by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
In a region notorious for despotic regimes, the Saudis are worst among Arab states, the Middle East’s worst after apartheid Israel.
Regimes running both nations are notorious for human and civil rights abuses. They’re involved in or support naked aggression. They use chemical and other banned weapons against defenseless civilians.
Israel treats Palestinians as oppressively as Hitler mistreated Jews, waging slow-motion genocide, not industrial scale the way Nazis operated.
Israeli and Saudi human rights abuses are similar, including torture and other mistreatment, arbitrary arrests and detentions, political imprisonments, denial of due process and judicial fairness, support for ISIS and other terrorist groups, as well as restrictions on speech, media, academic, and public assembly freedoms, among others.
Israel terror-bombs and lethally shoots Palestinians in cold blood. The Saudis prefer public beheadings and whippings. Neither regime tolerates dissent.
Guilt by accusation is automatic when trials are held – in Israel for Palestinians, in the kingdom for anyone.
Israel is involved in US-orchestrated Saudi/UAE aggression in Yemen. These countries partner in other US regional wars. They’re guilty of high crimes of war and against humanity, accountability not forthcoming.
On August 5, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted:
“Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in #SaudiArabia, including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #human rights activists.”
The Saudi regime accused Canada of “overt and blatant interference in (its) internal affairs” – no matter how odious and unlawful, it failed to add.
Horrific Saudi human rights abuses are well known, criticized by numerous countries, including America.
The Trump regime’s 2017 State Department human rights report on the kingdom criticized its “unlawful killings…torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions, political (imprisonments), restrictions on freedom of expression…peaceful assembly (and) religion, (lack of) free and fair elections, trafficking in persons, violence and gender discrimination against women,” among other abuses.
Canada’s criticism was mild compared to the above. The Saudis didn’t slam the Trump regime for interfering in its internal affairs.
Why Canada, an ally until this row erupted into a full-blown diplomatic crisis. The Saudis expelled Ottawa’s ambassador, recalling its own.
Trade and investment with Canada was suspended. For how long is unknown. Saudi airline flights to Canada were cancelled.
The kingdom began divesting its Canadian assets. Thousands of Saudi students in Canadian universities and patients in the country’s hospitals were ordered to transfer elsewhere.
Saudi crown prince Muhammed bin Salman (MBS) is no reformer, far from it. He’s consolidating power, eliminating rivals, a future king in waiting as ruthless as others. Does he believe a row with Canada serves his agenda?
Andrew Korybko thinks he and Trump may have colluded against Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, aiding the US president in NAFTA renegotiations, helping him get what he wants.
By August 31, the Trump regime must notify Congress of any NAFTA deal agreed on with Mexico under fast track procedures – even though a congressional vote won’t likely occur until next year.
Trump’s reasoning may be that if a deal can be reached with Mexico, Canada may be pressured to go along. So far, Trudeau has been less willing to compromise than Mexico’s leadership.
According to Korybko, Canada may capitulate to Trump, aided the row with Riyadh.
It’s unclear how long it’ll last. Both countries could end up losers. Canada has much to lose by letting things fester, including a $15 billion arms deal arranged by former PM Stephen Harper.
As crown prince and defense minister, MBS allied with Washington’s war on Yemen, a disaster for the kingdom, not a quick triumph as expected.
His row with Qatar festered for over a year, things no closer to resolution than earlier.
Picking a fight with Canada may backfire at a time MBS wants the kingdom rebranded as reformist and open for business.
His complicity with Trump in seeking Palestinian capitulation to Israel has gone nowhere.
His rage to consolidate power before ascending to the kingdom’s thrown is strewn with failures – picking a row with Canada perhaps his latest faux pas no matter how things turn out.
His missteps showed he’s not up to the challenge of ruling effectively.
Under his de facto leadership, the kingdom is reformist in name only, as well as an unreliable ally and business partner.
The one thing in his favor is enormous Saudi oil wealth many nations want a piece of in trade and financial dealings, including America and EU countries.
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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”