All eyes at the moment are glued to the news about the aerial attacks by a coalition of Saudi, GCC and Jordanian planes (with more to come it seems) on Huthi and military targets in Yemen. This is not a scenario I want to see; this is not a commentary I want to write. Yemen is imploding, the victim of long standing foreign involvement, local rivalries fueled by the insecurity with the removal of Ali Abdullah Salih and, in large part, the insatiable drive of Salih and his supporters to regain power. The Arab Spring removal of Salih was relatively peaceful, at least in terms of a military standoff and an explosion that could easily have ended Salih’s life but for the grace of the Saudis to put him back together. Guns abound in Yemen, as everyone knows, but the kind of hate-fueled warfare that has engulfed Iraq and Syria had not erupted. There was a national dialogue that most, but not all, groups participated in. There was a glimmer of hope.

This morning that glimmer seemed much dimmer, following on the rapid turn of events since the Huthi takeover of Sanaa and the recent escape of President Hadi to Aden. Yemen’s fragmented military is no match for the Saudi coalition arsenal directed by American intelligence. A bunch of gabilis in pick-up trucks may look tough on first glance, but they might as well be riding chariots. Reports suggest Saudi Arabia has assembled a force of some 150,000 at their border, with fears that a local RISK game will break out after the bombing has nullified the capacity of the Huthis to resist any advance.

Hope has given way to hate, a new kind of hate for Yemen, a hate that would have the great Yemeni scholar al-Shawkani rolling over in his grave. The characters in this conflict are hardly strangers to the current media frenzy of Iranophobia and Sunni vs. Shi’a bating. Salafis consider the Zaydi Huthis less Islamic; Husayn al-Huthi imports Iranian hatred of America into his Zaydi enclave and is killed by Salih; Salih manipulates everyone inside and outside Yemen, especially the gullible Americans with their drone-happy mentality; al-Qaida is opportunistic as it waits for the fallout; the southern Hirak reminds everyone of how they were raped by Salih just two decades ago; the Hadramawt goes its own way. Implosion: a combination of factors so unpredictable and strange bedfellowing that Yemen is now plunged into a cycle of seemingly unstoppable violence,

One thing is clear to me. There is no easy sway to pick a side. No one is pure here; no group is totally evil. We are entering a stage of polarized feuding, not the old tribal kind that was invariably mediated, but a new puppet-string variety where Yemen’s future is being dictated by its neighbors and imported ideologies. To a certain extent it already has been manipulated behind the scenes, but now it is out in plain, CNN-reportable sight. A second thing is less clear, yet I still believe Yemen can avoid the bitter us vs. them that has enflamed both Iraq and Syria. Zaydi and Shafi’i have coexisted in Yemen for centuries. Fault lines were political, often with shifting tribal alliances, but not along the current takfir interference. The Huthis are a political group, not the heirs of theologian al-Shawkani or Imam Ahmad. The Shafi’i presence predates and will hopefully postdate the influence of the imported varieties of Islam: Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida.

It is too late to ask who is fault. There is simply too much blame everywhere. Regional politics will not allow Yemen to steer its own course, whatever that may be. Saudi money has kept Yemen afloat for decades and now its military will finish the job. Iran has no foothold here beyond a propaganda game. The Zaydis have never been natural allies of Iranian shi’a or Hizbullah and this turn to Tehran has become the Achilles Heel of the Huthi movement. The Huthis will lose and I suspect that this will be relatively soon. As a loose coalition dependent on Salih’s support and money, it is too fragmented to govern, no matter what the good intentions of some of its leaders. Most of its tribal supporters will shift alliance as they have so many times in the past.

I do not know what Yemen will look like next week. For sure there will be more deaths, more destruction, more reasons to think hateful thoughts. The beleaguered Yemeni military will be reduced to rubble. An economy already dashed on the rocks will sink even lower. And Yemenis on all sides will weep and mourn. Nor do I know what Yemen will look like next year or in five years. I am tired of thinking it cannot get worse, since it has been getting worse and worse. Yemen is imploding but I do not think, and I surely hope, that it will not explode.