There have been mixed messages from Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president. On the one hand, he has offered to step down by the start of next year, on the other, he is warning of "grave repercussions" over any dissent.
He has dispatched his foreign minister to Saudi Arabia to seek mediation, but the demonstrators still out in the capital Sanaa and across the country remain defiant and galvanised with military generals offering them protection.
But the defense minister has declared the army is sticking by the president and tanks have manouvered to guard the presidential palace.
Is a civil war looming in Yemen? And is the president running out of options?
Inside Story presenter Laura Kyle is joined by guests: Mohamed Qubaty, a former adviser to the Yemeni prime minister; Joseph Kechichian, a columnist for Gulf News newspaper; and Bernard Haykel, a professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University.
This episode of Inside Story aired on Tuesday, March 22, 2011.