Just days before the failed Christmas Day bomb attack on the US, al Qaeda supporters rallied openly in the state of Yemen.
For Washington and London it was yet another sign that Yemen was fast becoming an al Qaeda haven.
Now the US and the UK are stepping up a joint operation to help the Yemeni government tackling the growing danger.
Independent US Senator Joseph Lieberman, explained: “We’ve picked up the pace of our operations in support of the Yemeni government against the terrorists in Yemen and we’ve got to do that or Yemen will become the next Iraq and Afghanistan and we don’t want that to happen.”
The US military chief in the region, General David Petraeus has been in Sanaa for talks with President Ali Abdallah Saleh.
And Yemen will receive more cash from the US to fight terrorism than any other country this year.
But with Somalia offering to export Islamic militants across the Gulf of Aden, analysts say Yemen needs all the help it can get.
“The government is fighting a civil war in the North on the border with Saudi Arabia, and also confronts the separatist challenge in the South,” says Ginny Hill from Britain’s Royal Institute of Foreign Affairs. “So, the authority of the State is under the great strain, and the risk is,as that scenario unfolds, terrorists potentially will gain a greater foothold inside Yemen.”
The UK and the US shut their embassies in Sanaa on Sunday after the US said it had intelligence al Qaeda was planning an attack.
Washington says both the Christmas Day bomb suspect and the Fort Hood massacre suspect have links to a radical US cleric of Yemeni origin.