On Valentine’s Day in 2005, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri left in his motorcade along the seaside highway, cruising towards his mansion. As the motorcade slowed down in front of the St. George Hotel in downtown Beirut, a huge explosion of a parked Mitsubishi pick-up truck detonated at 12:56 PM, killing him along with 22 others including his entourage, bodyguards and some passers-by.
Ever since that day the polarization in Lebanon has deepened between the pro-Western forces led by Hariri’s son Saad, his Sunni-led coalition with Druze and pro-American Christian allies, and the pro-Syrian block of the Shiite parties led by Hezbollah and their Christian allies of the Free Patriotic Front. Soon after, the pro-Western parties accused Syria of being behind the crime and immediately embarked on massive demonstrations and pursued the intervention of international powers in order to dislodge Syria from Lebanon after a twenty-nine year military presence.
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