Saudi Arabia's standoff with Canada will affect dozens of UVic students

Saudi Arabia expelling Canadian ambassador and suspending new trade with Canada

Saudi Arabia expelling Canadian ambassador and suspending new trade with Canada

It went on to "urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful human rights activists".

It recalled its envoy from Ottawa and gave Canadian Ambassador Dennis Horak 24 hours to leave the country.

The move came in reaction to a tweet last week from Ottawa's foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, who said that "Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women's activists in Saudi Arabia including Samar Badawi". On the one hand, the Saudi leadership has become "insecure" and "paranoid", he told DW, but it is also possible that the "Saudis have had enough of Western criticism".

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

"Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi", Freeland tweeted. Saudi allies are quickly rushing to their side to issue statements accusing Canada of "meddling" by criticizing Saudi arrests of human rights workers.

Samar was recently arrested for her vocal protests and activism against the repressive "male guardianship system" within Saudi Arabia for which she won the U.S. International Women of Courage Award in 2012.

Saudi investments in Canada include G3 Global Holdings Ltd., a joint venture between Bunge Ltd. and Saudi Agricultural & Livestock Investment Co., which purchased the former Canadian Wheat Board in 2015.

Nauert's response was seen in Canadian media as a failure to back Canada, with the Toronto newspaper reporting that "US refuses to back Canada in Saudi Arabia dispute".

The first possible big hit Canada could suffer relates to the sale of light armored vehicles to the kingdom, worth CA$15 billion.

A number of countries in the region have defended Saudi Arabia.

The true impact of Saudi Arabia's flexing of diplomatic muscle is still unclear.

A State Deparment official earlier in the day told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the USA has raised the issue with Saudi Arabia.

Canada said it was seeking "clarity".

Saudi Arabia's 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.

Canada's arms trade to Saudi Arabia, which is led by what is widely viewed as a deeply repressive regime, has raised numerous complaints from human rights and arms-control groups.

All of which is to say that maybe the United States, 17 years after 9/11 and the missing 28 pages, should really, finally, reconsider its relationship to the repressive, Al Qaeda-dealing Saudi regime.

His wife, Ensaf Haidar, and three children were granted Canadian citizenship earlier this summer, and live in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

"The Saudis have seriously inconvenienced 15,000 of their citizens in order to make a point and, given the unpredictability of Saudi foreign policy, I think it's anyone's guess what might happen to that deal".

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