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March 8 Alliance (Lebanon's Opposition Coalition)

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Hezbollah logo

Lebanese Hezbollah's logo.

Definition: Lebanon's March 8 Alliance is a coalition of opposition, mostly Shiite Muslim and Syrian-backed parties led by the militant Hezbollah organization and the more moderate Amal party.

The coalition also includes the Free Patriotic Movement, a mostly secular party that draws much of its constituents from Maronite Christians and is led by former Lebanese Army commander Michel Aoun, who was formerly a member of the ruling March 14 coalition. Aoun claims his is an independent party, though he clearly, and ironically, cast his political lot with Hezbollah (Aoun in 1989 had led a losing battle against Syrian domination, and was expelled from Lebanon).

The Match 8 Alliance is so called in reaction to the Christian-Sunni March 14 Alliance, born on March 14, 2005, when Lebanese Christians and Sunnis, with a smattering of Shiites, joined in mass demonstrations, following the assassination of Sunni Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, to demand an end to Syrian occupation. On March 8, 2005, Hezbollah and Syria had orchestrated pro-Syrian demonstrations in Beirut.

Politically, the March 8 coalition is oriented toward Syria and, so far as Hezbollah is concerned, Iran. It rejects the more pro-Western orientation of the March 14 coalition. The coalition holds 56 of the Lebanese Parliament's 128 seats, including 14 seats for Hezbollah, 15 for Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement, and 15 for Amal.

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