There is much at risk for Canada — Editorial

King Salman (right) and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Updated 07 August 2018
0

There is much at risk for Canada — Editorial

Canada would be well advised to consider its next steps carefully; more often than not, a rift with the Kingdom is usually hard to fix. The potential consequences of its may not only harm future investment and large-scale trade, but also carry the real risk of upsetting the entire Muslim and Arab worlds.

Within hours, leading Arab and Muslim states, organisations and individuals such as the UAE, Bahrain, the Muslim World League and the secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council  immediately sided with Riyadh in this diplomatic rift. 

It began when a Canadian government department issued a statement demanding the immediate release of all activists detained in Saudi Arabia; Riyadh responded by expelling the Canadian ambassador and recalling its own envoy for consultation.

Some might argue that this could all have easily been avoided if Saudi Arabia had simply released the activists. However, the Saudi position is clear: Riyadh will not be dictated to. The Saudi government’s position is that the arrests took place in accordance with local laws. According to the public prosecutor's office, some of the detainees have confessed to conspiring with anti-Saudi bodies abroad. They should therefore be put on trial, not released simply because Canada demands it.

Of course, the situation would have been different had it been an individual Canadian politician, an NGO or a journalist making the statement. The issue here is that we are dealing with a public statement made on behalf of Canada’s equivalent of the ministry of foreign affairs. 

Furthermore, the statement did not just raise concerns, or even object to the arrests — it demanded the detainees’ immediate release, which Saudi Arabia considers a blatant interference in its internal affairs and a breach of diplomatic etiquette.

Nevertheless, it is not too late for Canada to fix its relationship with Riyadh. Ottawa is entitled to its view, and it may very well communicate that view through the proper channels; but it should realize it is in no position to make demands of another sovereign country when the matter does not involve Canada. 

The Canadian government could issue a new statement retracting its previous demands, and say — for instance — that they reflected only the position of the official who made them. Then, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should send a delegation on the first plane and meet the Saudi leadership in the Kingdom, because the longer this issue continues the more difficult it will become to solve. Case in point: Qatar.

 

 


Saudi Arabia shoots down ballistic missile fired by Houthi terrorists

Updated 47 min 21 sec ago
0

Saudi Arabia shoots down ballistic missile fired by Houthi terrorists

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s air defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Houthi militia toward the southern city of Najran.

The attack is the latest in a series of missile launches targeting densely populated residential areas of Saudi Arabia, including Jazan and Najran, close to the border with Yemen.

Saudi-led Arab coalition’s spokesman, Col. Turki Al-Maliki, said that Saudi aerial defense forces intercepted a missile launched by the Iran-backed militia.

Al-Maliki said that the missile targeted Najran and was aimed at civilian populated areas, but the defense forces were able to intercept and destroy the projectile without any casualties.

The spokesperson added that “this hostile action by the Houthi militia proves the Iranian regime’s continued involvement in supporting the rebels with qualitative capabilities in clear and explicit defiance of UN resolution 2216 and 2231 aimed at safeguarding Saudi Arabia’s security and any regional and international threats.”