Research paper from the year 2002 in the subject Politics - International Politics - Region: Near East, Near Orient, grade: A, American University of Central Asia, language: English, abstract: Lebanon is a unique country of the Middle East. It is very ancient and it is located in such a way that once was called 'the gate of the Middle East' . During centuries numerous conquerors invaded Lebanon to gain strategic leverage in regional dominance. There are three major religious groups - Maronites, Druzes, and Shiites - living in the country, of which Maronites are part of a Christian mainstream and Druzes and Shiites are of a Muslim one. Granting independence to Lebanon, the French wanted to secure the position of the Christians and not let it 'be absorbed into a Syrian Muslim state.' Lebanon traditionally considered itself the only Christian country in the Arab world and was always backed up by France. The history of Lebanon was filled with religious and violent conflicts, which were inflamed by surrounding nations and often resolved by major powers. The antipathy among Maronites, Druzes, and Shiites was so strong that the solution had to be found urgently. To avoid conflicts among the different subcultures the French established the consociational democracy. Lebanon didn't completely meet all the core principles of the consociational democracy and it consequently led to the civil war of 1975, to sectarian unrest and struggles for political and economic power. However, the results of the consociational democracy were the peace in Lebanon for thirty years, and the economic prosperity.