A Twitter feud between Saudi Arabia and Canada drastically escalated yesterday as an alleged arm of the Saudi government tweeted a terror threat.
The exchange began on friday when Global Affairs Canada, a branch of the Canadian Government that manages diplomatic relations, tweeted it was “gravely concerned” about a wave of arrests of feminist protestors, “including Samar Badawi” and called on Saudi authorities to “release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists”. The Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia responded with a string of tweets accusing Canada of “overt and blatant interference” and contravening “the most basic international norms and all the charters governing relations between States”.
Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists.— Foreign Policy CAN (@CanadaFP) August 3, 2018
#Statement | The Canadian position is an overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of #SaudiArabia and is in contravention of the most basic international norms and all the charters governing relations between States.— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) August 5, 2018
In response to Canada’s tweet, Saudi Arabia immediately expelled Canada’s ambassador and froze all new trade and investment in the country.
Then on monday, a verified Twitter account, @Infographic_ksa, tweeted this image:
Now deleted, here a screenshot of the threatening Saudi "infographic" featuring an airliner headed for the Toronto skyline. pic.twitter.com/LrkCLxxjFk— Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) August 6, 2018
The account claims to be a “voluntary non-profit”, but has been described as an arm of the Saudi Government according to Business Insider.
The tweet was quickly deleted, but the account then re-uploaded the same image with the plane removed. It also posted a tweet claiming it had not intended for the image to imitate 9/11; “The aircraft was intended to symbolize the return of the ambassador,” read the tweet. “We realize this was not clear and any other meaning was unintentional.” The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Media announced it had launched an investigation following a complaint and had ordered the account be shut down late on Monday.
Based on a complaint filed to the ministery of Media about a post by @Infographic_ksa, the ministry has ordered the owner of the account to shut it down until investigations are completed, according to electronic broadcasting laws in KSA. pic.twitter.com/jD2maoOyEV— وزارة الإعلام (@media_ksa) August 6, 2018
Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian government suspended all flights to Toronto and announced it would withdraw all of its more than 15,000 students studying abroad in Canada, and Saudi state-owned media outlet Al Arabiya has begun airing bizzare propaganda suggesting Canada’s human rights record isn’t up to international standards.
As Business Insider Australia reported:
In one video posted on Monday, Al Arabiya called into question the arrests of several “prisoners of conscience,” listing Ernst Zundel, a Holocaust denier who was convicted of spreading false news in the harm of public interest, and Jordan Peterson, a controversial psychology professor who has spoken out against political correctness and has never been arrested.
Canada’s foreign ministry has said it is “seriously concerned” by Saudi Arabia’s escalation of the situation.
Fifteen of the nineteen terrorist hijackers who carried out 9/11 were Saudi citizens. Despite attempts by the current prince to appease the UN including granting women the right to drive (and enter sports stadiums) for the first time, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains one of the largest exporters of terrorism and Islamic extremist ideology in the world.
Pop and Locke is a libertarian-conservative popular culture and politics blog bringing you news and opinions that cut through the mainstream mould. It was inspired by an appreciation for enlightenment philosophy and a passion for our increasingly wacky popular culture.
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