A former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden warned of an escalation in violence between Al-Qaida and Yemeni authorities and predicted the government would defniitely need outside intervention if it wished to stay in power.
Nasser Ahmed al-Bahri said that the recent attacks by al-Qaida in southern Yemen were an indication of its increasing strength in the region. US officials have said that the CIA now sees Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen as a greater threat to the United States than its parent organisation based in Pakistan.
"I expect that the confrontations will escalate and will reach an open war between the government and Al-Qaida fighters," he said, adding that US forces may have to intervene to keep the terror network from triumphing.
The US has alreay spent tens of millions of dollars to help the Yemeni government fight Al-Qaida and recently US officials said the CIA's deadly Predator drones may be added to the list of aid given to the Yemeni's to counteract the terrorist network.
Jihadists in Saudi Arabia and Yemen united early in 2009 to form Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and the group has already made an identity for itself with a number of high profile attacks, including the foiled attempt to blow up an airliner in Detroit on Christmas Day.
The group also regularly attacks Yemeni security forces, even inside their fortified bases, and is believed to be holed up in the country's lawless hinterlands, especially in the disaffected south.
Suspected Al-Qaida gunmen on motorcycles attacked a military patrol in southern Abyan province on Wednesday, killing four soldiers and wounding one. The attack brought number the of soldiers killed by Al-Qaida to 53 since May.