File - Lebanese soldiers stand guard near bullet-riddled buildings in Tripoli, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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The announcements of the defection of Lebanese Army soldiers over the weekend to Syrian jihadist groups do not pose a grievous strategic risk to the military, analysts said, but the root causes must be addressed seriously to preserve unity.ISIS released a video Saturday night showing a soldier named Abdul Qader Akoumi, who supposedly defected to the group, saying that the Army's treatment of the residents of Sunni-majority Tripoli and its mass detention of Sunnis prompted him to leave its ranks and join the militant group.While the defections may fuel the narrative of some Sunni circles of deliberate oppression by the Army, Salamey insisted that most of the community remains firmly with the Army, and that the situation is not at a crucial inflection point.Sami Nader, the director of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs, said the defection threat is more symbolic than immediate, since the number of soldiers who fled the Army is not large.The defection threat is also particularly sensitive because of the large number of Sunni soldiers in the Army, which Nader estimates to be about 50 percent of the soldiers.
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