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Speaker Nabih Berri said in a speech on Monday during a ceremony organized by the International Intellectual Conference to honor late Shiite clerics Mohammed Makki al-Jizzini and Zeineddine al-Jabhi.that the 2005 Cedar Revolution “took Lebanon 60 years back.”

“The Cedar Revolution took us 60 years back, led to the spending of public funds, increased national debt and favored the atmosphere for more foreign interference,” Berri , a key ally of the Iranian and Syrian backed Hezbollah group said in a reference to the March 14 coalition, which was named after the largest demonstration of the Cedar revolution.

The speaker said that “Lebanon is in an era during which it is subjected to international pressure through the project of the New Middle East.”

He also said that Lebanon is being used “as a base” to bring down the Syrian regime.

“Some are trying to overthrow history and create problems with Syria in the North,” he added.

Berri said recent visits to Lebanon by foreign officials were aimed at “using our country as a platform for undermining Syria.”

“The recent events in Syria have opened the door for a second Corrective Movement that should be led by President Bashar al-Assad,” Berri stressed.

In another show of support to the Syrian regime he said : “We are reassured that the Syrian army knows its national duties regarding the safeguarding of the borders and that Syria does not have a history of sectarian conflict.”

Berri also said that Lebanon’s Muslim Shiites will not “fall into the trap of strife.”

“We, in Lebanon, will be the party that is most committed to national unity and coexistence.” He said

According to human rights activists, at least 1100 people have been killed and at least 10,000 others arrested since the revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime began in mid-March.

Over a million Lebanese , Christians, Druze and Muslims protested in downtown Beirut on March 14, 2005 demanding Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon. Syria withdrew in April 2005 after 29 years of military presence

The Cedar Revolution or Independence Intifada was a chain of demonstrations in Lebanon (especially in the capital Beirut) triggered by the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005.

The primary goals of the original activists were the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and the replacement of a government heavily influenced by Syrian interests with more independent leadership, the establishment of an international commission to investigate the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri, the resignation of security officials to ensure the success of the plan, and the organization of free parliamentary elections. The demonstrators demanded the end of the Syrian influence in Lebanese politics. At the start of the demonstrations, Syria had been maintaining a force of roughly 14,000 soldiers and intelligence agents in Lebanon. Following the demonstrations, the Syrian troops completely withdrew from Lebanon on April 27, 2005. The Pro-Syrian government was also disbanded, accomplishing the main goal of the revolution.

Hezbollah brought down PM Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 over Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) ’s imminent indictment which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri,father of caretaker PM

Lebanon has been run by a caretaker government since last January. Nagib Mikati was appointed in January as the PM designate with the backing of the new March 8 majority led by Hezbollah.

Disputes over cabinet formation have prevented Mikati from forming the cabinet. Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun is reportedly demanding a disproportionate share in the cabinet and is being backed by Hezbollah and Syria in his demands . Aoun is also reportedly insisting on being allocated the 2 most sensitive security portfolios : The ministries of Interior and communications and does not want the president to have any share in the cabinet .

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