This piece gives an excellent overview of Lebanon’s clan structure. If we’re talking figures, I was told the Zaitar clan is 30000 strong, the Moqdad family has 15 0000 member and the Shamas clan 8000. All these clans operate beyond the reaches of the law and the Lebanese Armed Forces do not dare to enter their territory. Neither do the Internal Security Forces usually, as the 30 000 outstanding warrants mentioned in the article testify.
Although kidnappings continued across the country yesterday, an MP and member of the Moqtad family engaged in a common brawl with another clan member during a national dialogue session, the family announced they would not be kidnapping anymore Syrians.
The biggest reason for this seems to be increased pressure from Saudi Arabia, one of whose nationals was taken, and Qatar. The latter threatened to expel all Lebanese citizens if any Qatari was harmed. At the end of the day, money talks, and it wasn’t a joke anymore. You don’t go messing with the Gulf; a large part of Lebanon’s young, working diaspora lives in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.