Thursday, August 9, 2018

Chrystia Freeland Channels Trump’s Twitter “Diplomacy”- Revisiting Canada’s 15 Billion Dollar Saudi Arms Deal

Wonder how many people thought about the fact that Chrystia Freeland employed the Trump playbook method allegedly engaging in diplomacy for twits on twitter?

 As opposed to the reality of a twit's (a silly or foolish person) twittiness on twitter being a distraction from something else. 
Isn't it interesting that a twit is a silly or foolish person?
-Should that definition inform us all about the twitter reality?
-The concept behind twitter? 
-The reason for the creation of twitter?

Personally speaking. This row between Saudi Arabia and Canada is a smoke screen. I’m just not certain at this time what Canada’s virtue signalling government is hiding. Or if it's some attempt at PR?  I don’t think it’s to mask the 15 billion dollar arms deal. But, I’ll happily point out the hypocrisy of the Trudeau government's claim to support human rights

In an age when foreign policy is conducted increasingly by social media, Saudi Arabia’s reaction to a pair of Canadian tweets is a reminder that diplomacy by Twitter comes with a few risks.

Real foreign policy is not conducted via social media. But fodder for the dupe consumption is
The tweets, from Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and via her ministry’s main Twitter account, expressed concern over the latest arrests of social activists in Riyadh. In response, Saudi Arabia suspended diplomatic ties and new trade dealings with Canada, ordered the expulsion of Canada’s ambassador to Riyadh, and recalled its own envoy from Ottawa. The Saudi foreign ministry’s explanation for these measures is that the Canadian criticism was “an affront to the kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty.”

    Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi’s sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this difficult time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi.
    — Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) August 2, 2018
This is hard to credit. ( Isn't it interesting when the media points out the tweet is hard to credit to Ms Freeland, but, were ok to credit everything to Bana in Syria, rather then her mother) Riyadh’s human-rights record routinely attracts criticism — which the authorities brush off just as routinely. Only last week the United Nations human-rights office said it was alarmed about the “seemingly arbitrary detentions” of activists, and called for their unconditional release. This was not met with anything like the fury evoked by the Canadian tweets.
One explanation for the selective Saudi outrage is Freeland’s high profile. Another is the prominence of the female activist named in the two tweets: Samar Badawi, one of the kingdom’s best known activists, and winner of the U.S. State Department’s 2012 International Women of Courage award. She is also the sister of Saudi Arabia’s most famous political dissident, Raif Badawi, who has been in jail since 2012. Freeland herself has appealed for Raif Badawi’s release (his wife and three children are Canadian citizens), only to be told that Canada should mind its own business.
So the minister can hardly have expected a different answer this time. Nor could she have been unmindful of the fact that in 2015, Saudi Arabia briefly recalled its ambassador to Stockholm when Sweden’s foreign minister cited Raif Badawi’s treatment in a broader criticism of Riyadh’s human-rights record. Freeland’s tweet was bound to get a strong reaction.
And then there are the personalities and political concerns of the two young leaders in Ottawa and Riyadh: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely known by his initials, MBS. “Both sides are playing politics here,” says Ali Shihabi, founder of the Arabia Foundation, a Washington think-tank. Trudeau, he argues, is “grand-standing and posturing on women’s rights” to compensate for an unpopular decision to persist with a $12 billion deal to sell Saudi Arabia armored personnel carriers. The Canadian criticism, unnecessarily public, certainly smacks a little of virtue-signaling.
Yes, the virtuous Trudeau government.. 
Sending sniper rifles to Ukraine. 

Trudeau's Gun Control Ideology Doesn't Apply to Ukraine: Sniper Rifles Ready to Go

Selling 15 billion dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia.  Trudeau claimed these were just jeeps?
Not giving a hoot about a Canadian women imprisoned in Germany for an opinion.

Do everything you can to save  Monika  Schaefer from her ongoing unjust and immoral imprisonment. - Joseph Hickey
In a letter signed by executive director Joseph Hickey, the association calls on Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to act immediately, starting with appointing a consular observer and direct contact for Schaefer.
Chrystia Freeland is a pretend human rights protector- Or as I say- Canada is for human rights when it's serves the NATO world order- And when it doesn't? Canada is as despotic as the rest.

The $15 billion agreement was given the further blessing of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government in the spring of 2016 when it began issuing permits for the export of the combat vehicles.

Trudeau claimed ‘jeeps’ were being purchased

“The order also includes 119 LAV 6 vehicles of the "heavy assault" type, with powerful 105 millimetre canons affixed to their turrets, which were still under development at the time the documents were written.

Another 119 are configured as "anti-tank" vehicles and a further 119 are designated as "direct fire" support, with a two-man turret and 30 millimetre chain gun.”

It also involves a 14-year support program that covers ammunition, crew "training in Canada/Europe" and "embedded" maintenance, with a fleet management team in 13 workshops.

Re-examining arms exports

Last summer, images surfaced online that showed Canadian-made armoured vehicles, manufactured by another company, being used by the Saudi state in its long-running conflict against the Shiite population in Qatif, a restive portion of eastern Saudi Arabia.

One of the video clips also showed a light armoured vehicle, apparently manufactured by GDLS, operating in the region of Awamiyah.

The Liberal government launched an investigation, which ended with "no conclusive evidence that Canadian made vehicles were used in human rights violations."

Freeland has shown no appetite to revisit the Saudi deal.
 Back to Bloomberg:
Since Freeland’s first salvo on Twitter, most of the social-media fire has come from the Saudi side, from government agencies supporting the crown prince and private citizens making increasingly fevered threats of retaliation — including a bizarre campaign to support Quebecois independence. An education ministry spokesman tweeted that the government would relocate all Saudi students (estimates range from 7,000 to 15,000) currently studying in Canada. The Saudi state airline is suspending flights to and from Toronto.

Under normal circumstances, this would be a moment for the U.S. to intercede, and broker a peace between its close allies. But given President Donald Trump’s own hostility to Trudeau, and his admiration of MBS, Canada cannot realistically expect assistance from Washington. Indeed, it might be asking a lot for Trump to desist from joining the Twitter pile-on, with his own broadsides against Trudeau: the American president, like the Saudi prince, isn’t known for being gentle with allies.
Perhaps the US wants the Saudi's to break the big weapons deal with Canada and send business to US manufacturers?
For Riyadh and Ottawa, the only course is now to wait for the storm to pass, and then to begin the process of restoring relations the old-fashioned way, with quiet parleys. There’s a lesson for Freeland, and for diplomats everywhere: tweet less, talk more.
I'm in the camp, as mentioned that this is a smokescreen. And feel certain that this will quiet down and everything will go back to 'business as usual' for both regimes.
Yaya covered this episode at her site : canada's phoney war of words with the saudis
Her and I exchanged a number of comments with additional links included

Additional reading: Financial Post


  1. Interesting speculation, Penny, that this might be a move by the Saudis to curry favor towards the US over arms deals.

    I think that this may add some more to the story; over at MintPress News, Whitney Webb believes that the Saudis may be trying to push Canada out of its position as a major supplier of US oil. Coild explain the Saudis desire to exit an otherwise favorable arms deal with Canada.


    1. I'm definitely going to read that one!

      My hubby's thought is that we don't need to buy Saudi oil, but, do because we send all our oil to the US.
      So maybe Saudi Arabia is trying to knock Canada out on that count as well?
      Interesting, definitely!

    2. Hi Penny: According to the Globe, the Saudis say they will not stop selling their oil to Canada, and Trump is insisting that since he put sanctions on Iran, SA has to reduce its oil prices! Canada is the US's largest, by far, supplier of oil. The whole thing is like 3-card Monte.