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Lebanon And Its Main Problems

Lebanon is a Middle Eastern country that is delimitated to the west by the Mediterranean and to the east by the Syro-African Depression. Lebanon borders Syria to the north and to the east, and Israel in the south. Lebanon’s climate is “Mediterranean”; mild to cool, wet winters, and hot, dry summers. Some of Lebanon’s natural resources are the limestone, salt, water and iron ore. Like any other country there are natural hazards such as dust storms and sandstorms.

The Lebanese economy is “service-oriented: main growth sectors include banking and tourism”. There are no limitations on foreign exchange or capital movement, and “bank secrecy” is strictly enforced. Lebanon recently adopted a law to combat money laundering’. Moreover there are no restrictions on foreign investment and there are no “country-specific U. S trade sanctions against Lebanon”. Due to civil war, Lebanon’s economy was highly affected, for instance central government institutions disintegrated.

Therefore the estate was handicapped, and accumulated several debts, for example by 2001 Lebanon had reached $28 billion, or nearly 150% of GDP. As a matter of fact, economic performance was sluggish in 2000 and 2001 and there was no growth in 2000. Lebanon’s current program of reforms focuses on three main aspects: – Economic restoration and “sustainable growth” – “Fiscal consolidation and structural improvement in public sector finances – Monetary, financial, and price stability”

The Lebanese pound is firmly pegged to the American dollar since September 1999. Furthermore Lebanese currency has “undetermined competitiveness, with merchandise exports falling from 23% of GDP in 1989 to 4% in 2000”. In 2002, the Lebanese government increased gasoline taxes, reduced expenditures, and approved a “value-added-tax”; all of these became effective in February 2002. In Lebanon is it hard to finance the government because of the slow money growth and dollarization, which results in a burden to the Central Bank’.

Some of the measurements that the government has put primary emphasis on privatization are: the telecom sector and electricity, Beirut port, and water utilities. Lebanon’s is U. S’ fourth largest source of imported goods; the U. S has more than 160 offices representing them there. For example thanks to the lift of the passport restriction in 1997, several American companies have opened branches or regional offices such as: Parsons, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Cisco Systems, Arthur Anderson, FedEx, UPS, Microsoft, American Airlines, General Electric, etc.

Lebanon’s current environmental issues are: deforestation, soil erosion and desertification. Furthermore Beirut is highly polluted due to vehicular traffic, and the burning of industrial wastes. And Lebanon’s waters may be polluted from diffusion of contaminated waters such as oil spills and sewage. Some of environmental-international agreements party to: Nuclear test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship pollution Biodiversity, climate change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, and Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping and Wetlands.

Lebanon just like any other place in the world has natural hazards and some examples are dust storms and sandstorms. The climate in Lebanon is Mediterranean (mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers. Lebanon’s mountains experience heavy winter snows). Lebanon’s natural resources are limestone, iron ore, salt water-surplus state in water-deficit region, arable land.

Lebanon is a country that has 21% of arable land, 9% of permanent crops, and 1% of permanent pastures. Its forests and woodlands occupy only an 8% and irrigated land 860 km2, and finally others take up 61%. dHistory and causes of the conflict: Lebanon has been under Syrian domination since 1990; people are unhappy because they believe that Syria’s’ influence is too powerful over the Lebanese one.

After Rafic Hariri’s assassination, international pressure upon Syria was dramatically increased; they demand a total and prompt removal of Syrian’s forces, and intelligence personnel from Lebanon. Lebanon is one of the places believed to be birthplace of humankind, it is the native home of the Phoenicians’ [Phoenicia was an ancient civilization in the north of ancient Canaan: ancient term for a region roughly corresponding to present-day: Israel, West Bank, western Jordan, southern Syria and southern Lebanon].

The region [Lebanon’s, current area] was territory of the Roman Empire and during the Middle Ages was involved in the Crusades which were series of military campaigns directed by the Papacy, and originally they were roman catholic trying to re-capture the Holy land from the Muslims [this dates back to the 11th through 13th centuries]. During those days Lebanon was taken by the Ottoman Empire, although the Ottoman Empire collapsed after World War I. Therefore the “league of Nations “mandated” the five provinces that make up the nowadays Lebanon to France.

Lebanon became independent of France in 1943. Due to the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948, Lebanon was home to more than 110,000 Palestinian refugees who fled from Israel. The number of Palestinian refugees continued growing since several contests kept going on such as the “1967 Arab-Israeli war” and “Black September”. For instance by 1975 there were more than 300,000 Palestinians in Lebanon, furthermore they were led by Yassir Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO]. This led to civil war within the Palestinian refugees in April 1975.

One side were Maronites [members of eastern rites of the Catholic Church], and the other side a coalition of Palestinians. Things were not going well for the Maronites, so Syria sent 40,000 troops into Lebanon in order to prevent an overrun. However Syrians fight against Palestinians was ironic, which led Maronites to realize that Syrian’s real goal was to occupy Lebanon, and by September of 1978; Syrians were “feuding” openly. As a matter of fact Syrian forces stayed in Lebanon and dominated the Lebanese government during the first years of the 21st century.

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