As Yemen’s political and economic crisis deepens, the United States and Britain have decided to throw their weight behind a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states currently bombing the Houthi rebel group.

The rebels, who are backed by Iran and military units loyal to the deposed dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, have taken over large parts of the country since September.

By providing warplanes and, in the case of the United States, logistical and intelligence support, both countries are playing an important, enabling role in the operation, which in recent weeks has contributed to a sharp escalation of violence in Yemen.

Why should this concern us? Well, for a start, the air campaign is killing large numbers of innocent civilians, and is greatly exacerbating a severe, pre-existing humanitarian crisis.

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