The conflict in Yemen is as deadly as it was before; it just seems to have slipped from the attention of mainstream media, which is focused on even deadlier conflicts in the vicinity. In a horrific attack even by the conflicts’ high standards, suicide bombers attacked the Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques used by Houthi Shias in Sanaa during the rush for Friday prayers, killing 137 people and injuring 345 others. The fact remains that Yemen is on the brink of a civil war unless the concerned parties can step down from their hard-line stances and find common ground.

The attack has been claimed by the Islamic State militants, but authorities feel that this may just be a propaganda tactic. Regardless, it matters little who is the actual perpetrator of the attack, the Houthis have made a host of political enemies since it has taken over Sanaa, adding to its existing ones. Their long-standing conflict with the Yemeni chapter of Al-Qaeda is also a possible suspect. The bombing only reinforces the fact that Yemen is becoming increasingly divided and a negotiated solution is a long way from being achieved. Yemen resembles Libya more than Afghanistan or Pakistan, where a popular government is battling militants. The Houthis control the north and the capital, while the deposed president Al-Hadi still maintains that he is the rightful ruler, and has declared the city of Aden the de facto capital; numerous small groups control separate parts of the country. The country is only a spark away from an all out civil war, and incidents like this bombing may well be one.

Iran and Saudi Arabia’s proxy conflicts have gone too far, and the responsibility to bring Yemen back from the brink lies with them, especially Saudi Arabia, who is in the immediate vicinity and can utilise it’s influence to bring parties to the table. The Houthis may have been a rebel group that now controls the capital, but the fact remains that they are the only real avenue of political change in a dysfunctional Yemen for the past 30 years. Instead of stubbornly sticking to labels and lofty principles, the stakeholders must demonstrate a measure of pragmatism.