Egypt was seen less than three years ago as a potential wellspring of long-awaited Arab democracy. Now it appears to be falling apart.
Almost 1,000 people have been killed since last week in clashes between security forces, backed by the ruling military, and supporters of Mohammed Morsi, the first legitimately elected president in Egyptian history, who was ousted in July.
Experts on the Middle East say the situation on the ground is direly confusing for the Egyptian people, with questions over who is on the side of right and wrong, who is killing whom, and who deserves support practically impossible to answer.
For Americans following the story from thousands of miles away, what the chaos on the ground may mean for the U.S. is confounding.