A rigid political system that was drafted in the
1920s under French administration has remained the
hostage of Lebanon. The system gave most power to the
West-friendly Christian Maronites. For their part, the
country's Muslims have sought support in neighboring
countries. In 1975, a civil war broke out that affected
the entire region and lasted until 1990. Since then, the
scenic country on the eastern Mediterranean coast has
been living under a tense calm, which is occasionally
interrupted by escalated contradictions, internally or
with Israel. Conflicts in the immediate area also spill
over Lebanon's borders.
Brief profiles of Lebanon, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Lebanon is located on the Mediterranean Sea
and borders Syria and Israel. The word Lebanon comes
from the word stem lbn, which in Arabic is usually found
in words that have to do with milk. The white color
gives connection to the snow-capped mountains inland.
Lebanon is slightly smaller than Scania. The coast to
the Mediterranean is 22 km long and runs parallel to two
mountain ranges: the mountains of Lebanon with the
country's highest peak, al-Qurnet al-Sawda, and
Antilibanon, along the border with Syria to the east.
Between the mountain ranges lies the fertile Beka Valley
(Wadi al-Biqa ') with the important rivers Orontes (al-Asi)
Lebanon has rich bird and plant life. However, the
famous cedar, which is visible on the country's flag, is
exterminated except in a few forest groves in the north.
Just a few decades ago there were bears and wolves, but
now almost no large mammals are left as a result of
hunting and the animals' natural environments have been
The climate varies with altitude. On the coast it is
hot and humid in summer and cool in winter. In the
mountains it is cool in the summer while it snows
heavily in the winter.
When the weather permits, the Lebanese can sunbathe
on the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean just a few
miles from ski slopes in the mountains. The warmest
month is August and the coldest is January. From October
to April, it rains a lot. Beirut has half as many rainy
days as Manchester in England, but still receives more
rain per year. Most rain falls in the western part of
About our sources
10 452 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Capital with number of inhabitants
Beirut 1,900,000 (UN estimate 2010)
Other major cities
Tripoli 238,000, Saida 170,000, Tyr or Sour 135,000,
Nabatieh 103,000 (estimated 2007)
al-Qurnat al-Sawda (3,087 m asl)
The Syrians under a million
For the first time since 2014, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is
under a million, UNHCR states. At the end of November, according to UN
statistics, there were 997,905 Syrian refugees in the country, most women and
children. How many people have returned to Syria is unknown. Some have been
relocated to other countries with the help of the UN.
Fewer Palestinians than expected
In Lebanon, more than 174,000 Palestinian refugees live, the government
announces after a census conducted primarily in twelve refugee camps. That is a
much lower number than expected, although 18,600 Palestinians are added to
Lebanon from Syria during the civil war. The UNRWA has registered almost 470,000
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon over the years. The refugee count is the first
of its kind and should be seen in light of the fact that the question of the
size of the people groups among the country's own citizens is sensitive: Lebanon
has not conducted a census since 1932.
Saad al-Hariri announces that he will remain at the Prime Minister's post. He
has previously criticized Hezbollah's coalition partner for its actions,
especially Syria, but now says that the entire government has agreed to avoid
interference with other Arab affairs.
Hariri back home on National Day
Saad al-Hariri is back in Lebanon and is participating in the celebration of
National Day, two and a half weeks after the announcement that he will leave the
Prime Minister's post. After a meeting with President Aoun, Hariri now says that
he is waiting to submit his resignation and that further talks about the future
should be held.
Iranian crisis meeting
Lebanon's foreign minister does not participate when the Arab League convenes
for a crisis meeting, on Saudi demand, for "Iranian aggression". Iran is being
loaded, among other things, for the robot shooting against Riyadh from Yemen and
a fire in an oil pipeline in Bahrain. Hezbollah claims that the Saudis are
conspiring with Israel against the Lebanese Shi'a movement. Israeli Energy
Minister Yuval Steinitz tells media that Israel has discreet contacts with
several Arab states but does not confirm anything in detail. That Saudi Arabia
and Israel jointly carry out war actions against Shiite forces is deemed
unlikely by analysts.
France, which ruled Lebanon before independence, tries to mediate in the
crisis and offers Saad al-Hariri to travel to France. The offer astonishes and
President Emmanuel Macron clarifies that it is not envisaged that Hariri should
go into lasting exile.
Hariri notifies via TV
Saad al-Hariri appears on television from Saudi Arabia and says he can and
intends to return home, but intends to complete his departure from the Prime
Minister's post. Some of his statements are, however, interpreted as the
possibility of renegotiating government cooperation with Hezbollah.
Hariri and Lebanon in "Fox Scissors"
Saudi Arabia and Gulf states urge their citizens to leave Lebanon. This is
another sign that Lebanon is being drawn into a regional power poll between
Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudis accuse both Hezbollah and Iran of providing robots
in Yemen with robots. In Lebanon, President Michel Aoun says he continues to
regard Saad al-Hariri as prime minister. If Hariri resigns, a unity government
will split between Sunnis and Shiites.
The Prime Minister wants to step down
Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri says he is leaving. He feels threatened with
life and accuses the Hezbollah movement, backed by Iran, for destabilizing
Lebanon and the region; both Hezbollah and Iran are actively participating in
the war in Syria on the regime's side. al-Hariri has also long counteracted the
Assad government's tendency to interfere with developments within Lebanon's
borders. The 2005 murder includes al-Hariri's father Rafiq, a politician and
businessman. The son has continued to pursue the requirement for a thorough
murder investigation. Saad al-Hariri announces its departure in Saudi Arabia;
Hezbollah and Iran claim that it is the Saudi government that is pushing him.
Sentenced to murder after 35 years
Two men are sentenced to death in their absence for a bombing in 1982 when
Bashir Gemayel, newly elected president, was one of 23 dead. Gemayel was the
hero of many Christians, traitors to others. He cooperated with Israel, which
shortly before the act had started an occupation in Lebanon in search of
Palestinian guerrillas. (See Modern History.) Both now convicted belonged to a
prose party. The council was similar to the 2005 attack on Rafiq al-Hariri,
which helped Syria withdraw its forces from Lebanon after 30 years.
Islamist sentenced to death
A military court condemns Islamist leader Ahmad al-Assir and other people to
death for terrorist crimes. He and 38 sympathizers have been charged with
murdering Lebanese soldiers in clashes in Saida in 2013. No death sentence has
been executed in Lebanon since 2004.
IS leaves border zone
The Islamic State (IS) begins to evacuate its warriors from the Lebanon-Syria
border, after three years of presence. IS warriors are allowed to enter an area
controlled by the movement in eastern Syria. Remnants of Lebanese soldiers
previously kidnapped by IS are found.
IS retires in the northeast
20th of August
The Lebanese army is launching a military offensive in the enclave, which
since 2014 has been controlled by the extreme Islamist group IS. The enclave is
located in northeastern Lebanon near the border with Syria. The army estimates
that around 600 IS fighters are in the area, which is the group's last
stronghold in the country. Already a day later, the military announces that it
has withdrawn one-third of the enclave from IS.
Decision on elections next year
Parliament adopts a new electoral law and extends the term of office. The
next parliamentary elections are planned in accordance with the decision for May
One million Syrian refugees
More than one million Syrian refugees are in Lebanon, according to the UN,
which indicates the total number of Syrians who have moved abroad to more than
five million. Lebanon, which has four million citizens, does not allow refugee
camps but says many Syrians live in difficult conditions in informal camps.