The hundreds of thousands of Lebanese, Muslims and Christians who occupied the square to protest the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri have left, and many are wondering what they have managed to do with their cedar revolution. On March 14, in one month to commemorate the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese gathered in downtown Beirut on Monday, chanting “Freedom, sovereignty, independence” and carrying a huge Lebanese flag. Activists who participated in the demonstration called for an end to the Syrian military occupation, the establishment of an international commission to investigate the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the dissolution of the pro-Syrian government and the organization of parliamentary elections, which have since been maintained. Participants in the growing mass demonstrations and rallies began to shout anti-Syrian and anti-government slogans, which had not happened before in Lebanon.
In response to nationwide protests, the government quickly scrapped the new tax measures. At this point, both the French and U.S. governments used the protests to actively pressure Syria to leave Lebanon. Following the demonstrations, the Syrian army withdrew completely from Lebanon on 27 April 2005. On April 26, 2005, the last Syrian soldier left Lebanon, ending a 29-year occupation by the army and intelligence services.
The assassination sparked the so-called Cedar Revolution, a massive wave of protests that, combined with international pressure, forced Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon after 29 years of deployment. The Cedar Revolution refers to the massive demonstrations that rocked Beirut after Hariri’s assassination in 2005. He was inspired by Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution, which took place during a demonstration of 1.5 million people in central Beirut on March 14, 2005, a month after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The Cedar Revolution or Independence Revolution was a series of demonstrations sparked by the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The series of peaceful demonstrations and popular civic action that culminated in the Cedar Revolution was sparked by the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The protests, known as the Cedar Revolution or Revolution of Independence, ended three decades of Syria’s rule and raised hopes that the country could unite and take control of its own destiny. Such widespread public opposition to an authoritarian government was unusual at the time, but Lebanon’s legitimate call to end the era of Syrian military occupation and political violence in the country also presaged the calls for change and accountability we see everywhere today.
Since October 17, hundreds of thousands of protesters have mobilized across Lebanon calling for an end to corruption, sectarianism and a fragmented political and economic system. Lebanon has experienced many popular movements in its modern history, but none have focused as explicitly on updating the entire system as the current protests. Therefore, it would be a mistake to try to describe the current uprising in Lebanon as a replica of the protests in Egypt, Libya or Syria, or as a simple response to draconian austerity measures.
It was a bloodless revolution that sent a signal to the rest of the Arab world, but the 10th anniversary of the uprising that ended the Syrian occupation of Lebanon shows little sign of mass celebration. Several prominent figures, all critical of Syria, were killed in the assassination of Hariris, and the old political accusations between parties, religions and sects returned during the elections. Despite the lack of substantial factual evidence regarding any party or individual to date, the Syrian government bore the brunt of the Lebanese and international outrage over the assassination due to its vast military and intelligence influence in Lebanon. public split between Hariri and Damascus shortly before his final resignation on 20 October 2004
Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, a recent supporter of the anti-Syrian opposition, emboldened by popular anger and civic action, claimed after the assassination that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had threatened Hariri in August 2004, stating: “[Lebanese President] the United States and their allies pointed the finger at Syria because Hariri was seen as an antagonist of Syrian interests in Lebanon who challenged the renewal of the pro-Syrian and then Lebanese president Emile Lahoud.”
Pro-Syria Lebanese President Amir Lahoud was taken aback by Karamis’ statement and asked him to form a new government rather than stay in office, and the opposition responded by calling for a public strike and a sit-in. Even as demonstrators sang around the building, many opposition ministers spoke out against Syria’s occupation and oppression of Lebanon, and without telling anyone, Karami stood up and announced his resignation before the vote. Days before the March 14 demonstrations, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad announced that Syria would withdraw all troops from Lebanese territory within weeks.
A week earlier, a demonstration in support of the Syrian presence had taken place, leading to the creation of the March 8 group, which includes the Iranian-backed Shia group Hezbollah. The movement, dubbed the “Cedar Revolution”, was mainly focused on the withdrawal of the Syrian presence from Lebanon; deliberately avoiding challenging the mainstream political elites and families in Lebanon, known as the zuama. In Lebanon, the Mossad and CIA agents jointly orchestrated waves of anti-Syrian protests that the West dubbed the “cedar revolution” after the Lebanese cedar adorned the flag, modeled after the color revolutions designed by the CIA. governments and installed pro-American satellite regimes in their place.
Protesters, marked by the Lebanese flag, were adopted by Western media, calling the movement the “Cedar Revolution” because of the Lebanese cedar on the flag. On February 21, 2005, tens of thousands of Lebanese protesters demonstrated at the site of the assassination, calling for an end to the Syrian occupation and blaming Syria and pro-Syrian President Amir Lahoud for the assassination. On February 14, 2005, a powerful car bomb killed 22 people in Beirut, Lebanon, including former prime minister and opposition leader Rafik Hariri. In addition, the mass protests and counter-protests following Hariri’s assassination exposed fault lines that ruptured during Lebanon’s horrific 15-year civil war – rifts that the US and Israel are sure to use to fight. And NATO attacked/invaded from its eastern flank.
Security in Lebanon is fragile, however, and the uprising has not changed the feudal party system that has dominated its politics for 30 years since the start of the civil war. Many of the leading politicians who supported the uprising left the country for security reasons, including Hariris’s son Saad, now an MP.