The rising number of attacks against the Lebanese Army in Arsal and northern Lebanon is a worrying reminder of what is at stake for the military. In entering the fray in Arsal, the Army has immersed itself in the treacherous dynamics of Syria’s civil war.
By trying to close off the Lebanese-Syrian border, a legitimate aim in principle, the Army is effectively participating in strangling the Syrian rebels in the Qalamoun district. The rebels rely on access to Arsal to resupply themselves and to rest. With winter coming, the rebels realize that they will have to come down from the high ground in Qalamoun, and if they are denied access to Arsal, they will have to find alternatives, leaving them more vulnerable to attack by the Syrian regime and Hezbollah.