American policies in Lebanon are producing one of the worst unintended consequences syndromes that I have seen: Tripoli is now the official and unofficial headquarters of the most fanatic extremist groups in the region. Tripoli and `Akkar are now hosting Al-Qa`idah elements. The incident that triggered the recent clashes in Tripoli occurred when the various Salafite groups (under the umbrella of what is described in the Western press as "pro-Western"--how hilarious--March 14 coalition) happened when a member of Al-Qa`idah with a history in Iraq, Shadi Al-Mawlawi, was arrested (most likely at the behest of the US government). This story will only get bigger. Just as the Sunni sectarian agitation plan of the House of Saud brought into the fold the worst of Bin Ladenite groups, this agitation against the Syrian regime by Saudi/Qatari/US policies has also brought into the fold more Bin Ladenite groups. There is a file on the situation in Tripoli in today's Al-Akhbar, and also in New TV news broadcast from yesterday.