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Lebanon has faced many challenges in establishing a stable and democratic political system.  The country had been steadily recuperating after a devastating civil war that lasted from 1975-1990 when the 2006 war with Israel broke out.  Millions of dollars in damage and thousands of homeless Lebanese emerged in the aftermath of these hostilities.  A series of political assassinations, including Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005 and Pierre Gemayal in November 2006, underscored the potential for instability and the ongoing role of external forces in domestic politics.  The Cedar Revolution, in the aftermath of the Hariri assassination, forced Lebanon’s long-time occupier Syria to withdraw its forces in the spring of 2005, but lingering questions regarding Syria’s proxy Hezbollah have contributed to Lebanon’s continued political uncertainty.