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Lebanon - Country in Crisis

Lebanon is a small Middle-Eastern country with some tasty food and some big problems. Currently, Lebanon is under attack from Israel after Lebanese rebels took Israeli soldiers hostage. Kidzworld takes a closer look at this country-in-conflict.

Lebanon - Where is It?

Lebanon is in the Middle East, where it borders the Mediterranean Sea to the west and Syria to the north. Lebanon shares a border with Israel to the east and to the south that was approved by the United Nations. The two countries have disputed over a small area of land called Shebaa farms, which has sometimes led to conflict, but the UN has declared the territory to actually be Syrian territory. The capital city of Lebanon is Beirut.

Lebanon - Early History

The Central-Asian Ottoman Turks invaded Syria in 1516. Lebanon's amirs (nobility) joined forces with the Ottomans and in return the Ottoman ruler, Salim I, granted the Lebanese amirs semi-independent status. However, the Ottomans ruled the rest of Lebanon as part of an area called Greater Syria, which included modern-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.

Internal and external conflict gripped the nation for the next few centuries as various leaders struggled to gain control of Lebanon. The Ottoman Empire fell apart after World War I, which led to the League of Nations (predecessor to the UN) handing over control of Lebanon to France and redrew the borders in a way that had a major impact on the religious make up of the country - the Lebanese Christians, who once made up the majority of the population now accounted for only half. Lebanon gained independence when France withdrew its troops on November 22, 1943.

Lebanon - Modern Conflicts

Lebanon enjoyed a period of calm until 1975, when civil war broke out over how political posts were distributed amongst religious groups. In time, Syria and Israel were drawn into the conflict. Israel eventually occupied southern Lebanon in 1978 until the UN ordered it to leave. Israel invaded again in 1981 in response to an assassination attempt against Israel's ambassador to the UK. The civil war ended in 1990 - a full 16 years later - when the parliament and president agreed that the National Assembly would be divided equally between Christians and Muslims. Most recently, Israel has gone to war with Lebanese rebels (a group called Hezbollah, which is both a militant group and political party) who have taken Israeli soldiers hostage.

Lebanon - Did U Know?

  • The name Lebanon comes from the Semitic word for white - in reference to the snow-capped Mount Lebanon.
  • The word bible is thought to originate from the Lebanese city of Byblos, which is one of the oldest cities in the world.
  • Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East that does not have a desert.
  • There are 18 cities in the United States called Lebanon!
  • Related Stories:

  • Israel - Struggle for Peace in the Middle East
  • The Republic of Iraq
  • War In Iraq
  • More Far Out Places!
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