Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's president, has so far failed to quell increasingly violent protests [Reuters]

In recent weeks Yemen has seen its fair share of the anti-government demonstrations sweeping across the Middle East.

If the government there does fall, it will be a blow to many Western nations who see the country as a key ally in the struggle against al-Qaeda, which has thrived in Yemen's remote regions and feeds off its instability. 

There is an unrelated rebellion in the north, a secessionist movement in the south and immense poverty throughout.

As Australian journalist Trevor Borman discovered, the Yemeni regime's cooperation with the West has contributed to a closed and repressive society. It has become deeply mistrustful of outsiders, among them foreign Muslims which in turn may have fuelled the appeal of the most significant al-Qaeda figure now based there.
This film was made before Yemen's most recent protests broke out.
As we have been recording this programme, anti-government protests have again flared up in Yemen with thousands of marchers demonstrating across the country. Their target, president Ali Abdullah Saleh, has said he will step down after national elections are held in 2013.

We do not have online rights for this film, but The pied piper of jihad can be seen on this week's People & Power from Wednesday, February 23, at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2230; Thursday: 0930; Friday: 0330; Saturday: 1630; Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930.

Source: Al Jazeera