Introduction :: Lebanon


Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French demarcated the region of Lebanon in 1920 and granted this area independence in 1943. Since independence, the country has been marked by periods of political turmoil interspersed with prosperity built on its position as a regional center for finance and trade. The country’s 1975-90 civil war, which resulted in an estimated 120,000 fatalities, was followed by years of social and political instability. Sectarianism is a key element of Lebanese political life. Neighboring Syria has historically influenced Lebanon’s foreign policy and internal policies, and its military occupied Lebanon from 1976 until 2005. The Lebanon-based Hizballah militia and Israel continued attacks and counterattacks against each other after Syria’s withdrawal, and fought a brief war in 2006. Lebanon’s borders with Syria and Israel remain unresolved.

Geography :: Lebanon


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

Geographic coordinates

33 50 N, 35 50 E

Map references

Middle East


total: 10,400 sq km

land: 10,230 sq km

water: 170 sq km

Area – comparative

Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 484 km

border countries (2): Israel 81 km, Syria 403 km


225 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm


Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; the Lebanon Mountains experience heavy winter snows


narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains


mean elevation: 1,250 m

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

Land use

agricultural land: 63.3% (2011 est.)

arable land: 11.9% (2011 est.) /** permanent crops:** 12.3% (2011 est.) /** permanent pasture:** 39.1% (2011 est.)

forest: 13.4% (2011 est.)

other: 23.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

1,040 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the majority of the people live on or near the Mediterranean coast, and of these most live in and around the capital, Beirut; favorable growing conditions in the Bekaa Valley, on the southeastern side of the Lebanon Mountains, have attracted farmers and thus the area exhibits a smaller population density

Natural hazards

earthquakes; dust storms, sandstorms

Environment – current issues

deforestation; soil deterioration, erosion; desertification; species loss; air pollution in Beirut from vehicular traffic and the burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage and oil spills; waste-water management

Environment – international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation

Geography – note

smallest country in continental Asia; Nahr el Litani is the only major river in Near East not crossing an international boundary; rugged terrain historically helped isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on religion, clan, and ethnicity

People and Society :: Lebanon


5,469,612 (July 2020 est.)


noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)

adjective: Lebanese

Ethnic groups

Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%

note: many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendants of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians


Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian



Age structure

population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 48.4

youth dependency ratio: 37.2

elderly dependency ratio: 11.2

potential support ratio: 8.9 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 33.7 years

male: 33.1 years

female: 34.4 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

-6.68% (2020 est.)

Birth rate

13.6 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Death rate

5.4 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Net migration rate

-88.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Population distribution

the majority of the people live on or near the Mediterranean coast, and of these most live in and around the capital, Beirut; favorable growing conditions in the Bekaa Valley, on the southeastern side of the Lebanon Mountains, have attracted farmers and thus the area exhibits a smaller population density


urban population: 88.9% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.75% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas – population

2.424 million BEIRUT (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

29 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 7.2 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.3 years

male: 76.9 years

female: 79.8 years (2020 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.71 children born/woman (2020 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

54.5% (2009)

Drinking water source

improved:** total:** 100% of population

unimproved:** total:** 0% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

8.2% (2017)

Physicians density

2.03 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

2.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved:** total:** 99% of population

unimproved:** total:** 1% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate

<.1% (2018 est.)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS

2,500 (2018 est.)

HIV/AIDS – deaths

<100 (2018 est.)

Obesity – adult prevalence rate

32% (2016)

Education expenditures

2.5% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 95.1%

male: 96.9%

female: 93.3% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 12 years

female: 11 years (2014)

Government :: Lebanon

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

etymology: derives from the Semitic root “lbn” meaning “white” and refers to snow-capped Mount Lebanon

Government type

parliamentary republic


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

etymology: derived from the Canaanite or Phoenician word “ber’ot,” meaning “the wells” or “fountain,” which referred to the site’s accessible water table

Administrative divisions

8 governorates (mohafazat, singular – mohafazah); Aakkar, Baalbek-Hermel, Beqaa (Bekaa), Beyrouth (Beirut), Liban-Nord (North Lebanon), Liban-Sud (South Lebanon), Mont-Liban (Mount Lebanon), Nabatiye


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

National holiday

Independence Day, 22 November (1943)


history: drafted 15 May 1926, adopted 23 May 1926

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic and introduced as a government bill to the National Assembly or proposed by at least 10 members of the Assembly and agreed upon by two thirds of its members; if proposed by the National Assembly, review and approval by two-thirds majority of the Cabinet is required; if approved, the proposal is next submitted to the Cabinet for drafting as an amendment; Cabinet approval requires at least two-thirds majority, followed by submission to the National Assembly for discussion and vote; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of a required two-thirds quorum of the Assembly membership and promulgation by the president; amended several times, last in 1989

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law based on the French civil code, Ottoman legal tradition, 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


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Lebanon

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: unknown


21 years of age; authorized for all men and women regardless of religion; excludes persons convicted of felonies and other crimes or those imprisoned; excludes all military and security service personnel regardless of rank

Executive branch

chief of state: President Michel AWN (since 31 October 2016)

head of government: vacant; Prime Minister-designate Mustapha ADIB resigned on 26 September 2020 after failing to form a new government

cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and National Assembly

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the National Assembly with two-thirds majority vote in the first round and if needed absolute majority vote in a second round for a 6-year term (eligible for non-consecutive terms); last held on 31 October 2016 (next to be held in 2022); prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly; deputy prime minister determined during cabinet formation
election results: Michel AWN elected president in second round; National Assembly vote – Michel AWN (FPM) 83; note – in the initial election held on 23 April 2014, no candidate received the required two-thirds vote, and subsequent attempts failed because the Assembly lacked the necessary quorum to hold a vote; the president was finally elected in its 46th attempt on 31 October 2016

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Nuwab in Arabic or Assemblee Nationale in French (128 seats; members directly elected by listed-based proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms); prior to 2017, the electoral system was by majoritarian vote

elections: last held on 6 May 2018 (next to be held in 2022)

election results: percent of vote by coalition – NA; seats by coalition Strong Lebanon Bloc (Free Patriotic Movement-led) 25; Future Bloc (Future Movement-led) 20; Development and Liberation Bloc (Amal Movement-led) 16; Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc (Hizballah-led) 15; Strong Republic Bloc (Lebanese Forces-led) 15; Democratic Gathering (Progressive Socialist Party-led) 9; Independent Centre Bloc 4; National Bloc (Marada Movement-led) 3; Syrian Social Nationalist Party 3; Tashnaq 3; Kataib 3; other 8; independent 4; composition – men 122, women 6, percent of women 4.6%

note: Lebanons constitution states the National Assembly cannot conduct regular business until it elects a president when the position is vacant

Judicial branch

highest courts: Court of Cassation or Supreme Court (organized into 8 chambers, each with a presiding judge and 2 associate judges); Constitutional Council (consists of 10 members)

judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by Supreme Judicial Council, a 10-member body headed by the chief justice, and includes other judicial officials; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Council members appointed – 5 by the Council of Ministers and 5 by parliament; members serve 5-year terms

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; specialized tribunals, religious courts; military courts

Political parties and leaders

Al-Ahbash or Association of Islamic Charitable Projects [Adnan TARABULSI]
Amal Movement [Nabih BERRI]
Azm Movement [Najib MIQATI]
Bath Arab Socialist Party of Lebanon [Fayiz SHUKR]
Free Patriotic Movement or FPM [Gibran BASSIL]
Future Movement Bloc [Sa’ad al-HARIRI]
Hizballah [Hassan NASRALLAH]
Islamic Actions Front [Sheikh Zuhayr al-JUAYD]
Kata’ib Party [Sami GEMAYEL]
Lebanese Democratic Party [Talal ARSLAN]
Lebanese Forces or LF [Samir JA’JA]
Marada Movement [Sulayman FRANJIEH]
Progressive Socialist Party or PSP [Walid JUNBLATT]
Social Democrat Hunshaqian Party [Sabuh KALPAKIAN]Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Ali QANSO]
Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Hanna al-NASHIF]
Tashnaq or Armenian Revolutionary Federation [Hagop PAKRADOUNIAN]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

Ambassador Gabriel ISSA (since 24 January 2018)
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: 1 939-6300

FAX: 1 939-6324
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Dorothy SHEA (since 11 March 2020)

telephone: 961 542600, 543600

embassy: Awkar, Lebanon (Awkar facing the Municipality), Main Street

mailing address: P. O. Box 70-840, Antelias, Lebanon; from US: US Embassy Beirut, 6070 Beirut Place, Washington, DC 20521-6070

FAX: 961 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 colors: red, white, green

National anthem


Economy :: Lebanon

Economy – overview

Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, complex customs procedures, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and inadequate intellectual property rights protection. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism.

The 1975-90 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon’s economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and derailed Lebanon’s position as a Middle Eastern banking hub. Following the civil war, Lebanon rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily, mostly from domestic banks, which saddled the government with a huge debt burden. Pledges of economic and financial reforms made at separate international donor conferences during the 2000s have mostly gone unfulfilled, including those made during the Paris III Donor Conference in 2007, following the July 2006 war. The “CEDRE” investment event hosted by France in April 2018 again rallied the international community to assist Lebanon with concessional financing and some grants for capital infrastructure improvements, conditioned upon long-delayed structural economic reforms in fiscal management, electricity tariffs, and transparent public procurement, among many others.

The Syria conflict cut off one of Lebanon’s major markets and a transport corridor through the Levant. The influx of nearly one million registered and an estimated 300,000 unregistered Syrian refugees has increased social tensions and heightened competition for low-skill jobs and public services. Lebanon continues to face several long-term structural weaknesses that predate the Syria crisis, notably, weak infrastructure, poor service delivery, institutionalized corruption, and bureaucratic over-regulation. Chronic fiscal deficits have increased Lebanons debt-to-GDP ratio, the third highest in the world; most of the debt is held internally by Lebanese banks. These factors combined to slow economic growth to the 1-2% range in 2011-17, after four years of averaging 8% growth. Weak economic growth limits tax revenues, while the largest government expenditures remain debt servicing, salaries for government workers, and transfers to the electricity sector. These limitations constrain other government spending, limiting its ability to invest in necessary infrastructure improvements, such as water, electricity, and transportation. In early 2018, the Lebanese government signed long-awaited contract agreements with an international consortium for petroleum exploration and production as part of the countrys first offshore licensing round. Exploration is expected to begin in 2019.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$88.25 billion (2017 est.)
$86.94 billion (2016 est.)
$85.45 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$54.18 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

1.5% (2017 est.)
1.7% (2016 est.)
0.2% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$19,600 (2017 est.)
$19,500 (2016 est.)
$19,300 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving

-0.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
0.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
4.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 87.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 13.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 21.8% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.5% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 23.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -46.4% (2017 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 13.1% (2017 est.)

services: 83% (2017 est.)

Agriculture – products

citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats


banking, tourism, real estate and construction, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating

Industrial production growth rate

-21.1% (2017 est.)

Labor force

2.166 million (2016 est.)

note: excludes as many as 1 million foreign workers and refugees

Labor force – by occupation

agriculture: 39% NA (2009 est.)

industry: NA

services: NA

Unemployment rate

9.7% (2007)

Population below poverty line

28.6% (2004 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA


revenues: 11.62 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 15.38 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

21.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-6.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

146.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
145.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover central government debt and exclude debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

4.5% (2017 est.)
-0.8% (2016 est.)

Current account balance

-$12.37 billion (2017 est.)
-$11.18 billion (2016 est.)


$3.524 billion (2017 est.)
$3.689 billion (2016 est.)

Exports – partners

China 13%, UAE 9.9%, South Africa 7.5%, Saudi Arabia 6.5%, Syria 6.5%, Iraq 5.8%, Turkey 4.6% (2017)

Exports – commodities

jewelry, base metals, chemicals, consumer goods, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper


$18.34 billion (2017 est.)
$17.71 billion (2016 est.)

Imports – commodities

petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals

Imports – partners

China 10.2%, Italy 8.9%, Greece 7%, Germany 6.6%, US 6.3%, Turkey 4.5%, Egypt 4.2% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$55.42 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$54.04 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Debt – external

$39.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$36.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Exchange rates

Lebanese pounds (LBP) per US dollar –
1,507.5 (2017 est.)
1,507.5 (2016 est.)
1,507.5 (2015 est.)
1,507.5 (2014 est.)
1,507.5 (2013 est.)

Energy :: Lebanon

Electricity access

electrification – total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity – production

17.59 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption

15.71 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – exports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – imports

69 million kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

2.346 million kW (2016 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

88% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

11% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil – production

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products – production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

154,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

151,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas – production

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – imports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

23.36 million Mt (2017 est.)

Communications :: Lebanon

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 893,529

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15 (2018 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 4,424,185

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 73 (2018 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: two mobile-cellular networks provide good service, with 4G LTE services; future improvements to fiber-optic infrastructure for total nation coverage proposed by 2020; in 2018 first successful 5G trial conducted and in 2019 first live mobile 5G site launched, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted telecoms industry and pricing has been raised (2020)

domestic: fixed-line 15 per 100 and 73 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2018)

international: country code – 961; landing points for the IMEWE, BERYTAR AND CADMOS submarine cable links to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia; satellite earth stations – 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic’s effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry – mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite – has moderated

Broadcast media

7 TV stations, 1 of which is state owned; more than 30 radio stations, 1 of which is state owned; satellite and cable TV services available; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible through partner stations (2019)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 4,769,039

percent of population: 78.18% (July 2018 est.)

Broadband – fixed subscriptions

total: 9,395

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)

Military and Security :: Lebanon

Military and security forces

Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Army Command (includes Presidential Guard Brigade, Land Border Regiments), Naval Forces, Air Forces; Lebanese Internal Security Forces Directorate (includes Mobile Gendarmerie); Directorate for General Security (DGS); Directorate General for State Security (2019)

Military expenditures

4.2% of GDP (2019)
4.9% of GDP (2018)
4.5% of GDP (2017)
5.1% of GDP (2016)
4.5% of GDP (2015)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have approximately 58,000 active troops (55,000 Army; 1,500 Navy; 1,500 AF); est. 20,000 Internal Security Forces (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the LAF inventory includes a wide mix of mostly older equipment, largely from the US and European countries, particularly France and Germany; since 2010, the US is the leading supplier of armaments (mostly second hand equipment) to Lebanon (2019 est.)

Military service age and obligation

17-25 years of age for voluntary military service (including women); no conscription (2019)

Military – note

the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) has operated in the country since 1978, originally under UNSCRs 425 and 426 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority in the area; following the July-August 2006 war, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1701 enhancing UNIFIL and deciding that in addition to the original mandate, it would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons; UNIFIL had about 10,200 personnel deployed in the country as of March 2020 (2020)

Transportation :: Lebanon

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 21

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,981,937 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 56.57 million mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

OD (2016)


8 (2013)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 5 (2019)

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

under 914 m: 1

Airports – with unpaved runways

total: 3 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)

under 914 m: 1 (2013)


1 (2013)


88 km gas (2013)


total: 401 km (2017)

standard gauge: 319 km 1.435-m gauge (2017)

narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m gauge (2017)

note: rail system is still unusable due to damage sustained from fighting in the 1980s and in 2006


total: 21,705 km (2017)

Merchant marine

total: 55

by type: bulk carrier 2, container ship 1, general cargo 39, oil tanker 1, other 12 (2019)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Beirut, Tripoli

container port(s) (TEUs): Beirut (1,305,038) (2017)

Terrorism :: Lebanon

Terrorist groups – home based

Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB): aim(s): enhance its networks in Lebanon to combat Shia Muslim influence in the country; seeks to disrupt Israel’s economy and its efforts to establish security; attack Western interests in the Middle East

area(s) of operation: headquartered in the Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in the south (2018)
Asbat al-Ansar (AAA): aim(s): overthrow the Lebanese Government, rid Lebanon of Western influences, destroy the state of Israel to seize Jerusalem and, ultimately, establish an Islamic state in the Levant region

area(s) of operation: headquartered in the Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in the south (2018)
Hizballah: aim(s): accrue military resources and political power and defend its position of strength in Lebanon; destroy the state of Israel; counter the West; provide paramilitary support to Syrian President Bashar al-ASAD’s regime

area(s) of operation: headquartered in Beirut with a significant presence in the Bekaa Valley and Southern Lebanon

note: remains the most capable armed group in the country, enjoying support among many Lebanese Shia and some Christians; receives considerable support from Iran (2018)

Terrorist groups – foreign based

al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB):

aim(s): bolster its recruitment presence in Lebanon and, ultimately, establish a Palestinian state comprising the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem area(s) of operation: recruits youths in Palestinian refugee camps (2018)
al-Nusrah Front/al-Qa’ida: aim(s): bolster networks in Lebanon and, ultimately, establish a regional Islamic caliphate area(s) of operation: in the east in the Bekaa Valley and along the Lebanon-Syria border; targets Lebanese Government institutions, security forces, and Lebanese civilians (2018)
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — Qods Force (IRGC-QF): aim(s): support Lebanons Hezbollah movement to advance Shia agenda through funding, training, and weapons area(s) of operations: Beirut, Bekaa Valley, southern Lebanon
Palestine Liberation Front (PLF): aim(s): enhance its networks in Lebanon and, ultimately, destroy the state of Israel to establish a secular, Marxist Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital area(s) of operation: maintains a recruitment and training presence in many refugee camps (2018)
PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC): aim(s): enhance recruitment and operational networks in Lebanon area(s) of operation: recruits young men living in Palestinian refugee camps, including camps in the Bekaa Valley (2018)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): aim(s): enhance its recruitment network in Lebanon and, ultimately, establish a secular, Marxist Palestinian state area(s) of operation: recruits youths residing in the country’s Palestinian refugee camps (2018)

Transnational Issues :: Lebanon

Disputes – international

lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab’a Farms area in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights; the roughly 2,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon has been in place since 1978

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 879,598 (Syria), 476,033 (Palestinian refugees) (2020)

IDPs: 11,000 (2007 Lebanese security forces’ destruction of Palestinian refugee camp) (2019)
stateless persons: undetermined (2016); note – tens of thousands of persons are stateless in Lebanon, including many Palestinian refugees and their descendants, Syrian Kurds denaturalized in Syria in 1962, children born to Lebanese women married to foreign or stateless men; most babies born to Syrian refugees, and Lebanese children whose births are unregistered

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Lebanon is a source and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking and a transit point for Eastern European women and children subjected to sex trafficking in other Middle Eastern countries; women and girls from South and Southeast Asia and an increasing number from East and West Africa are recruited by agencies to work in domestic service but are subject to conditions of forced labor; under Lebanons artiste visa program, women from Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Dominican Republic enter Lebanon to work in the adult entertainment industry but are often forced into the sex trade; Lebanese children are reportedly forced into street begging and commercial sexual exploitation, with small numbers of Lebanese girls sex trafficked in other Arab countries; Syrian refugees are vulnerable to forced labor and prostitution

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List Lebanon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, Lebanon was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; law enforcement efforts in 2014 were uneven; the number of convicted traffickers increased, but judges lack of familiarity with anti-trafficking law meant that many offenders were not brought to justice; the government relied heavily on an NGO to identify and provide service to trafficking victims; and its lack of thoroughly implemented victim identification procedures resulted in victims continuing to be arrested, detained, and deported for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked (2015)

Illicit drugs

Lebanon is a transit country for hashish, cocaine, heroin, and fenethylene; fenethylene, cannabis, hashish, and some opium are produced in the Bekaa Valley; small amounts of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin transit country on way to European markets and for Middle Eastern consumption; money laundering of drug proceeds fuels concern that extremists are benefiting from drug trafficking

Source: https://www.cia.gov

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