The US is on alert following the Libyan embassy attack which reulted in the death of four of its citizens. Whilst the exact nature of events is still open to some guesswork there is no doubting that US nationals in the Middle East need to tread carefully.
Are these isolated incidents? Was it an Al Qaeda inspired attack on the US? Was the short film blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed really to blame?
There are still many questions and few hard facts. Those facts are that US embassies were attacked, people died and the violence continues to spread. Libya, The Yemen and Egypt have seen violent protests against Americans and their embassies.
The latest report is that a protester was shot dead outside of the American Embassy in the Yemen.
At time of writing thousands of protesters are attempting to storm the US embassy in the Yemen. Protesters there were making their sentiments clear as they shouted "death to America"
President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has spoken strong words condemning the violence. For Obama and the Democrats just how this violence pans out could be crucial. It will of course be used by the GOP to bolster their 2012 election campaign. Once again Obama is in a tricky situation with little room for manouvere. Drones and more are being sent to protect affected embassies in the ME.
At stake is the peace of the Middle East. War has seemed a distinct possibility for some time. Many have been warmongering in recent years. These days it is a case of when Israel strikes against Iran not if.
Leaders in the Middle East, notably those who have come to power since violent uprisings, have been quick to condemn the violent protests but also quick to condemn the blasphemous film. We may not think the film is enough to stir such violence but it is for Muslims. Attacking their religion is simply not done.
The Egyptian President said "We Egyptians reject any kind of assault or insult against our prophet. I condemn and oppose all who ... insult our prophet. (But) it is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad."
As the Muslim Brotherhood and others call for more protests following Friday prayers tomorrow the situation remains volatile.
Whether the initial attack was co-ordinated or spontaneous is being investigated but it makes little difference in real terms. The damage has already been done. Now ordinary people in the Middle East are in a state of unrest once more.
If the film "the innocence of Muslims" was responsible for the violence then many people should be ashamed. We in the West may not be as respectful of our religions as we were in the past but we know that Muslims are. Creating such a movie was bound to cause problems. In reality it has caused deaths and much, much more. Those responsible may care little for peace in the ME but they have hurt their own, intentionally or not.