Hundreds of thousands throng the main square of an Arab capital in a
stunning show of defiance. Disgraced, the government falls. The
opposition sweeps into power. Hated regime figures scuttle offstage.
Exiles return and political prisoners walk free. The talk is of a
complete break with the past.
But this is not Egypt or Tunisia, where the wave of political
upheaval sweeping the Arab world crested last winter, toppling the
regimes of Hosni Mubarak and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. This was Lebanon
in 2005. Six years later the forces that triumphed in what was then
fancifully dubbed the Cedar revolution are in disarray. Lebanon’s
chronic plagues all persist: sectarianism, corruption, the insecurity
brought by a weak central state, foreign meddling and armed party
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