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article imageCanada — Saudi Arabia diplomatic spat turns very ugly

By Karen Graham     Aug 6, 2018 in Politics
Saudi Arabian state media tweeted a disturbing infographic of an Air Canada airliner heading toward the Toronto skyline with the warning: "Sticking one's nose where it doesn't belong!" The message was clearly a reference to the 9/11 attacks.
The tweet with the infographic came about after Global Affairs Canada tweeted that it was "gravely concerned" about a new wave of arrests in the Kingdom targeting women's rights activists and urged their "immediate release," reports Business Insider today. The tweet has since been taken down.
As most of us recall, Saudi Arabian citizens comprised 15 of the 19 hijackers that crashed planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11. The organizer of the attack, Osama Bin Laden, was a Saudi, and his family still resides in Saudi Arabia, including a son who still seeks revenge against the U.S. over the death of his father.
Just a short time before the tweet threatening Canada, another tweet, from @Infographic_ksa tweeted another infographic titled "Death to the dictator" featuring an image of the supreme leader of Iran, Saudi's main regional rival.
A number of Gulf states have jumped on Saudi Arabia's bandwagon, supporting the Saudi expulsion of Canada's Ambassador Dennis Horak. The Kingdom of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and the Palestinian Authority have all released statements backing the expulsion.
In a statement, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused Canada of making “false” statements and interfering with Saudi internal affairs and said ambassador Dennis Horak was no longer welcome in the country. It added that the Saudi ambassador to Ottawa was summoned back to the kingdom for consultations.
The Saudis will also freeze all new investments and trade with Canada. The Saudis made the announcement in the early hours of Monday morning, giving Ambassador Horak 24-hours to leave the country.
Ensaf Haidar  the wife of jailed Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi  holds a vigil in Canada's Montreal ...
Ensaf Haidar, the wife of jailed Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi, holds a vigil in Canada's Montreal in January 2015, urging Saudi Arabia to free her husband, days after he received 50 lashes for "insulting Islam"
Clement Sabourin, AFP
CTV News Canada notes that the dispute between Riyadh and Ottawa shows that Saudi Arabia is flexing its muscles, now that it is such close friends with President Trump.
"This message is obviously not just being sent to Ottawa," said Giorgio Cafiero, the CEO of Gulf State Analytics, a Washington-based risk consultancy. "It's a message to countries across Europe and across the rest of the world that criticism of Saudi Arabia . has consequences."
Actually, Germany has also been on the receiving end of Saudi criticism, much like Canada. But it appears this won't be the end. Saudi Arabia is taking key lessons from Trump's playbook on how to threaten the rest of the world to get what they want.
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