As tensions between Saudi Arabia and Canada continue to soar after the Canadian Foreign Ministry dared to condemn the kingdom’s imprisonment of dissidents and human rights activists, a verified Twitter account connected to the Saudi government tweeted a graphic on Monday that appeared to threaten Toronto with a 9/11-style attack.
“With hundreds of billions in arms deals from the U.S. and U.K., the Saudi regime is being given carte blanche to threaten anyone and everyone with violence.” —Ben Norton
The image—which was deleted after it sparked widespread outrage—showed an Air Canada jet flying in the direction of the 1800-foot CN Tower, invoking memories of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center that killed thousands, including 26 Canadians.
Overlaying the image was the quote, “He who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him.”
After deleting the initial tweet and replacing it with a graphic without the Canadian jet, the Saudi account apologized for posting the “inappropriate” image and implausibly claimed that the message behind the graphic—which was clear as day to most observers—was misinterpreted.
“The U.S. must be clear in condemning repression, especially when done by governments that receive our support.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
The Saudi account insisted that the Canadian jet flying toward CN Tower was supposed to represent Riyadh’s expulsion of the Canadian ambassador, who was kicked out following Canada’s criticism of Saudi Arabia’s notoriously appalling human rights record. Saudi Arabia’s Media Ministry later shut down the infographic account and said it is investigating the matter.
Journalists and other commentators from Canada and around the world were wholly unimpressed by Saudi Arabia’s explanation and apology.
Highlighting the well-known fact that 15 of the 19 September 11th hijackers were Saudi citizens, German political scientist Marcel Dirsus offered the Saudi government some free PR advice: “If you represent a kingdom which brought forth the majority of 9/11 attackers, don’t use a plane flying into a tower in North America when you have a disagreement with Canada. It doesn’t help.”
The Saudi-connected Twitter account’s apparent threat against Canada comes amid an intensifying conflict between the two nations over the kingdom’s continued imprisonment of activists who speak out against its ongoing human rights violations—many of which are financed by Western nations, including Canada and the United States.
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