Threats from al-Qaeda frightened the US and the UK into indefinite closure of their embassies in Yemen, on Sunday.

According to the US embassy website, the danger is that the group's Yemen-based offshoot, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is growing stronger and planning attacks on Western targets.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is becoming infamous. The failed Nigerian 'underwear bomber,' who tried to blow up an American plane on Christmas day, allegedly told investigators that he was linked to the group and was trained in Yemen.

Al-Qaeda has been increasing its influence of late in Yemen. They credit themselves with a series of attacks, including a previous attempt on the US embassy in the capital Sanaa. The co-ordinated suicide strike killed 16 people last September.

Despite abandoning their embassies, the US and the UK have pledged more security assistance to Sanaa in their fight against terrorism.

But al-Qaeda are not the only group troubling the government. They face an uprising by Shia Houthi rebels in the country's north and a secessionist movement in the south, alongside extreme poverty and dwindling resources.

Western governments fear that this is just the right scenario to nourish violent extremism.

But how can military aid curb al-Qaeda? And could Yemen be the next international quagmire?
Inside Story, with presenter Sohail Rahman, discusses the matter with Hakim Al-Masmari, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the English language Yemen Post, Michael Griffin, an author and expert on al-Qaeda, and Bill Roggio, the founder of the Long War Journal which catalogues daily developments in the 'war on terror'.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Monday, January 4.

Source: Al Jazeera