Syria is looking uglier every day. Assad can’t crush the protesters, and the protesters can’t overthrow the government: a stalemate could be emerging. As the FT reports, the rebels are hunting for weapons and are getting increasingly organized. They are enjoying the growing backing from one of the oddest coalitions in years: American and West European democracy crusaders, Sunni chauvinists, and everybody who hates Iran (a very long list indeed). Arms are flowing already; more will come. There is a lot of money in the Gulf, and a lot of money to be made on the black market by enterprising arms dealers and smugglers.The longer the fighting goes on between rebels and government, the more likely it is that the likely prolonged and bloody struggle to oust Assad will only be the first stage in a longer Syrian civil war, one that could destabilize Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, while making Turkey extremely worried and unhappy. A bloody stalemate that sees the country fragment into sectarian and tribal militias and enclaves seems like the worst of all possible outcomes, and it looks very much now as if this is where things are headed.The recent “friends of Syria” meeting wrapped up without much agreement; the Saudis and others look set to arm the rebels without perhaps openly saying as much. A Sunni alliance against what many see as a Shiite surge is likely to stretch from Lebanon through Iraq. Channels to distribute arms date back to the Iraq and Lebanese civil wars; arming young radicals and sending them out to fight the heretics is a good way for conservative oil monarchies to fight back against the Persian menace while burnishing their Islamic credentials (and sending the most fanatical youth into foreign parts to win the crown of martyrdom they so covet).Ugly, more than a tad hypocritical, and almost certain to lead to a Syrian government of which Human Rights Watch will not approve: get used to it. That is where we are as the world approaches round two of the Arab spring.UPDATE: Secretary Clinton told the BBC this morning that there “is every possibility” of a civil war in Syria.