- Acts of terrorism, he said when I saw him in November, usually arise from some cause deep in the past and will not go away until the root problem is addressed. He could as easily have been talking about the demonstrations of discontent being staged in his homeland nearly a half-century since he saw it last.

1. Does "being staged" modify "demonstrations", not  "discontent"?

If so, is it possible, according to context, for verb~ing to modify A, not B, considering this structure "A + preposition + B + verb~ing"?

2. Is this part "could as easily have" correct English? Should the part be "could just as easily have"?



1. Yes, that's exactly right. 'Demonstrations of discontent' is easily recognised as a noun phrase; and 'being staged' doesn't make sense if you try to relate it to 'discontent' alone. The context tells us that it is the demonstrations that are being staged. I read it without even thinking about it. It's the context that makes that possible.

2. I'd say they are equally good. I'd say that 'just' is acting as an emphasizer there, so it can be put in, or not. I think the sentence flows as well - it flows just as well - without it.