The Saudi Arabia¬–led bombing campaign in Yemen is off to a dreadful start, at least when it comes to the civilian toll. During the first week of military operations against Houthi fighters, the Arab coalition’s warplanes struck heavily populated areas in the capital, Sanaa, and other civilian centers. Dozens of civilians, including children, died in the strikes.
The present global turmoil has intensified the debate over whether pursuing justice in fragile and transitional countries leads to instability. Yet Yemen has been brought to the brink of collapse at least in part by a failure to pay heed to demands for justice. Yemen's political class, with the tacit support of the main regional actors, may have helped bring about the country's instability, chaos and escalating violence.
Yemen’s post-“Arab spring” transition took a sharp new turn on Monday, when the Houthis—a once marginalized Zaidi Shia insurgency group from northern Yemen that prefers to be called Ansar Allah—staged an apparently successful coup after months of careful groundwork. Its fighters surrounded the presidential palace without major bloodshed and, after forging alliances to ensure that the military would not come to his aid, forced President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to leave the compound.