Egyptian protesters are back in Tahrir Square and outside the presidential palace, chanting "the people want the downfall of the regime". They are the same slogans that ended the 30-year autocratic rule of Hosni Mubarak. But this time their target is the democratically-elected Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi.
How did it come to this in the space of a few short months?
More than 60 people have been killed in clashes between protesters and police since the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution on January 25th. Mr Morsi is being attacked for a power grab at the end of November in which he took on unprecedented powers, and then rammed through an Islamist constitution which lacked an all-important national consensus.
He is accused of paying only lip service to the democratic process to which he says he is committed. Liberal Egyptians worry that his real goal remains the imposition of political Islam over a country which has significant numbers of Christians and moderate Muslims.
Consequently, Egyptians say they are baffled by the US support of Mr Morsi. Why does Washington continue to give the former spokesman for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood the benefit of the doubt?
All sorts of theories are swirling around Cairo to explain the US position. A political scientist told me that at least one doctorate thesis is already being written on the subject. There is a common thread: that Washington wants to keep Egypt weak, which according to one theory is the reason why the United States - along with its prime ally in the region, Israel - is not unhappy about the continuing political turmoil and instability.
US policy is to keep the Arabs divided, I was told in all seriousness. People even speak about a long-term goal of borders being changed. An Egyptian former senior diplomat confided that it is conceivable that a solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict would be to resettle Palestinians from Gaza in Egyptian territory in Sinai. Or that Egyptian Copts could end up being corralled into a separate region like the Kurds in Iraq.
It is true that Washington has stood by Mr Morsi, largely on the ground that he narrowly beat the opposition candidate in a free election last June and represents the power in the land. The political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood stands to dominate the next parliament after elections to be held in April, thanks to its grass roots organisation. Give them time to gain experience of government, so the argument goes.
The most concrete sign of US support for Mr Morsi has been the Obama administration's confirmation of a $1.5 billion (Dh5.5 billion) arms package including F-16s and Abrams tanks, negotiated before the Islamist president was elected. The Senate upheld the sale last week, voting down an amendment by Republican Senator Rand Paul, who questioned whether it remains appropriate for Washington to send weapons to Egypt during the government crackdown and in the light of anti-Israel slurs by Mr Morsi.
But Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who peppered Chuck Hagel with questions on Egypt during Mr Hagel's nomination hearing for defence secretary last Thursday, has introduced another amendment linking the sale to pro-democracy progress.
There are also signs that the incoming US Secretary of State, John Kerry, harbours reservations about Mr Morsi's stewardship of Egypt. Mr Kerry expressed concerns for religious tolerance in Egypt during his own recent confirmation hearing. The former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee revealed that even before Mr Morsi became a presidential candidate, he had raised the issue of religious tolerance with the Egyptian, speaking of the need for the Muslim Brotherhood to "respect the diversity of Egypt".
Mr Kerry explained the Obama administration's support for Egypt's new authorities, noting that Mr Morsi's government had stood by the peace treaty with Israel, and taken steps to deal with unrest in Sinai which were of vital interest for both Washington and "the security of Israel". Furthermore, Mr Kerry noted, they had held elections, set a constitutional process in motion and scheduled upcoming polls for the lower house.
Giving the lie to the conspiracy theories floating around Cairo, Mr Kerry stressed that "we have a critical interest with Egypt". He added: "The fact that sometimes other countries elect somebody that you don't completely agree with doesn't give us permission to walk away from their election".
But in the light of the escalating violence in Egypt and Mr Morsi's harsh and uncompromising response, disillusion in Washington could quickly set in. The administration will be under pressure from Congress to make aid conditional on specific reforms, and even possibly to back the return of military rule. But while the Egyptian generals have close ties to Washington, they are not keen to return to front line politics.
So that gives Mr Morsi a window of opportunity to earn the administration's continued support. First, he should build on the dialogue with the opposition initiated by Mohamed Ahmed El Tayeb, the grand imam of the Al Azhar mosque. Specifically, he should signal willingness to amend the constitution. He must urgently proceed with police reform and personally condemn the sexual violence against women around Tahrir Square that has alarmed the United Nations.
Above all, Mr Morsi must demonstrate that he is the president of all Egyptians.
Anne Penketh is an international security analyst based in Paris
On Twitter: @annepenketh