Calls for Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's president, to step down have been getting louder. 

And now the White House has released a statement with condemning the violence by "Yemeni government forces".

"The Yemeni people have a right to demonstrate ... peacefully, and we remind President Ali Abdullah Saleh of his responsibility to ensure the safety and security of Yemenis who are exercising their universal right to engage in political expression."

But behind the scenes, there is talk of getting rid of Saleh, and a lot sooner than Saleh himself would like.

A report in the New York Times, citing officials from both countries, spoke of Washington pushing for a transfer of power to a provisional government, led by his vice-president, until new elections. 

Just what has prompted Washington's shift? And if Saleh goes, what will the US be left with in the fight against al-Qaeda?

Inside Story, with presenter Kamahl Santamaria, discusses with guests: Shiraz Maher, a senior fellow at the centre for the study of radicalization at King's college London; and Hakim Almasmari, the editor-in-chief of the Yemen Post.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Wednesday, April 6, 2011. 

Source: Al Jazeera