Despite execution of Shia leader, most Arab states still support Saudi Arabia

It's not just predominantly Sunni population countries who support KSA.

 |  2-minute read |   08-01-2016
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The recent announcement by Saudi Arabia's interior minister executing 47 "terrorists" including Shia religious leader Nimr-al-Nimr and a convicted al-Qaeda leader Faris al-Zahrani caused an uproar around the world. In the wake of brutal killing of Shia cleric, Iranian protesters ransacked the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Tehran on January 2. Protesters stormed into the embassy and set fire to its premises. Nimr al-Nimr was always seen as an outspoken critic against of the Saudi monarchy and was identified as a crucial leader among Shia population during Arab Spring uprisings. And now, after his execution, the animosity between the Iran and Saudi Arabia is at its peak. It's more like Shia allies versus Saudi Arabia and its Sunni brethren.

Wide variation in favorability of Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle East

But according to a latest report by Pew Research Center, majority of middle east countries still favour Saudi Arabia. In Jordan, a predominantly Sunni nation, 78 per cent of its population show favourable view towards Saudi Arabia whereas only eight per cent shows a positive inclination towards Iran. Lebabon with mix of Shia-Sunni-Christian population, 48 per cent show favourable view to Saudi Arabia whereas 41 per cent supports Iran. The land of largest Jewish population in the world, Israel has 14 per cent of its population who show favourable view towards Saudi Arabia whereas only five per cent who have positive opinion about Iran.

Lebanese split along religious lines on views of Saudi Arabia and Iran

On splitting different religious groups in Lebanon, 82 per cent of Sunni Population came in favour of Saudi Arabia with only five per cent against it. 54 per cent Christians have positive opinion about Saudi whereas 95 per cent of Lebanon's Shia population have negative opinion about Saudi Arabia. In Israel, the Arab population is about as positive toward Saudi Arabia (37 per cent favorable) as it is Iran (34 per cent), despite the fact that the Israeli Muslim population is predominantly Sunni. However, Jews in Israel have a little regard for Iran in comparison to Saudi Arabia.

Writer

Shadab Nazmi Shadab Nazmi @shadabnazmi

Senior sub-editor (Digital) at India Today, data miner.

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