Experts

Liberating Lebanon

Hezbollah achieved a certain acceptability in Lebanese society following Israel's withdrawal in May 2000 from the buffer zone it had established along the border.

Hezbollah members carry mock rockets next to a poster of the group's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
Photo by: REUTERS/Ali Hashisho
"We have decided to liberate Lebanon from occupation by illegal weaponry." These were the words of one-time Lebanese prime minister, Fouad Siniora, at the funeral of his friend and ally, Mohammed Chatah, blown to pieces by a car bomb on Friday, December 27, 2013. 

What did he mean? First and foremost, he was reaffirming the basic philosophy underlying Lebanon’s so-called “March 14 Alliance” – a coalition of Lebanese politicians united by their opposition to the Syrian régime and to the Shia Islamist movement, Hezbollah.  March 14 was the launch date in 2005 of the Cedar Revolution, a protest movement  triggered by the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri earlier that year. The demonstrations were directed against Syria’s President Bashar Assad, suspected from the first of being behind the murder, and his Iranian-supported allies in Lebanon, Hezbollah, who were widely believed to have carried out the deed. The March 14 Alliance is led by Saad Hariri, Rafik Hariri’s younger son.



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