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'Al-Qaida franchises' - ticking time bombs

 One Palestinian refugee camp here in northern Lebanon is today a smoldering, sniper-infested, booby-trapped battlefield where a few hundred al-Qaida inspired fighters have been making an Alamo-like last stand against the Lebanese army.

Another refugee camp in the south seems to be heading in the same direction, and there are more, many more, al-Qaida inspired time bombs like these slowly ticking away in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East.

The jihad-inspired militants fighting Lebanese troops today in what's left of the shelled, scorched and bullet-strafed Nahr al-Barid camp are from a small cell called Fatah al-Islam, "Islamic victory," but the name isn't important. There are other groups here too, Jund al-Sham, "Soldiers of the Levant," Esbat al-Ansar, "League of Partisans," and Al-Qaeda fi Bilad al-Sham, "al-Qaida in the Levant."

While the names are unimportant (they change as the factions split off and meld into each other), don't ignore the groups. It didn't work for Lebanon, and won't work for the rest of the Middle East and the United States.

Click here to read the rest of Richard Engel's analysis "'Al-Qaida franchises' - ticking time bombs"