Lebanon has been exposed to numerous cultures and religions throughout time. It was first found by the Phoenicians and later became part of the Roman Empire. All through the last century, Britain, Russia and lastly France have colonized Lebanon.
The Republic of Lebanon finally gained its independence from the French rule on November 22 1943. Although not fully independent, on the 23rd of May 1926, the Lebanese constitution was made and was modified several times because of numerous events like the independence and the war. The most recent modification was of 1989.
The government in Lebanon is a democracy and is presidential. Governing is divided into three branches:
Executive Branch- The president is elected by the National Assembly for a 6-year non-renewable term and is by custom a Maronite Christian. The current president is Emil Lahud since 1998. The president then appoints the prime minister (that is by custom a Sunni Muslim) from the National Assembly with their approval, and he also appoints a deputy prime minister that is by custom a Shi’a Muslim. The current prime minister is Rafiq Hariri, and the current deputy prime minister is Issam Fares; both since 2000.The last part of the executive branch is the cabinet which is chosen by the prime minister. The cabinet is a committee for the ministers.
Legislative Branch- There are 128 seats in the National Assembly through which members get elected to serve for a 4-year term. Members are elected by popular vote on the basis of their sectarian representation. The chairman of the National Assembly is by custom a Shi’a Muslim and is currently Nabih Beri.
Judicial Branch- The Lebanese courts are based on a French model and its legal system is a mixture of Ottoman law, canon law (religious laws), Napoleonic law, and civil law. In this branch there are four courts: three for civil and commercial cases and one for criminal cases.
In 1991, Lebanon had just ended 17 years of civil war. And since then, it started to rebuild its political foundation. Over the past few years, the government of Lebanon has shown rapid results and has gained overall stability.
As far as basic commodities go, agriculture is abundant and represents 12% of the Lebanese economy. The agriculture products that are produced in Lebanon are as follows: citrus; grapes; tomatoes; apples; vegetables; potatoes; olives; tobacco; sheep; goats. In addition to agriculture, water-surplus state in water deficit region, limestone, iron ore, arable land, and salt are also considered valued natural resources.
Lebanon maintains two-sided and many-sided trade agreements with several countries. One of Lebanon’s trade agreements is with Egypt, established in 1997. The two countries signed 12 agreements in different fields and set up a free trade zone.
Lebanon exports $700 million worth of goods to Arabian countries and very few foreign countries. However Lebanon imports $6.2 billion worth of goods. When comparing the imports to the exports, the ratio is 8.8. This means that for each export there are 8.8 imports, which is clear evidence that Lebanon is not a self-sufficient country.
The ethnic structure of the Lebanese population is diverse. The largest group, the Arabs, consist of 95% of the total population. 4% indicate their origins from Armenia. The only remaining 1% of the Lebanese inhabitants are from other ethnic groups.
Most Lebanese people are Muslims (70% according to the July 2001 est.) in one of the 5 legally recognized groups, which are: Shi’a, Sunni, Alawite or Nusayri, Druze, and Isma’ilite. The remaining 30% are Christians belonging to one of the 11 legally recognized groups, which are: 4 Orthodox Christian, 6 Catholic, and 1 Protestant. The Jewish and Judaism religion are not significant in Lebanon and are neglected.
As in other Arab countries, the traditional lifestyle of the Lebanese revolves strongly around the family, socializing, and hospitality. Western influences, especially French and American, have given the country a cosmopolitan façade, mostly in the main cities.
Outside the cities, especially in mountains, the people preserve the old customs and traditions. The Lebanese people, despite being ethnically and religiously diverse because of the country’s long history of defeat and adjustment, are friendly and hospitable.
The structure of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) is divided into three categories, which are: Army, Navy, and Air force. As far as militias go, they widely exist in Lebanon. Militias were divided depending on sect, region, or religion. The two major militias in Lebanon were the Muslim militia and the Christian militia. The formation of militias in Lebanon began in the early 40’s and 50’s, and their existence became bolder throughout the 70’s.
Lebanon has weak military power and therefore depends mainly on France and America for military support. Dependence on France has been a tendency for Lebanon because France’s former possession of Lebanon. Lebanon is also part of a defense alliance with Syria, which played a major part in obtaining Lebanon's security during the civil war.
The Syrian Armed Forces still stand guard in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon as a result of Lebanon's weak military power.
Lebanon is located in the Middle East bordering the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea between Israel and Syria. Its area is 10,400 sq. km with land boundaries that total to 454 km. In the northeast, Syria borders Lebanon with 375 km, while in the south Israel borders Lebanon with 79 km.
Lebanon enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and cool, wet, rainy winters. The Lebanon Mountains experience heavy winter snows and plentiful rain. Humidity is high along the coast in summer and daytime temperatures range with an average of 30°C with night temperature not much lower.
There are four major geographic regions from north to south of Lebanon. The first is the coastal strip which totals to a distance of 225 km. The main cities on that line are Beirut and Tripoli. The second region is the Lebanon Mountains that contain numerous rivers. The highest peak is Qurnat Es Sawdaa at 3,090 meters above sea level. The third feature is the Bekaa Valley, which is 15 km in width and is the country’s main agriculture region. The last region is the Anti-Lebanon Mountains that form borders with Syria.
Views on World Problems:
The Arab World’s geographical setting and location has always maintained a great value and importance because of its location in the middle of the world. Lebanon fortunately is in the center of this geographical treasure and has a mixture of various cultures. It is rich with democracy, has the highest literacy rate in the Arab World (75%), and believes in the right of thought, speech, and belief. This has led it to retaining an important influence on the Arab World. This influence helped Lebanon gain its high role and stature with the European society and the United States of America.
Because of Lebanon’s' strategic location, it had to struggle head-to-head with the Arab World's enemy (Israel).
Initiating from the establishment of Israel on Palestinian land in 1946, there was the tranquil problem of the refugees that were forced to go to neighboring countries that included Lebanon. The periods of the migration of the Palestinian refugees ranged but generally revolved around 1946 to 1950 during the establishment of Israel, 1967 after the Arabian-Israeli war, and during 1970 after the Palestinian issue in Jordan. The Palestinian refugees faced plenteous obstacles and they soon became an aggravating obstacle for the Lebanese Republic. The Lebanese government faced many difficulties that included home deficiency for the Palestinian refugees and their lack of education. The government fostered camps for the refugees but this still did not end the incessant amount of conditions as well as health problems and employment problems. The Lebanese people faced social, political, and economic troubles and this interfered with the population structure of Lebanon.
Lebanon is a member of various blocs and groupings. These blocs and grouping include: ABEDA, ACCT, AFESD, AMF, CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OIC, PCA, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO. Lebanon is a respected observer in both the OAS and the WTrO and is a correspondent in the ISO. In addition, Lebanon is a member of the United Nations (UN) and is also a valued member of the Arabic League (AL). Lebanon has recently held an Arabic League summit meeting in Beirut, March 2002.
The monetary system of Lebanon uses the Lebanese Pound (LL), locally known as Lira. The currency lost its value during the civil war and suffered from fluctuation. However, in the past two years the currency remained stable because of the stability of the Lebanese government after the war.
Subsequent to the civil war, the LL has been suffering and has unfortunately lost the trust of the population in and out of the country. The U.S. Dollar ($) has widely substituted the LL because of its firm stability contrasting the LL.
The Lebanese economy was devastated by the civil war. Prior to the civil war, Lebanon was the Middle Eastern banking center. The public sector suffered the most, as the government lost much of its revenues. The massive task of rebuilding and reconstructing the country required heavy borrowing, which resulted in increasing the budget deficit. The Lebanese economy has shown progress and had managed to re-open its stock market in 1996. Most of the international banks are returning; however, Lebanon still depends heavily on foreign aids and tourism as main source of income.
The earliest settlers of Lebanon were the Phoenicians who came from the Arabic Peninsula around 3,500 BC. They established cities at Beirut, Byblos, Tyre, Sidon, and Baalbek and spread literacy through the entire region. Throughout the centuries, Lebanon had progressed with different rulers and had then become part of the Roman Empire in 64 BC when Pompey the Great governed Lebanon as a part of Syria or as named in the early establishment, the "Greater Syria".
While in the early years of the Christian era, Lebanon had just started its long-running reputation of being a refuge for religious minorities. By the 7th century, the Christian sect that was to become the Maronite church occupied the northern districts of the Lebanese Mountains to avoid conversion to Islam. The Arabs had converted most of the region to Islam and the geographical inaccessibility of Lebanon also appealed to the Muslims as a religious refuge; the Shi’a found haven there during the 9th century and the Druze's in the 11th century. The variety of beliefs in Lebanon gave each religious group a certain amount of independence in specific areas, but it also weakened the unity of Lebanon as a whole.
Lebanon was later conquered and became part of the Ottoman Empire and was also colonized by Britain, Russia, and France. It gained its independence from the French rule on the 22 of November 1943.
In the early establishment of the Republic of Lebanon, the majority of the population was Christian. This soon changed however because of the Christians’ tendency to migrate to other countries and because of the Muslims’ higher birth rate. By the 1950’s, the Muslims and Christians had become equivalent but the governing rule had an unbalanced power-sharing arrangement. The Muslims, the Shi’a Muslims in particular, felt excluded from the real government and protested causing the pre-civil war in 1970. The pre-civil war then led to the civil war, which took place during the period from 1975 throughout 1991 causing total destruction and chaos to the Lebanese community politically and economically.
Issue #1: Measures to ensure the rights of minorities within a country.
Around the world today, minorities and groups are being neglected and are being banned of their rights and privileges. Lebanon opposes this treatment because of its long historic foundation. Lebanon is a state organized by groups and minorities, and therefore its existence depends on them.
The Lebanese people and government deeply believe in civil liberties and have hence developed the National Assembly. The National Assembly proves Lebanon is democratic to its minorities and consists of 128 seats that are equally distributed to the Lebanese people in division of sects. Furthermore, the Lebanese constitution secures the right of belief and thought for each community and sect.
Issue #2: The question of Palestine and the Peace Process in the Middle East.
Originating from the institution of Israel, the Palestinian struggle has been turning into a massive concern especially at the current time. Lebanon, as well as all the Arab countries, is deeply concerned about the Palestinian issue and Lebanon considers this matter as one of its own. The country supports all issues that aid in resolving the Palestinian problem and to achieve true peace based on justice and respect to neighboring countries including Israel.
Lebanon has participated in virtually all activities, meetings, and seminars involving the peace process and the Palestinian issue including the peace conference in 1991 held in Madrid between Israel and its neighboring countries by the United States of America (and the Soviet Union).
Issue #3: The question of drug usage, drug trafficking, and rehabilitation programs.
The world is in anguish by the amounts of drug usage and drug trafficking held out by the population. Lebanon, having the status of supporting the world with diminishing this issue, unfortunately has a substantial drug problem.
Lebanon regrettably has agriculture of hashish, which is mostly found in the Bekaa Valley. The Lebanese government is attempting to prevent the agriculture of hashish and fortunately enough has minimized its rates as of the early 1990’s to the present time and is progressing. Lebanon sadly still is the main source of drug distribution and drug trafficking for many countries including Iran, Turkey, and Israel.
Issue #4: The question of International Terrorism.
Lebanon, as an active participant of the United Nations, is against all forms of terrorism. This fact is accurate especially considering the aspect that Lebanon itself has faced several kinds of terrorism acts.
Lebanon has participated with all the other countries against terrorism and was one of the first countries that condemned the attack on September 11th 2001 in New York. Lebanon has and will continue to condemn any terrorist attack in any part of the world, for it believes that terrorism by no means be in any country’s interest.
Delegation: The Republic of Lebanon
Delegate: Fatemah Boukhadour
Question of: Palestine and the Peace Process in the Middle East.
Defining terrorism as a country or group using organized violence and intimidation against a government (or group/country) for no rational reason or cause therefore causing agony and lack of peace,
Believing true peace based on justice and respect to neighboring countries including Israel can aid in resolving the Palestinian problem,
Noting with particular reference to Mr. Rafik Hariri, "I think everybody wants to calm down the situation, and we are looking for peaces, not for war." As stated in CNN, April 17th 2002,
Deeply disturbed by the Israeli siege of President Yasser Arafat and the attack of Israeli troops on the West Bank,
Recalling the UN. Security Council's demand of the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian cities including Ram Allah,
Fully believing that recent Israeli actions will lead to delaying the peace process in the Middle East,
Alarmed by the suggestion of Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, of exiling President Yasser Arrafat,
Emphasizing the importance of the Peace Process in the Middle East and the termination of Israeli terrorism in Palestine.
1. Draws the attention of all countries to this destructive struggle occurring in Palestine and the significance of solving it;
2. Regrets the actions of the Hezbollah Guerrillas and urges the United Nations to:
a. Secure Lebanon's Southern borders with Israel,
i. Air borders with radar,
ii. Land borders with militaries,
iii. And finally sea borders with militaries ands radar;
b. Emphasize security in terrorist-prone-areas,
c. Advertise the negative results of these uprisings in schools,
i. Write subjects and lessons in books about the Peace Process and the negativity of all of this destruction,
ii. Conduct marathons for supporting Palestine,
iii. Give lectures at schools to raise awareness;
3. Strongly condemns Israel's terrorism and requests the United Nations to:
a. Send numerous amounts of investigators for security commitment reasons to aid in the preservation of laws and security,
b. Develop a monitoring group to ensure that there is no weapon usage in the safe area,
c. See that there is no weapon trafficking along the borders,
d. Fund the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) and create a United Nations Organization for the Support of the Peace Process (UNOSPP);
5. Expresses its appreciation to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan for his suggestion of sending an international force to the region to ensure safety and an opening for diplomatic moves and Lebanon Supports his suggestion;
6. Requests the end of Israeli occupation of Syrian and Palestinian land to encourage peace and stop violence in the region;
7. Emphasizing that acts made by the Israeli Government in the recent weeks hurt the idea and philosophy of peace itself, this started in Madrid (conference) in 1991;
8. Encourages the United Nations and the Security Council to punish any and all countries that provokes peace and/or acts by the means of terrorism by expulsion from the United Nations and should be condemned on;
9. Resolves that terrorism is not acceptable in a world striving for peace and that the United Nations and all the countries should recognize all the terrorists and pro-terrorism countries so that they can be punished and critically overlooked;
10 Further resolves the Israeli action against the innocent people who lives in Jenin and condemns the Israeli claim that the refugee camp is a staging area for Palestinian terror groups.
(Greeting in Arabic): Marhaba! Siyadaati wa sadati, il jomhuriya il libnaniya torahib bikom!
(Greeting in French): Salut Monsuirs et Mademossielle! Liban bienvenue toi!
(Greeting in English)
Good morning! Good afternoon. Honorable chair, and fellow delegates, The Republic Lebanon welcomes you.
From the high peak of Qurnat As Sawda' in the Lebanon Mountains to the lows of the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon greets you with open arms!
With the freshness within the Orontes and Litani rivers, and it's people's warmth glowing from their salad of faces, Lebanon is well known for its friendliness and hospitality!
The people joined together in Lebanon's peaceful sanctuary are made out of various beliefs, religions, cultures, and origins. With always a kind word at their tongues Lebanon's folk are marvelously connected to each other with respect, trust, and pride…
Throughout the centuries, Lebanon has striven to gain a country filled with peace and abundant pleasures, and fortunately enough has gained many. Providentially, the minorities in Lebanon are faithfully ensured their rights and privileges. Lebanon has also dreadfully faced its many shares of mishaps including the tragic incident it was forced to bear from surprisingly its own neighbor. Lebanon mourns it's grief to this day in remembrance of the fierce massacre it solemnly watched while the Palestinian refugees were slaughtered on its very own land. Lebanon supports the Palestinian authority on virtually all its actions and proposals, and yearns for the achievement of peace throughout the Middle East.
And thank you!