This report serves as a backgrounder while providing analysis on the current state of Lebanon. "Since having its boundaries drawn by France after the First World War, Lebanon has struggled to define its national identity. [...] As Lebanon's demographics shifted over the years, Muslim communities pushed for the political status quo, favoring Maronite Christians, to be revisited, while the latter worked to maintain their privileges. [...] Hezbollah's armed militia is frequently described as more effective than the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). [...] The United States has sought to bolster forces that could serve as a counterweight to Syrian and Iranian influence in Lebanon. [...] In addition, Lebanon currently faces a large-scale refugee crisis driven by the ongoing war in neighboring Syria. [...] At the same time, Hezbollah has played an active role in the ongoing fighting in Syria."
CRS Report for Congress, R44759