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

Saudi Press Agency

Canada plans to seek help from United Arab Emirates and Britain to defuse an escalating diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia, sources said on Tuesday, as traders revealed the Arab state would no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley.

The office of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland did not respond to requests for comment.

Saudi Arabia's diplomatic spat with Canada prompted a tweet that touched a raw nerve in the kingdom: a photomontage of an Air Canada plane heading toward the iconic CN Tower in Toronto.

"Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women's rights and freedom of expression around the world".

Dan McTeague, a senior analyst at the fuel price tracking website GasBuddy, said any such disruption could easily be offset by alternative supply, as Saudi Arabia's oil continues to represent an increasingly small portion of Canada's crude imports.

"Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada, means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada's internal affairs, " the Saudi government said.

Bilateral trade amounts to CAN $3-4 billion (US $2.3-3.1 billion) a year, according to Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa.

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Amnesty International has said Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, was recently detained along with Nassima al-Sada, another prominent female activist.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland hold a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018.

Freeland would only tell reporters Monday that the Canadian ambassador is "fine" and would not disclose his location. Matt Pascuzzo said the Canadian government is in constant contact with Saudi Arabia and still waiting to get all the facts from the Saudis.

There could be a sentiment among allies that, "Finally the Trudeau government is getting poked back in the eye by the Saudis".

The Twitter account belonging to infographic_KSA, who describe themselves as "a voluntary non-profit project managed by a group of Saudi youth who are interested in technology and social media", but widely seen as a pro- Saudi government, initially posted the threatening photo with the words: "Sticking one's nose where it doesn't belong!" Saudi Arabia's media ministry said it was investigating the incident.

An apology was quickly issued and the Twitter account was shut down later in the day.

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