Lebanon

Spencer Ankeny

Lebanon—Politics

Who is the head of state in your country? How long has he/she been in power?
•    Chief of State for Lebanon is President Michel Sulayman; has been in power since May 25, 2008 (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html)

What type of government does your country have?
•    Government type: Republic (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html)

Which countries in the Middle East are your major allies?
•    Hezbollah has strong ties to Syria and Iran. However, the March 14 coalition does not regard those countries as allies.  (http://www.infoplease.com/spot/lebanontime1.html) Egypt and Saudi Arabia have shown support for the United States’ initiative to support Lebanon’s government. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091901928.html)

What countries world-wide are your major allies?
•    The March 14 coalition party has ally ties to the United States; Hezbollah does not. The United States supports the Lebanese government. France also is an ally of Lebanon. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091901928.html)

What major international organizations does your country belong to?
•    International organizations to which Lebanon belongs to are the G-24, G-77, Interpol, the United Nations, and the World Heath Organization. It is an observer on the World Trade Organization and has a temporary spot on the UN Security Council (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html)

What are three major political issues that your country is dealing with at this time?
•    A major political issue is the investigation into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Going along with that is the other issue that there is a growing threat of civil strife among the populace in regards to the murder investigation. Also, current Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced that he had just obtained a large amount of Russian military aid. (http://www.dailystar.com.lb/)

If your country has political parties, what are they and what do they stand for?
•    The March 14 coalition political party is anti-Syrian and wants Syria to stay out of Lebanese affairs. Hezbollah is the pro-Syrian Shia political party that is also very militant. It is regarded as a terrorist group by the United States. The March 8 coalition is also pro-Syrian and is an ally to Hezbollah. Also with ties to Hezbollah is the Free Patriotic Movement, which is made up largely of Christians. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/791071.stm)

Who can vote in your country?
•    All males 21 years or older can vote; women over 21 with an elementary education can vote as well. Members of the military are excluded. (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html)

What is the size of your military?
•    The Lebanese standing army is around 60,000 soldiers (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/lebanon/overview.htm)

Has your country fought in any wars in the last ten years?
•    In July 2006, Hezbollah moves into Israel and captures two Israeli soldiers. In retaliation, Israel attacks Lebanon, bombing southern Lebanon and the Lebanese airport. Hezbollah counters by launching hundreds of missiles and rockets into Israel. This conflict lasts about a month and results in around 1,300 deaths on both sides. (http://www.infoplease.com/spot/lebanontime1.html)

When did your country become independent?
•    Lebanon became independent on November 22, 1943 (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html)

When did it last revise its constitution?
•    Enacted on May 23, 1926, the Lebanese Constitution was last amended in 1990 (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html)

Which countries does it view as a threat or does it have conflicts with?
•    Lebanon and Syria have been in conflict for decades. Currently, the Lebanese-Syrian boundary is not clear, and several sections are in dispute. Also, Lebanon has claimed a portion of the Golan Heights in Israel since 2000. Hezbollah views the United States as a threat as well. (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/le.html)

What is the relationship between religion and the government/public sector in your country?
•    Lebanon practices confessionalism, where people are grouped by religion and political power is distributed proportionately. Conflicts between these different religious sects have caused many Lebanese conflicts, as Maronite Christians and Muslims have repeatedly clashed throughout the years. (http://www.lebguide.com/lebanon/general_information/lebanon_general_information_culture_religion.asp)

In reality, does your country have freedom of the press, assembly and speech?
•    Lebanon has freedom of press, speech, and assembly. However, it has been cracking down on what goes up on the Internet, so freedom of speech and freedom of the press is limited. (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/world/middleeast/04iht-m04m1leblog.html)



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