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The recent wave of kidnappings plaguing the Bekaa Valley region, after the killing of a Shiite Lebanese soldier by Syrian radical factions, underlined the growing show of force of Shiite tribes whose interests often diverge with – and supersede – Hezbollah's political calculations.The Bekaa Valley is known for its crime families, who abide by their own code of conduct.Bekaa clans have long maintained an ambiguous relationship with Hezbollah.While the chaos in the Bekaa might be partially attributed to historical factors, Hezbollah did not push the state to adopt a viable development policy in the Bekaa region. This was, partly, a reason for the so-called "hunger revolution" in the Bekaa in 1997, in which a former party secretary-general, Sheikh Sobhi Tufeili, and followers from the Bekaa broke away from Hezbollah. Hezbollah is acutely aware of the Bekaa clans' sensitivities.Both Hezbollah and Amal are treading carefully to avoid provoking the ire of the Shiite clans.
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