Home Canada Saudi Arabia expels Canadian Ambassador and halted trade with immediate effect

Saudi Arabia expels Canadian Ambassador and halted trade with immediate effect


News Analysis | 

Saudi Arabia has declared Canadian ambassador as persona non grata, giving him 24 hours to leave the country. The move came as a result of the tweet from Canadian embassy’s Twitter handle which urged the release of civil right activists detained after a crackdown on dissident journalists, clerics, and activists. Saudi Foreign Ministry, in a series of tweets, deemed it as an interference into the internal matters of the Kingdom and said that the country has zero tolerance for such discourse.

“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,” the tweet said. Saudi Arabia has also called back its ambassador to Canada.

Germany was targeted when its officials pointed out the atrocities committed by Saudi led coalition’s bombing in Yemen. There is a very thin and blur line between the internal affairs of a country and violation of human rights.

The ministry added that Saudi Arabia is recalling its ambassador to Canada in a dispute that appears to be over a tweet on Friday from Global Affairs Canada. “Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists,” the Canadian tweet said.

Canada is especially concerned about the women right activist Samar Badawi who is among the people detained for acting against the state policies. Ms. Badawi is the sister of Raif Badawi, an unorthodox blogger who was arrested in 2012 on the charges of “Insulting Islam through electronic channels” and was sentenced to 10 years in Jail and 1000 lashes. His wife has recently been granted the citizenship of Canada. The detained Samar Badawi, who along with other women activists want more freedom and rights for Saudi woman, received her International Women of Courage Award from, then, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012.

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Saudi Arabia imports heavy weaponry from Canada which includes Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles. The trade between the two countries is estimated to be around $4 billion. Saudi Arabia said it was also freezing all new trade and investment transactions with Canada and “reserves its right to take further action.” Saudi Arabia is one of Canada’s largest export markets in the region, and some 10 percent of Canadian crude oil imports come from Saudi Arabia.

The magnitude of the impact is not clear yet as how much of the trade between the two countries will be affected resultantly. Under the direction of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has re-navigated its course moving away from fundamentalism and to toward modernization. Recently Saudi Arabia allowed the woman to drive in public, making it the last country in the world to do so.

Saudi Arabia has declared Canadian ambassador as persona non grata, giving him 24 hours to leave the country. The move came as a result of the tweet from Canadian embassy’s Twitter handle which urged the release of civil right activists detained after a crackdown on dissident journalists, clerics, and activists.

Though the Kingdom is gradually moving toward comparatively more liberal social set up, it seems that the pace will be decided by the Crown Prince himself. The activists were detained days before the driving band was lifted. It is not the first time a country has to face retaliation for criticizing Saudi Arabia over its way of dealing with the affairs.

Recently, Germany was targeted when its officials pointed out the atrocities committed by Saudi led coalition’s bombing in Yemen. There is a very thin and blur line between the internal affairs of a country and violation of human rights. Countries all over the world get to face opposite the way they deal with the internal opposition to the state policies. But the response is confined to verbal statements in most of the cases.

Read more: Saudi Arabia recalls ambassador from Germany over Lebanon comments

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman apparently has different plans probably to show how seriously Saudi Arabia wants the world not to comment on the ways it adapts to deal with its internal problems. Since today’s integrated economies have put too much at stake for every nation, the decision to abort the trade could be a message to other western countries not to touch these sensitive cords.

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