNBLATT, leader of Progressive Socialist Party]; Metn Bloc [Michel MURR]

Political pressure groups and leaders
Maronite Church [Patriarch Nasrallah SFAYR]
Other
Note - most sects retain militias and a number of militant groups operate in Palestinian refugee camps

International organization participation
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Antoine CHEDID
Chancery
2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone [1] (202) 939-6300
FAX [1] (202) 939-6324
Consulate(s) general Detroit, New York, Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Maura CONNELLY
Embassy
Awkar, Lebanon (Awkar facing the Municipality)
Mailing address
P. O. Box 70-840, Antelias, Lebanon; from US: US Embassy Beirut, 6070 Beirut Place, Washington, DC 20521-6070
Telephone [961] (4) 542600, 543600
FAX [961] (4) 544136

Flag description
Three horizontal bands consisting of red (top), white (middle, double width), and red (bottom) with a green cedar tree centered in the white band; the red bands symbolize blood shed for liberation, the white band denotes peace, the snow of the mountains, and purity; the green cedar tree is the symbol of Lebanon and represents eternity, steadiness, happiness, and prosperity

National symbol(s)
Cedar tree

National anthem
Name
"Kulluna lil-watan" (All Of Us, For Our Country!)
Lyrics/music Rachid NAKHLE/Wadih SABRA
Note
Adopted 1927; the anthem was chosen following a nationwide competition


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  Lebanon (Beirut):


  GPS points from Lebanon (Beirut)

Chrabba Beqaa

Jebel Chira Mohafazat Liban-nord

El Aali Mont-liban

Ouadi Ain Snanou Liban-nord

Dahr Al Wasi` Liban-nord

Al Burj Mohafazat Mont-liban

Ard Hawsh Ad Dibs Mohafazat Beqaa

Tell Ain El Louos Mohafazat Baalbek-hermel




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