Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

What's driving Saudi Arabia's rapidly escalating feud with Canada?

What's driving Saudi Arabia's rapidly escalating feud with Canada?

"This particular case regarding Canada - we have raised that with the government of Saudi Arabia".

Canada last week said it was "gravely concerned" over a new wave of arrests, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi, pictured left.

Ms Badawi was given the US International Women of Courage Award in 2012 and is known for challenging Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system.

Before shutting down, the site posted: "Earlier we posted an image which was inappropriate, which is why we deleted the post immediately".

"We've been saying that without a serious human rights evaluation, we should not be transferring any military aid, any arms to Saudi Arabia", Paul said.

Freeland said Monday in Vancouver that there was "nothing new or novel" about Canada's long-standing position on human rights around the world, and that Ottawa is awaiting more details from the kingdom before responding further.

The kingdom's first response was to call the wording of the tweet (immediate release) "very unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable".

Saudi Arabia gave Canada's ambassador in Riyadh, Dennis Horak, 24 hours on Monday to leave the country, declaring him persona non grata.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland hold a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018. Furthermore, all flights to and from Toronto would be suspended starting August 13, according to state airline, Saudia Airlines.

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"Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada, means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada's internal affairs, " the Saudi government said.

Canada doubled down on Monday.

"Canada will continue to advocate for human rights and for the fearless women and men who push for these fundamental rights around the world", she said in a statement. Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia totalled about $1.12 billion in 2017, or 0.2 percent of the total value of Canadian exports.

Amnesty International has said Badawi's sister was recently detained along with Nassima al-Sada, another prominent female activist.

In 2014, the Canadian unit of United States weapons maker General Dynamics Corp won a contract worth up to $13 billion to build light-armoured vehicles for Saudi Arabia, in what Ottawa said was the largest advanced manufacturing export win in Canadian history.

But the 32-year-old has simultaneously pursued a combative foreign policy - including leading a blockade of neighbouring Qatar and a bombing campaign against Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen - while cracking down on dissent at home.

Canadian officials say they'll also seek help from the United Arab Emirates, who will nearly certainly take the side of Saudi Arabia.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Beirut says the surprise expulsion of the Canadian ambassador highlights the increasingly aggressive - and at times erratic - foreign policy being pursued by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

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