Lebanon

Lebanon

Ahmet İncekara (İstanbul University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2939-2.ch009
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Abstract

Lebanon was founded as a parliamentary democracy in 1943, after winning its independence from France. Lebanon is experiencing problems between the balance of religious groups and regional ties, as well as the civil war in Syria. The country has a great variety and number of religions and clan-based ethnicities. The country's fragmented structure is visibly effective on the social networks and civil society organizations formed in Lebanon. Instability in the region and the civil war in Syria pose a serious problem for the Lebanese economic and financial system.
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Beirut, the Mistress of the World

We confess before the One God

That we were envious of you

That your beauty hurt us

We confess now

That we’ve maltreated and misunderstood you

And we had no mercy and didn’t excuse you

And we offered you a dagger in place of flowers!

We confess before the fair God

That we injured you, alas; we tired you

That we vexed you and made you cry

And we burdened you with our insurrections… – Nizar Qabbani

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Introduction

Lebanon, the country who took its name from Mount Lebanon, won its independence by French mandate in 1943 and was established as a parliamentary democracy.1 The capital city of Lebanon is Beruit. The country’s prominent and large residential areas are Beirut, Jounieh, Tripoli, Sidon, and Tyre. Lebanon is divided into seven governorates (Muhafazah).2 These regions are Beirut, the South Governorate (al-Janub), Nabatiye, Mount Lebanon, Beqaa, Baalbek-Hermel, North Governorate (Ash Shamal), and Akkar. The main seaports of the country are Beirut and Tripoli. At the same time, its only functioning airport is the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (Yağış, Muhammet Murat, 2011).

Laying on the east coast of the Mediterranean, Lebanon covers an area of over 10,452 square kilometers (Presidency of the Republic of Lebanon, 2016). When comparing Lebanon’s territory to Turkey’s, it is 1.27% the size of Turkey. Lebanon, sharing 81 kilometers of border with Israel and 484 kilometers with Syria, has a Mediterranean climate with cool-to-mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers; the Lebanon Mountains remain under heavy snow in the winter. Lebanon is facing the problems of deforestation, erosion, desertification, traffic (especially in Beirut), and air pollution formed from burning industrial waste, as well as oil and untreated sewage waste pollution. The country is party to the Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, and Wetlands agreements, however, the Environmental Modification and Marine Life Conservation agreements have only been signed, not ratified (CIA The World Factbook, 2016)

These days, Lebanon is experiencing more problems between the balance of religious groups and regional ties, as well as the civil war in Syria. Parliament’s failure to elect a new president in addition to the re-postponement of Parliamentary elections has given rise to political instability. Should the country’s political situation become more stable following the 2017 elections, the situation of the country can only develop a little. The service-centered Lebanese economy has been exhibiting poor performance together with its irreducible, major financial and current-account deficits. Correcting the situation of the country by implementing economic reforms in a short time is not possible in the near future, as it has given priority to its security problems and political rivalries (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2016b).

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