More information about Lebanon is available on the Lebanon Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
Lebanon's history since its 1943 independence has been marked by periods of political turmoil interspersed with prosperity built on its position as a regional center for finance and trade. The country's 1975-90 civil war was followed by years of social and political instability. Sectarianism is a key element of Lebanese political life. Neighboring Syria has long influenced Lebanon's foreign policy and internal policies, and its military forces were in Lebanon from 1976 until 2005. The Lebanon-based Hizballah militia and Israel continued to engage in attacks and counterattacks against each other after Syria's withdrawal, and fought a brief war in 2006. Lebanon's borders with Syria and Israel are still to be resolved.
The United States seeks to maintain its traditionally close ties with Lebanon, and to help preserve its independence, sovereignty, national unity, and territorial integrity. The United States, along with the international community, supports full implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1559, 1680 and 1701, including the disarming of all militias, delineation of the Lebanese-Syrian border, and the deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) throughout Lebanon. The United States believes that a peaceful, prosperous, and stable Lebanon can make an important contribution to comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
U.S. Assistance to Lebanon
Since the 2006 war, the U.S. Government has pledged well over $1 billion in assistance for relief, recovery, rebuilding, and security. This support reflects not only humanitarian concerns and historical ties, but also the importance the United States attaches to sustainable development and the bolstering of a sovereign, stable, prosperous, and democratic Lebanon. Current funding is used to support the activities of Lebanese non-governmental organizations engaged in rural and municipal development programs nationwide, to improve the capacity of the public sector in providing transparent, quality services, to strengthen the Lebanese security services, and to reduce deep pockets of poverty, especially in areas outside metropolitan Beirut, by strengthening productive sectors and job readiness. The U.S. also supports humanitarian demining programs.
The United States also assists public school graduates to enroll at the American University of Beirut, the Lebanese American University and Haigazian University. Assistance also has been provided to the American Community School at Beirut and the International College.
In 1993, the U.S. resumed the International Military Education and Training program in Lebanon to help bolster the Lebanese Armed Forces--the country's only nonsectarian national institution--and reinforce the importance of civilian control of the military. Sales of excess defense articles resumed in 1991 and have allowed the LAF to enhance its transportation and communications capabilities, which were severely degraded during the civil war. Security assistance to both the LAF and the Internal Security Forces, representing over $600 million of the $1 billion in post-2006 assistance, increased significantly after the 2006 war in order to support the Government of Lebanon as it carries out the requirements of UNSCR 1701 and asserts its sovereignty over the whole of Lebanese territory.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism. In 2011, major U.S. exports to Lebanon were mineral fuel and oil, vehicles, machinery, pharmaceutical products, and cereals. The U.S. and Lebanon have signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement to help promote an attractive investment climate, expand trade relations, and remove obstacles to trade and investment between the two countries. The U.S. does not have a bilateral investment treaty with Lebanon or an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation.
Lebanon's Membership in International Organizations
Lebanon's foreign policy reflects its geographic location, the composition of its population, and its reliance on commerce and trade. Lebanon and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. Lebanon is an observer to the Organization of American States and is working toward accession to the World Trade Organization.
Lebanon maintains an embassy in the United States at 2560 28th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202) 939-6300.
More information about Lebanon is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
Department of State Lebanon Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Lebanon Page
U.S. Embassy: Lebanon
USAID Lebanon Page
History of U.S. Relations With Lebanon
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Office of Foreign Assets Control Sanctions Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information