Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Did Saudi Arabia Just Threaten Another 9/11 Attack on Canada? Well, Kinda

Did Saudi Arabia Just Threaten Another 9/11 Attack on Canada? Well, Kinda

A pro-government Saudi Twitter account then provoked outrage when it posted - and then deleted - a 9/11-style digitally altered image showing a plane flying towards the Toronto skyline.

Last week, Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concerns over the arrests of seven Saudi civil society activists.

She says that's less than 10 per cent of total imports and amounts to a "drop in the bucket" compared with the United States, which accounts for two-thirds of imports and could easily cover Saudi's share thanks to growing domestic production.

But Canada has stood firm, with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland insisting it would defend human rights around the world.

Some analysts perceive the move as both a power play for the kingdom's emerging young leader and a demonstration put on for the benefit of countries with stronger ties to Saudi Arabia than Canada.

The Saudi foreign ministry ordered Canada's ambassador, Dennis Horak, to leave the country and called the use of "immediately release" in Canada's tweet "unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states".

Dozens shot across Chicago in spate of overnight violence
The youngest person wounded was an 11-year-old boy shot in the left leg on the West Side - also in the Lawndale neighborhood. People were shot while riding bicycles, attending funerals, taking part in block parties, and just standing outside.

"We are deeply concerned that Saudi Arabia has expelled Canada's ambassador in response to Canadian statements in defence of human rights activists detained in the kingdom", said Freeland in a statement.

Riyadh has also recalled its ambassador from Ottawa and has also expelled the Canadian ambassador in Saudi Arabia.

Ms Badawi's brother was arrested in 2012 for criticism of the regime, and was subjected to 50 lashings in 2015.

Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar has been granted asylum by Canada, where she is raising their three children.

Bilateral trade amounts to CAN $3-4 billion (US $2.3-3.1 billion) a year, according to Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa. Saudi Arabia long has been sensitive to worldwide pressure over the Raif Badawi sentence. "Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi".

But the damage could be more significant if a $15 billion deal agreed in 2014 for Canada to sell Riyadh light armoured vehicles is scrapped, as thousands of jobs in Canada could be lost, Juneau said.

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