Yemen's ruler Ali Saleh is trying to use the latest US attacks on terror suspects in Yemen to prolong his stay in power. His opponents know that, and is working in not allowing it to happen.
In reality, the loss of yet another al-Qaeda leader might in fact weakened Saleh's position in the eyes of its foreign allies.
As Ameen al Himryani, an analyst and professor at the Qatar University very put it when addressing al-Jazeera news channel: "The regime is going to lose one of its scarecrows. Now if al-Qaeda is weakened in Yemen, what's he [Saleh] going to say for the West? Support me for what?
And indeed, President Saleh has been using the terror card for well over a decade now, almost blackmailing western powers into financing his efforts against al-Qaeda and supporting his regime as he claimed to be the only entity in Yemen able to will enough power to carry through America's requests in Yemen.
Those "requests" actually cost Saleh dearly as his fellow countrymen very much disapprove of Americans intrusions within Yemeni airspace as they resume their Drone campaign. Since many civilian casualties often accompanied such air strikes against alleged al-Qaeda's targets, Yemenis started to cry out, "treason".
So if Saleh eventually held his word to the West, delivering al-Qaeda's ring leader, what is left of his bargaining chips?
President Saleh has been using the terror card for well over a decade now, almost blackmailing western powers into financing his efforts against al-Qaeda and supporting his regime as he claimed to be the only entity in Yemen able to will enough power to carry through America's requests in Yemen.
The Yemen government is now seeking to intensify its fight against al-Qaeda to shift the international pressure from regime change in Yemen. It is forgetting the fact that its forces were the reason why Islamic militants in the southern Abyan province were able to control the entire province in a matter of one day.
The Saleh government evacuated more than 10,000 troops from province and left it for the extremists.
The tactic of evacuating more than 120,000 innocent civilians from the province has resulted in the damage of more than 4000 homes and death of more than 370 civilians this year in the province. All this only to trick the west that he is a strong ally against al-Qaeda and if he leaves power, the country will be taken over by them.
Leading analysts within Yemen's largest opposition, the Islah party, claim that Mr Saleh has very strong links with al-Qaeda and is willing to sacrifice a number of their leaderships to please the United States.
Ali Jaradi, an editor at Ahale newspaper and a political analyst said that Mr Saleh is expecting more US cooperation in exchange for Awlaqi and will use the US support to stop any UN plans to send his criminal file to the security council.
“It’s a game between Saleh and the United States. Both help each other while the Yemeni people continue to die and suffer,” said Jaradi.
As he is facing the worst opposition tide of his career, with millions of Yemenis nationwide demanding his immediate resignation from power, Saleh might have a hard time selling the terror threat to his American friends.
Because if the U.S has so far been siding with Saleh and his coterie, it was because its main interest lied with the current regime, a change in dynamic might very well lead the Americans to look for new partners.
As it seems, Saleh's dance over the snakes' heads might be coming to a close.
BY HAKIM ALMASMARI AND ELENA WHITE