Over the past century, civil wars have been getting longer. Between 1900 and 1944, they tended to last just one and a half years. By 1999, they stretched to an average of 15. Will Syria, like Libya’s eight-month revolution, defy this trend and wrap things up within two years? Or, like Lebanon next door, is it fated to be a catastrophic slow-motion implosion that will plague the region long into the future?