"The United States and Lebanon continue to enjoy good relations. At issue between the United States and Lebanon are progress toward a Lebanon-Israel peace treaty and U.S. aid to Lebanon. The United States supports Lebanon's independence and favored the end of Israeli and Syrian occupation of parts of Lebanon. Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon on May 23, 2000. An estimated 6,000 Syrian troops withdrew from the Beirut area in July 2001, leaving about 20,000 Syrians in Lebanon. From 1987 until July 1997, the United States banned travel to Lebanon because of the threat of kidnapping and dangers from the ongoing civil war. Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan said the United States had 'vital' interests in Lebanon, but others might describe U.S. interests in Lebanon as less than vital. A large Lebanese-American community follows U.S.-Lebanon relations closely. The United States also watches events in Lebanon because Lebanon is a party to the Arab- Israel dispute. Lebanon is rebuilding after the 1975-1990 civil war. According to estimates, more than 100,000 people died, another 200,000 were wounded, 250,000 emigrated to avoid the fighting, and as many as one-third of the 3 million population were refugees in the Lebanon civil war. Syrian armed forces, invited into Lebanon in 1976 to prevent a Muslim attack on the Christians, continue to occupy the northern and eastern parts of the country. Israeli forces invaded southern Lebanon in 1982, and continued to occupy a 10- mile-wide strip along the Israel-Lebanon border until May 23, 2000."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB89118
United States. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers, Bureau of Public Affairs: http://www.fpc.state.gov/