IT ALL began with a single tweet.
Final Friday, Canada mentioned it was “gravely involved” by the arrest of girls’s rights campaigners in Saudi Arabia, together with award-winning activist Samar Badawi.
Since then, relations between the 2 international locations have solely plunged additional and additional.
First, the Center Jap large expelled the Canadian ambassador from Riyadh and recalled his Saudi counterpart in Ottawa.
Then it suspended all Saudi state airline flights to Toronto, ended 1000’s of scholarship applications for Saudi college students in Canada, and froze “all new enterprise” with Ottawa.
Now, Saudi authorities have introduced they’ll halt all medical therapies in Canada, and switch Saudi sufferers to hospitals exterior the nation.
They’ve additionally moved to withdraw 800 Saudi medical college students working across the nation.
It’s yet one more warning to the West reflecting Riyadh’s newly assertive international coverage.
Requested if the Canadian authorities would contemplate apologising, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau advised journalists: “Canadians have at all times anticipated our authorities to talk strongly, firmly, clearly and politely about the necessity to respect human rights at dwelling and all over the world. We are going to proceed to try this.”
In the meantime in Riyadh, Saudi Arabian Overseas Minister Adel al-Jubeir advised reporters Canada wanted to “repair its massive mistake”.
“There may be nothing to mediate. A mistake has been made and a mistake ought to be corrected,” he mentioned. “The ball is in Canada’s courtroom.”
He additionally famous the dominion was contemplating taking “further measures” in opposition to Canada, with out going into element.
CANADA THREATENED IN 9/11-STYLE TWEET
Earlier within the week, a now-deleted tweet from a Saudi Arabian non-profit group was accused of supporting a 9/11-style assault on Canada.
“Sticking one’s nostril the place it doesn’t belong! Because the Arabic saying goes: He who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him,” the tweet mentioned.
It then confirmed a airplane flying in direction of the Toronto skyscrapers, which drew comparisons on social media to the September 11 assaults in New York, the place 15 of the attackers have been Saudi residents.
The tweet was shortly deleted, however now the Saudi authorities has gotten concerned.
In a tweet from the Saudi media account it states: “Based mostly on a criticism filed to the Ministry of Media a few publish by @Infographic_ksa, the ministry has ordered the proprietor of the account to close it down till investigations are accomplished, in accordance with digital broadcasting legal guidelines in KSA.”
And Fatimah Baeshen, the spokeswoman for the Saudi embassy within the US mentioned she was “horrified”.
“Completely unacceptable, whatever the intent. Glad these youngsters apologised and clarified what they meant,” she tweeted.
The Twitter account behind the unique tweet mentioned the picture was meant to symbolise the Canadian ambassador flying again to Canada.
WHAT’S SAUDI ARABIA PLAYING AT?
Analysts say Saudi Arabia is utilizing Canada to ship a message to the world: don’t criticise our kingdom or our human rights document.
It displays Riyadh’s newly assertive international coverage below Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud.
“It’s fairly clear that he’s utilizing Canada to ship a message to the remainder of the world that if you wish to commerce with Saudi Arabia, then you must shut up on human rights,” Nader Hashemi, director of the College of Denver’s Middle for Center East Research on the Josef Korbel College of Worldwide Research, advised Al Jazeera.
He mentioned the prince is “drunk on energy”, “smug” and “believes that he has Donald Trump in his again pocket and may do no matter he desires”.
The USA, which has sturdy ties with each Saudi Arabia and Canada, has taken a impartial stance within the feud.
“Either side must diplomatically resolve this collectively,” State Division spokeswoman Heather Nauert advised reporters. “We are able to’t do it for them. They should resolve it collectively.”
President Donald Trump has been reluctant to criticise Saudi Arabia for its human rights document, and escapes centered criticism from the State Division.
— With wires
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