Lebanon (Arabic: لبنان Lubnān), officially the Lebanese Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية اللبنانية), is a small, largely mountainous country in the Middle East, located at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east, and Israel to the south. The flag of Lebanon features a cedar in green against a white backdrop, bounded by two horizontal red stripes along the top and bottom. Due to its sectarian diversity, Lebanon follows a special political system, known as confessionalism, meant to distribute power as evenly as possible among different sects.
Until the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the country enjoyed relative calm and prosperity, driven by the tourism, agriculture, and banking sectors of the economy. It was considered the banking capital of the Arab world and was widely known as the "Switzerland of the Middle East" due to its financial power. Lebanon also attracted large numbers of tourists, to the point that the capital Beirut became widely referred to as the "Paris of the Middle East."
Immediately following the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure. By early 2006, a considerable degree of stability had been achieved throughout much of the country, Beirut's reconstruction was almost complete, and an increasing number of foreign tourists were pouring into Lebanon's resorts. However, the 2006 Lebanon War brought mounting civilian and military casualties, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure, and massive population displacement from July 12, 2006 until a ceasefire went into effect on August 14, 2006. The Lebanese government implemented an early recovery plan in September 2006 aimed at reconstructing property destroyed by Israeli attacks in Beirut, Tyre, and other villages in southern Lebanon.