My thinking exactly but lets let an anonymous Yemeni analyst comment:
There are credible reports coming out from Yemen saying that Saleh decided unilaterally to temporarily abandon his interests with the US in the war on terror for the sake of crushing a possible revolution in the south using Al-Qaeda as recruits. This is no joke as it was successful in Saadah. It is the same scenario used in 1994 before Al-Qaeda was much of a concern. I wonder how this would play in the hands of the US and others. This also explains the massive growing anti-separatist religious sermons and even fatwas popping up in northern states (such as the one said on the Eid by Al-Shaibani, who literally encouraged the slaughter of those who seek to disobey the leader and secession the country).
What Saleh has done, IMO, is calculate his risk/reward ratio and realized that trouble to his throne at home is much more of a credible threats than a few blasting comments from the US, which he feels is still in need for him in the long run.
We have been watching the protests growing in the South since May. And we all recall the northern war in Sa’ada against the Shiite rebels, during which the regime used terrorists to train and indoctrinate Salafia tribesmen, as well as to fight the rebels. The tactics used by the Afghan Arabs in the 1994 civil war included a lot of assassinations. However, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if al-Badawi directed one of these nineteen year old suicide bombers to blow himself up in the middle of a crowd of protesters. And then Saleh would cry that he needs more money from the US to fight terror.
Meanwhile, my good friend, the quite heroic and courageous editor Abdualkarim al-Khaiwani is on trial this week on entirely bogus terrorism charges.
Democracy advocate on trial for terrorism; terrorist home receiving well wishers: this is Yemen in a nutshell.