Sentralmakten i Jemen benytter bombefly og hva det måtte være for å bekjempe shia-opprørerne i nord. Det har gitt Al Qaida en mulighet og global jihad vinner tilhengere i klimaet som har oppstått. Utenlandske diplomater er bekymret.

«The threat level from al-Qaeda is now critical,» one diplomat said. Analysts believe that al-Qaeda is recruiting disaffected Yemeni youths and bringing foreign militants to the country to attend its training camps.

For the past two months fighter jets have roared over Sanaa, the capital, to bomb al-Houthi insurgents in the north who are fighting against economic discrimination and want recognition of their status as descendants of the Prophet. Tens of thousands have been been displaced by the conflict.

One diplomat said: «Al-Qaeda has always looked to take over ungoverned spaces and there are a number in Yemen — there is potential for a far wider problem here.»

Hundreds of fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan have come from Yemen — the homeland of Osama bin Laden’s father. After the attack on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden in 2000 the country has been an American security concern.

The home of the bin Laden family was Hadhramaut. Here, in the plains and mountains, the al-Qaeda leader is a hero. Militants have bomb-making laboratories and libraries of extremist literature. They have safe houses in Sanaa where messages are spread on CDs and digital memory sticks and jihadi videos are screened in homes, local journalists said.

Sentralmakten viser ingen ansvarlighet, heller ikke overfor Al Qaida. Om ti år løper oljen ut, og det samme gjør vannet. Det går idag til å vanne åkre med khat.

Charles Schmitz, a director of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, said: «The Government likes to create chaos — its strategy is to get lots of rivals fighting each other so that nobody has the ability or the strength to contest them. It worked for a long time but … now there are serious challenges.»

Al-Qaeda finds a foothold amid Yemen’s poverty, fighting and corruption