The Arab Autumn
What started in 2011 in Damascus as a relatively peaceful, relatively secular, pro-democracy protest movement against an authoritarian regime devolved relatively quickly into a violent sectarian civil war. That spiral into violence almost certainly could not have happened without outside funding, political support and arms. How much outside support was pre-planned and how much an improvised reaction remains to be seen. But judging from what is known of the funding, already amounting to several billion dollars, and the public postures the funders take, it is reasonable to suppose that advance planning accounts for some part of the speed of Syria's collapse. This begs the question, might we see a replay in Egypt? Would the Muslim Brotherhood's paymasters prefer an Egyptian civil war over the possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood being banned for another half century, with it more or less completely losing political power and thus foreclosing indefinitely the option of an Islamist Egyptian state? How easy, or hard, would it be to foment a civil war in Egypt? That's a question worth worrying about.