Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Saudi Arabia appears to threaten Canada with 9/11-style attack

Saudi Arabia appears to threaten Canada with 9/11-style attack

Analysts say the dispute between Riyadh and Ottawa shows Saudi Arabia won't accept any outside criticism and will continue flexing its muscles overseas, especially as the kingdom enjoys a closer relationship with President Donald Trump.

"Saudi Arabia is shooting itself in the foot".

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". Saudi Arabia said it would recall its ambassador to Canada as well. Not surprisingly, Bahrain and the UAE have joined Saudi Arabia's side of the argument.

"They might want to send a signal that they simply do not want to hear this anymore", said Steinberg.

Meyer argues that Saudi students who have had their scholarships to study in Canada revoked will just move to the United States or the United Kingdom to pursue higher education, which is a loss for Canadian universities.

Also, as of Monday, all flights between Saudi Arabia and Toronto will be suspended.

Several Arab nations in the region have expressed support for their Saudi allies in the dispute with Canada.

Freeland also addressed the dispute in Vancouver.

"We have very strong trading relationships around the world", he said. "We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists".

Canadian agriculture, he said, is heavily dependent on exports.

"It shows the real colours of the regime, and the worldwide community should toughen its tone against the Saudi government", she said.

Among those reportedly still being held are Hatoon al-Fassi, a leading voice for women's participation in civil life; human rights defender Khaled al-Omair; women's rights activists Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef, Nouf Abdulaziz and Mayaa al-Zahrani; Ms Hathloul's 80-year-old lawyer, Ibrahim al-Modaimeegh; and the activist Abdulaziz Meshaal.

His case long has been raised by global human rights groups and Western diplomats, including Canadians, who have called on Saudi Arabia to free him.

His wife, Ensaf Haidar, and three children were granted Canadian citizenship earlier this summer, and live in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

Freeland tweeted about the arrests on Thursday.

She is also the sister of Raif Badawi, a jailed rights blogger who has gained global recognition.

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

Canada's decrying the arrest of two female activists in Saudi Arabia clearly rubbed that country the wrong way. But the task of approving the export permits fell to the Liberals, who were lobbied by human rights activists to say no. Women still need a male guardian's permission to travel overseas and to marry.

The president of Okanagan College said the school estimates that if its 65 new and returning students from Saudi Arabia don't attend the school next year, its revenue will decrease by $850,000. Much of that was tanks, armored personnel carriers and motor vehicles.

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