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Introduction: 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,...

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Economic Overview: The Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) caused serious damage to Lebanon's economic infrastructure. High levels of public debt were accumulated over the post-war period (and continue to represent a challenge for the Lebanese Government). Significant reforms introduced by the government of the late Rafik Hariri in the 1990s included reduced tariffs, privatisation of state enterprises and the introduction of a consumption tax (VAT).

The conflict between Israel and Hizballah in 2006 caused further damage to infrastructure in the south and in Beirut. At the Paris Conference in January 2007, bilateral and multilateral donors, ...

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History: Lebanon is the historic home of the Phoenicians, Semitic traders whose maritime culture flourished there for more than 2,000 years (c.2700-450 B.C.). In later centuries, Lebanon's mountains were a refuge for Christians, and Crusaders established several strongholds there. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the League of Nations mandated the five provinces that ...

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International Relations: Lebanon has close and historic relations with Syria that encompass local and regional politics, trade and commerce and, familial ties. Given the deep interconnections between the two countries, the Syrian uprising has important implications for its neighbour.

Lebanon has good political and economic relations with regional neighbours Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. Lebanon does not have diplomatic relations with Israel (NB: travellers seeking to visit the country will not be permitted to enter Lebanon if they have an Israeli stamp in their passport).

Large numbers of the Lebanese diaspora live in ...

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