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Canada and the Saudis

Canada just got a taste of what the real world is like outside its bubble.

From Reuters:

Saudi Arabia freezes new trade with Canada for urging activists' release

Excerpt:

Quote

Saudi Arabia froze new trade and investment with Canada and expelled the Canadian ambassador, in a stern gesture of retaliation after Ottawa urged it to free arrested civil society activists.

The sudden sharp response to criticism shows the limits of reforms by Saudi Arabia's 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who runs its day-to-day government. He has launched a campaign of social and economic change, but has not eased the absolute monarchy's total ban on political activism.

In recent months Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on women driving, but it has also arrested activists, including more than a dozen high profile campaigners for women's rights.

Riyadh recalled its own ambassador from Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave, a Saudi foreign ministry statement said late on Sunday. It retained "its rights to take further action", it added.

The announcement, carried on the official Saudi Press Agency caught diplomats in Riyadh off guard.

This is what happens when you treat a tiger like a pussy cat and want to spank it for messing on the carpet.

A classic case of evaluating without correctly identifying first...

Canadians treated Saudis like Canadians and now wonder what the hell happened.

Michael

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Something something progressive leftist something. Saudi sure showed them Canadians who's boss!

It is not the first time Saudi Arabia has been stung by Western nations ...

 

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56 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

Saudi sure showed them Canadians who's boss!

William,

Dayaamm!

Words of wisdom for a change...

:evil:  :) 

But, nah... Not anything about a boss. That's the progressive dream. This is about perception, not power.

Let he help you.

Saudi sure showed them Canadians the difference between reality and a bubble!

There...

That's better.

:) 

Michael

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Standing by one's allies, as one does. The US-based replies to this are LIT, as the kids say ...

Endless war in Yemen notwithstanding.

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Only in Canada.

They have just as many genders up there as Baskin Robbins has flavors of ice cream (31). Then they go to the country that seats the sacred spaces of Islam (Mecca and Medina), and they do community organizing and activism about how men should treat women.

They want to finger wag in the noses of government officials about sex in a place where the government chops off heads and thrashes dissidents senseless when condemned.

What could possibly go wrong?

Come on, Canada. You can't be that clueless...

This is actually funny.

Saudi Arabia is throwing out the Canadian diplomats to protect them, not to punish them. Saudi Arabia wants them gone so they don't have to kill the Canadians or chop of a hand or foot or something and start an international incident.

:) 

Michael

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31 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

Standing by one's allies, as one does. The US-based replies to this are LIT, as the kids say ...

Endless war in Yemen notwithstanding.

Yes, those Saudis and their money sure showed America  a great sumptuous welcome to Trump, nearly as stunning a show as they pulled off on 9/11, with TV ratings through the roof! Now they have shown our obscure ambassador the door.

To reach wildly from the old Henry Clay quote, "I'd rather be right than president", perhaps our diplomats reflect that we would rather prefer the door, if it leads somewhere back to democracy.

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The original awful tweet:

 

5 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

This is actually funny.

A lot of people are saying that.

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10 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Only in Canada.

They have just as many genders up there as Baskin Robbins has flavors of ice cream (31). Then they go to the country that seats the sacred spaces of Islam (Mecca and Medina), and they do community organizing and activism about how men should treat women.

They want to finger wag in the noses of government officials about sex in a place where the government chops off heads and thrashes dissidents senseless when condemned.

What could possibly go wrong?

Come on, Canada. You can't be that clueless...

This is actually funny.

Saudi Arabia is throwing out the Canadian diplomats to protect them, not to punish them. Saudi Arabia wants them gone so they don't have to kill the Canadians or chop of a hand or foot or something and start an international incident.

:) 

Michael

Gosh, I had no idea the Saudi regime was so thoughtful and caring! Saving our extremities from being cut off and all.

Thanks for the 411! It might seem funny to you, but we are pretty protective of our extremities up here.

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7 hours ago, caroljane said:

It might seem funny to you, but we are pretty protective of our extremities up here.

Carol,

I used to think that.

But after watching you guys try to browbeat rich and powerful religious butchers about gender issues they believe come from Satan, I don't see any evidence of it.

May I suggest a dictionary when you use words like "protective"?

:) 

At least you are fuming from within your own country. They won't legally chop you up in Canada. I doubt you will ever see the wisdom of strong borders, but for now those borders are keeping you safe. You may not feel grateful and "protective" of them, but I do.

You see, all this may seem like a game of oneupmanship to you, a game of who can come up with the best put-down, but in the country of Saudi Arabia, once those knives come out, put-downs are irrelevant. What are you going to do with your put-downs as they start chopping on you?

This is not a game. This is reality.

8 hours ago, caroljane said:

... perhaps our diplomats reflect that we would rather prefer the door, if it leads somewhere back to democracy.

I'm glad they were able to get to the door in the first place. It could have worked out differently.

I try to be sympathetic, but then I remember your elites have had no issues about "preferring democracy" when they shoveled all that money into their accounts from the butchers. As you were "trading partners" with people who literally butchered their own citizens and others, I can't help but notice that your concern with democracy seems a bit selective. So long as the money was flowing, who the hell cared about democracy and all those victims? They aren't you or yours. But once a threat to you emerged, suddenly it's time to spout off about the moral high ground with words like democracy.

That kind of blindness makes it hard for people who see...

What I laugh about is not the threat to you guys. Like I said, borders and all... I laugh about the fact that you were trading with butchers and fooling yourselves into believing their butchery did not exist. You closed your eyes to their butchery. Instead, you self-righteously believed your trade and innate awesomeness gave you a moral sanction to blather on to them about social justice issues and finger-wagged at them about sex and feminism. That takes international stupid to a level I have rarely seen in my lifetime. 

President Trump knows they are butchers and doesn't stop Americans from trading with them. Socially and morally, he is working it to make them gradually give up their butchery and more backward customs. For example, under his relationship with them, women can now drive. Why didn't Obama or your diplomats do that? The man you despise is making it happen. Why him and not them? Think about it. 

The reality--a word you guys don't use much except rhetorically--is that change is a long process with cultures like Islam. President Trump doesn't think he can turn that off instantly with a remote control button button--like you guys apparently do--so he can finger-wag at them about issues they despise as evil. He has too much respect for money and reality to do that. But he can make deals and put ever-increasing small changes on the table. That works with the Arab mind.

In other words, President Trump prefers to effect change--in reality--according to the laws of reality rather than make silly put-downs and demands to butchers so he can feel sanctimonious (like some people do).

Wanna bet something? Here's what I bet. And it's another reality thing, not a put-down thing. After the Canadian elites, the ones who are going to lose a shitload of money, actually lose a shitload of money, the Canadian government will forget it's concern about high concepts like morality, sell out with a smile and a platitude, then do its goddam best to see if it can set up shoveling that money again. And, as before, butchery no object.

Michael

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7 hours ago, william.scherk said:

 

8 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

This is actually funny.

A lot of people are saying that.

William,

I bet not many Canadians are.

Getting smacked across the face by reality when you want to deny reality exists is a bitch.

Reality is a merciless professor.

I wonder if this affair will be a "teachable moment" and Canada will promise to "do better" in the future.

Michael

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Needless to say, the Jingo is running hot in the Saudi-Twitter archipelago.  If you wonder where you might step in to sample, here's a fun Twitter post from the author of the Arab Tyrant's Manual, Iyad El-Baghdadi ... he is the guy expelled from the Emirates and, stripped of his resident status, and is now a refugee in Norway.

Reading the tea-leaves and jingo, there are three rough poles of contention. One is similar to Michael's take, in that Canada Will Suffer Har de har har.  The second is pretty much standard whinging do-gooder "human rights" focused, listing the rampant abuses in the Kingdom. The third is Saudi Jingo and it is LIT.

My rough take on the spat is that the Saudi royal dictatorship brooks no opposition, neither from inside nor outside. The 'reform' process is completely controlled by a hereditary absolute monarchy.  The hypocrisy of Canada's position is apparent -- can you do business as usual (trade in arms and oil) and also utter a criticism of the Saudi habit of clapping into detention its citizen-critics?

Nope.

Know your meme.

glowingorb.JPG



 

Edited by william.scherk
Spellink errors

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The thing about Saudi Arabia's latest campaign against internal critics ... is it is backed by "law."

 

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Jeez...

I can remember being endlessly lectured on Islamophobia...

:evil:  :) 

Michael

Yeah, we should be open to their differences in culture. We need to learn to understand that citizen-critics like to go into detention for uttering criticisms. It's their culture. They fully adopt it. They adore their royals in the same way that the Brits adore theirs. They'll do anything for them. Speaking of which, wasn't that wedding just charming?!!! Wow. Anyway, who are we to judge them by our stupid culture's standards? Don't be a racist Islamophobe!

J

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Bessma Momani is usually the most cynical person in the room when it comes to the Middle East and the 'cockpit of terror.'  Being Canadian, she probably sounds less than cynical to an American, but I am just guessing.  She has elsewhere suggested that the Gulf States and their regional alliance will 'rally round' and back the Saudi reaction**.

First a tweet, and then an excerpt from her article, "Saudi Arabia’s bold move has nothing to do with Canada." The article is opinion, but really -- what else do we got?  She is an accomplished woman who knows our foreign policy and the Arab world, at least. All I have is six millions points of info from Syria ... and three conclusions.

 

Quote

When Saudi Arabia expelled Canada’s ambassador from Riyadh – on Twitter, no less – the shock and then indignation that set in among Canadians was palpable. Yes, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted a few days earlier her strong condemnation of jailing a Saudi activist with family ties to Canada, but this is less about Canadian foreign policy than it is about the Saudis.

So why now? Why did Saudi Arabia react as it did?

This is a new, bold Saudi Arabia trying to make its mark on global and regional affairs. Led by the young and very brash Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (or MBS), this latest move is yet another red line that is being used to rile up nationalists and assert Saudi dominance. Expelling a Canadian ambassador is in keeping with the moves of a crown prince who allegedly took the Lebanese prime minister hostage, rounded up 200 of the most influential and richest Saudis and detained them until they paid part of their fortune back to the Saudi national accounts, and created a diplomatic firestorm with tiny neighbouring Qatar for not toeing the Saudi line on regional affairs. And this in under a year.

The Saudi Crown Prince wants to signal to the world that interference in Saudi domestic affairs and criticism of the country will come with economic consequences. After all, Saudi Arabia will never pose a military or strategic threat to Canada and much of the West, but it does have billions of dollars in investment projects that Canadian and international companies want a piece of, particularly in the construction of new cities designed to serve as global economic hubs.

There has been plenty of international – and specifically Western – criticism of Saudi Arabia over the arrest of women’s rights activists in May, a month before the country granted women the right to drive, and the disastrous humanitarian calamity of its war in Yemen, among other things. Canada is an easier target for Riyadh than, say, Britain. Severing economic and diplomatic ties with Canada is less complicated and will result in less Saudi domestic blowback than, for instance, signalling to Saudis that shopping in London’s high-end boutiques is an affront to national honour.

Canadian-Saudi bilateral trade is pretty negligible in the larger scheme of things. Canada sells the Saudis plenty of military hardware; the Saudis are, after all, the largest arms purchaser in the world. The Saudis sell Canada some petrochemical and fuel products, and while Canada may not quickly find another buyer for arms and weapons, there’s certainly no Canadian dependency on Saudi oil products. Similarly, the Saudis will gladly find new producers of arms to supply its awful and protracted war on Yemen. [...]

[**See her quoted here: "Saudi Arabia’s response to Canadian criticism will rally regional support: analysts" also in the Globe and Mail]

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Have the Saudi's yet release any info on specifically why Badawi was arrested? Is there an official accusation or excuse?

J

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1 hour ago, Jonathan said:

Have the Saudi's yet release any info on specifically why Badawi was arrested? Is there an official accusation or excuse?

J

Jonathan,

I'm curious about this as well. It's really hard to find actual information on this, especially in the mainstream press. They only put out puff pieces on Samar Badawi (essentially they gush over a few items taken from her Wikipedia page before saying she was arrested with no reason given), indirectly bash Saudi Arabia, and blame the crisis on tweets. 

The most legal sounding terms I have come across so far in the news for Samar Badawi's arrest (it's been like finding a truth-teller among a bunch of politicians) are "undermining national security" and "collaborating with enemies of the state."

Samar Badawi's brother, Raif Badawi, is in jail and has been publicly flogged for insulting Islam in a popular blog he used to run. His sentence has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia, so more flogging is still awaiting. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada under political asylum. Some Canadian politicians and celebrities have taken up a public cause in her name, some of them quite aggressively. 

I imagine this is part of the reason for Saudi Arabia's hostile attitude toward Canada. And if Samar was communicating with activists against Saudi Arabia, I imagine this would be one of the reasons she was arrested. But that is speculation on my part.

As to my banter about Canada having 31 genders like Baskin Robbins flavors, Saudi Arabia chopping off body parts, and things like that being the real reason behind the hostilities, it was only part banter. Some of that is true. For instance, people here in the west have no idea how much a stupid thing like 31 genders makes religious Arabs want to puke. It's visceral with them. So I would include contempt for Canada in the mix. This contempt is real and it's intense irrespective of whether people think it should not be.

Apropos, from what I have seen, I think most Canadians are clueless about this and how to approach it in order to get things done. So when shit happens, they get befuddled in a deer in the headlights way and wonder what the hell is wrong with the Saudis all of a sudden.

Michael

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19 hours ago, william.scherk said:

[A]n excerpt from her article, "Saudi Arabia’s bold move has nothing to do with Canada." The article is opinion, but really -- what else do we got? 

Even Russia has an opinion ...

 

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23 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Jonathan,

I'm curious about this as well. It's really hard to find actual information on this, especially in the mainstream press. They only put out puff pieces on Samar Badawi (essentially they gush over a few items taken from her Wikipedia page before saying she was arrested with no reason given), indirectly bash Saudi Arabia, and blame the crisis on tweets. 

The most legal sounding terms I have come across so far in the news for Samar Badawi's arrest (it's been like finding a truth-teller among a bunch of politicians) are "undermining national security" and "collaborating with enemies of the state."

Samar Badawi's brother, Raif Badawi, is in jail and has been publicly flogged for insulting Islam in a popular blog he used to run. His sentence has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia, so more flogging is still awaiting. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada under political asylum. Some Canadian politicians and celebrities have taken up a public cause in her name, some of them quite aggressively. 

I imagine this is part of the reason for Saudi Arabia's hostile attitude toward Canada. And if Samar was communicating with activists against Saudi Arabia, I imagine this would be one of the reasons she was arrested. But that is speculation on my part.

As to my banter about Canada having 31 genders like Baskin Robbins flavors, Saudi Arabia chopping off body parts, and things like that being the real reason behind the hostilities, it was only part banter. Some of that is true. For instance, people here in the west have no idea how much a stupid thing like 31 genders makes religious Arabs want to puke. It's visceral with them. So I would include contempt for Canada in the mix. This contempt is real and it's intense irrespective of whether people think it should not be.

Apropos, from what I have seen, I think most Canadians are clueless about this and how to approach it in order to get things done. So when shit happens, they get befuddled in a deer in the headlights way and wonder what the hell is wrong with the Saudis all of a sudden.

Michael

Yeah, and I can't stop imagining how the left would be screeching if Trump would have tweeted what the Canadian Foreign Ministry did. OMG, he's a reckless loose cannon amateur dunce who's going to start WW3!!! He's a racist and Islamophobe because he's attacking all Muslims and insulting Islam, the religion of peace, and trying to incite his Nazi followers to beat up Muslims in the streets! He's a dangerous bully who is in way over his head! How scary and embarrassing! Oh, dear!

J

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

It's really hard to find actual information on this, especially in the mainstream press.

I finally found one place where some real information might be found.

I don't have the time or interest to sift through all this (besides, who can read that stuff? :) ), but I imagine it might be useful to Canadian members and readers of OL who don't know who or what to believe anymore. Use Google Translate and copy/paste.

Direct Link:

The Saudi Cables - Canada

I trust WikiLeaks, which has pissed off everyone in power the world over for years by exposing their dirty hidden secrets using their own words and documents.

Michael

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So, the administrators of the Wikileaks account point to a trove of intelligence ... [WSS added Aug 9:  Deleted Tweet? Hmmm]

 

Edited by william.scherk
Deleted tweet? Shoulda fail-safed with a screen grab

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OMG, I'm really scared that Canadians are going to start killing Muslims in the streets. We have to stop talking about this right now. Let it fade from the headlines. The more attention that we give it, the more that Canadians will be encouraged to take out their racist anger and intolerance of Islam on poor, innocent immigrants. Canadians are fucking Nazis, and they look for any excuse to be violent. Let's not give them that excuse. Don't talk bad about any Saudis. That'll trigger them. Instead, let's consider what Canada can do better in its relationships with others.

J

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I finally found one place where some real information might be found.

I don't have the time or interest to sift through all this (besides, who can read that stuff? :) ), but I imagine it might be useful to Canadian members and readers of OL who don't know who or what to believe anymore. Use Google Translate and copy/paste.

Direct Link:

The Saudi Cables - Canada

I trust WikiLeaks, which has pissed off everyone in power the world over for years by exposing their dirty hidden secrets using their own words and documents.

Looks like the tweet was removed, but the direct link is still good.

And it looks like a new tweet replaced the old:

Something seems to be going on...

Michael

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