Some have suggested that the escalation in Yemen is really a battle between Sunni Saudi Arabia and, by proxy, Shiite Iran, but Bokhari suggested that Tehran is too far away and stretched too thin to influence what's happening on the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia, in contrast, borders Yemen.
"The die is cast," Ed Walker, former assistant secretary of state and ex-ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told CNBC's "Power Lunch." "The Saudis have entered in now."
For their part, investors are watching developments in Yemen with worries that the fighting there could disrupt oil, but with even greater trepidation that it could lead to a bigger conflict.
Commodities trader Morgan Downey predicted that a war in Yemen would add $4 or $5 to the price of a barrel of oil (currently near $59). Direct Iranian involvement would push prices much higher, but that kind of escalation is unlikely.
"Yemen's not a huge exporter of oil, but it's just strategically located in terms of shipping, and it's obviously significant in that," Spallanzani said.
Yemen sits on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, with its most southern tip forming one side of the Bab el-Mandeb strait connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. About 3.8 million barrels of oil per day passed through the strategic chokepoint in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
At its narrowest point, the strait is only 18 miles wide, according to the EIA.
"Control of that area is important to the region and the world," Beth Grill, a Middle East analyst for the Rand Corp., told CNBC when Yemen fighting began escalating in January.
Some traders may be worried about the strait, but the United States has already committed itself to keeping the route unobstructed.