Saudi Arabia crossed a line in its diplomatic war with Canada when its state media tweeted a graphic depicting an Air Canada plane flying towards the CN Tower.
The graphic, which seemed to resemble the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon in New York on 9/11, accused Canada of "Sticking one's nose where it doesn't belong" and also displayed a disturbing threat that was clearly included to incite fear among Canadian officials:
"As the Arabic saying goes: 'He who interferes with what doesn't concern him finds what doesn't please him.'"
Tensions between the two countries arose when Global Affairs Canada tweeted its concerns regarding the recent arrests of women's rights activitists in the kingdom, who had been protesting against the nation's longstanding ban on driving for women. The tweet called for Saudi authorities to immediately release the imprisoned in defense of their human rights and freedoms.
Saudi Arabia did not appreciate the criticism and responded with a slew of abrupt measures, including expelling Canada's ambassador, stopping all new trade deals with Ottawa and calling all Saudi Arabian students enrolled in Canadian universities to withdraw.
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)
While the tweet and the account which it came from (@infographic_ksa) was shortly deleted afterwards, the gesture continues to worry Canadians across the country. Business Insider notes that Saudi Arabia has direct ties to the 9/11 attacks, with 15 of the 19 hijackers involved having been Saudi citizens. Osama bin Laden, the orchestrator behind the attacks, also came from a prominent Saudi family and still has relatives living there.
For many years, Saudi Arabia has been accused of funding radical Muslim Imams and endorsing Wahhabism, a terrorist ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). While the nation has adopted new reforms to reduce such activities under the leadership of new ruler Mohammad bin Salman, Canada's tweet could have seen as a discredit to Saudi Arabia's efforts to make conditions in the kingdom better.
@Infographic_ksa referred to itself as a "voluntary non-profit project" and has been referred to as an official media outlet of the Saudi government.
Source: Business Insider South Africa