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Has Lebanon's Cedar revolt come undone?

Hizbullah now occupies the Beirut squares where the 'Cedar Revolution' helped end Syrian dominance in 2005.

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Rita Awad was one of Lebanon's "Cedar revolutionaries" when she participated in the mass street demonstrations in spring 2005 that led Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon.

Now, Ms. Awad is back on the street. And in a quirk of Lebanese politics, she is demonstrating alongside pro-Syrian supporters against a government dominated by the leaders that she once rallied behind.

"When the Syrians were here [in the 1990s], we were the only ones fighting, and now we are here fighting the government," says Awad, a member of the Free Patriotic Movement led by Michel Aoun, a retired Christian general and now an ally of the militant Shiite Hizbullah party that is spearheading Lebanon's opposition.

While the political landscape has shifted and alliances have changed from two years ago, it's clear that Hizbullah has taken a page from the Cedar Revolution's playbook.

It has called thousands of antigovernment protesters to the streets for open-ended protests calling for more government seats for the opposition, or, failing that, fresh elections and an end to the rule of the March 14 coalition, which was swept into power after Syrian troops left the country.

"We are copying their system," says Ali Hamdan, an official with the Amal Movement, the Shiite group allied to Hizbullah. "The March 14 [leaders] have to realize that they don't have a monopoly on revolution."

The Cedar Revolution was a reaction of outrage at the assassination of Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister who was killed in a bomb explosion on Valentine's Day 2005. A week later, tens of thousands of Lebanese marched through the streets of Beirut in an unprecedented rally to demand an end to Syrian political and military control.


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