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The killing of six soldiers near Ras Baalbek Tuesday concealed a broader political message, one with significant implications for Hezbollah: The primary defender of domestic peace and cross-border threats is the Lebanese Army.If the Army was regarded as a credible protector of Lebanese stability and sovereignty, it would become more difficult for Hezbollah to justify retaining a weapons arsenal independent from the state.Neither the Army nor the security forces seriously damaged Hezbollah's political or military self-rule in districts the party controls.In order to cut off supply lines between Lebanon and Syria, and in that way strangle Bashar Assad's enemies in the Qalamoun district, Hezbollah has pushed the Lebanese Army to engage in border interdiction.No one doubts that Hezbollah is still able to transfer weapons through the northern Bekaa border, and that the Army will avoid confronting the party on such transfers. As the Army gains in credibility and purpose, it will be increasingly less disposed to march to Hezbollah's drumbeat, even if it has no intention of entering into a confrontation with the party.Hezbollah is losing men to defend the Assad regime, the Army to defend Lebanese territory.
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