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Saudi elites divided on Yemen war

A brief survey of Saudi opinion reveals that many elites consider Operation Decisive Storm a legitimate attempt to halt Iranian expansionism, while some view the intervention in Yemen as a sectarian war.
Saudi students prepare to fly a home-made replica of a jet fighter on April 8, 2015 in Tabuk. The plane was nicknamed "Decisive plane" as a sign of support to Saudi-led coalitions Operation Decisive Storm against the Huthi rebels in Yemen. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ALBUHAISI

        (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ALBUHAISI/AFP/Getty Images)

Many factors make it difficult to assess Saudi public opinion on Operation Decisive Storm, the military operation in Yemen launched March 25. There are no professional polling organizations, and regardless, people sometimes shy away from expressing an opinion that goes against the prevailing outlook.

When it comes to elite opinions, other problems emerge due to the nature of the regime, which bans public political activity. There are no official political parties, movements or organizations in the kingdom. As a result, ideological currents form in a covert manner. There are no organized political assemblies. One way to gauge public thinking, however, is by reading the opinions of influential figures in the leading currents.

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