Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Consolidating the Cedar Revolution

The Cedar Revolution was a chain of demonstrations in Lebanon which began after the assassination of popular former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on 14 February 2005. The principal demands of the protesters were the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanese territory and an end to interference in Lebanese affairs by the Ba’athist regime in Damascus. Syria had occupied Lebanon since 1976, and was forced to end its military presence on 26 April 2005 as a consequence of the 1.5 million-man uprising.

Since then, however, Syria has continued to exert a high degree of control over Lebanese politics through its ally, Hezbollah – an Iranian-sponsored militia closely aligned with the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by the United States, is obligated to disarm under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, but has consistently refused to do so. Although Hezbollah currently holds only 12 of the 128 seats in the Lebanese parliament, its status as the strongest and most cohesive military force in the country allows it to exert a level of influence unwarranted by its political representation.

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