According to new polls, people in Arab states are now showing more support for the Axis of Resistance groups including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Yemen’s Ansarullah, a trend that Arab rulers are afraid of the most.
According to the results of a number of newly-carried out polls, the popularity of West Asia’s Resistance Axis including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Yemen’s Ansarullah, is growing among Persian Gulf nations, even higher than the levels seen following the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel. At the same time, Israel is getting more and more infamous in the eyes of Arab people.
Pro-Israel think tank, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), for example, carried out a poll in Saudi Arabia between 14 November and 6 December 2023. The results of the poll suggested that 96 percent of the kingdom’s citizens agree that “Arab countries should immediately break all diplomatic, political, economic, and any other contacts with Israel, in protest against its military action in Gaza.”
A new opinion poll, carried out last month by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, also echoed the same results. The poll, which collected data from 8,000 Arab respondents from 16 countries, aimed to determine how Arab populations perceived the Israel-Hamas war.
As the poll revealed, nearly 70 percent of respondents perceived Hamas’s October 7 attack as “a legitimate resistance operation.” Around 20 percent answered that the attack was legitimate but “flawed,” 3% said it was legitimate but “involved heinous or criminal acts” and only 5% called the attack “illegitimate.”
This is an alarming piece of news and a wake-up call for Arab rulers simply because for years, they have regarded non-state actors within West Asia’s Axis of Resistance as a grave threat to their thrones.
In other words, Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain, are ruled by counter-revolutionary leaders who perceive groups such as Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Yemen’s Ansarullah as entities that can challenge the regional status quo and threaten their wealthy kingdoms.
But the new poll also revealed that one of the main reasons why Arab rulers have supported Palestine in the Gaza war is that they fear the resistance groups involved in the war gain more public support and more power that can plunge the region into wider conflicts and finally threaten peace and calm in Arab societies, turning them against their rulers.
The recent development has also narrowed down the space for Arab rulers to join the Abraham Accords and normalize their ties with Israel, not to mention the increasing pressure that the war has put on the shoulder of those Arab leaders who already accepted having relation with Tel Aviv.
Washington and Tel Aviv, two evils in the eyes of Arab nations
At the same time as the anti-Israeli sentiment is growing among Arab nations, the United States is also increasingly getting infamous in the eyes of Arab people. To read between the lies, results of new polls in this regard suggest that the anti-US sentiment in the Arab world is increasing to the highest levels since the US invasion of Iraq back in 2003.
This is mostly due to the blind support for Israel that the US has shown under the Biden administration, especially since the war between Israel and Hamas erupted on October 7.
Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, recently wrote in an article published in the Responsible Statecraft that “[US President Joe] Biden’s support for Israel’s war against the Palestinians has inflamed anti-American and anti-Western feelings across the entire Arab world. It has breathed new life into the resistance front.”