Today is a really good day for the United States to reconsider its seemingly boundless support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
On the same morning that an Associated Press investigation found that U.S.-backed, Saudi led-forces in Yemen’s civil war have been cutting deals with Al Qaeda militants, the regime in Riyadh — keepers of Islam’s holiest cities, funders of radical Islamism, home to 80% of the 9/11 hijackers — started a troll war with Canada (?!), culminating in this now-deleted tweet from a state-run account:
Now deleted, here a screenshot of the threatening Saudi "infographic" featuring an airliner headed for the Toronto skyline. pic.twitter.com/LrkCLxxjFk
— Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) August 6, 2018
What the actual fuck?
Here’s how we got there: While we’ve been digesting the news that Saudi Arabia has been using U.S. aid in Yemen and making alliances with Osama Bin Laden’s weak-but-intact terror franchisees, the Saudis got into a fight with our neighbors to the north over women’s rights — specifically, whether to have any.
Late last week, Canadian officials began publicly pressing the Kingdom to release women’s rights activists from around Saudi Arabia, who’ve been swept up and jailed as Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, consolidates his power and cracks down on dissenters.
In response, Saudi Arabia — which has received $89 billion in arms from the United States in the past decade — expelled the Canadian ambassador and vowed to shut down all trade with the largest English-speaking country on earth. And they sent that tweet, which, given the very strong case that people in the Saudi government helped make 9/11 happen, is pretty bonkers.
Of course, there’s a chance the Saudis were merely going for a light troll in that tweet, simply intimating that the Canadian diplomatic corps was flying Air Canada back after offending their hosts:
Probably meaning the nose-sticking ambassador is arriving home safely.
— د. محمد بن عبدالله العزام (@MohammedAAzzam) August 6, 2018
The problem with that charitable account is it’s still not very charitable: You’re bragging about sending diplomats home because they asked you not to jail politically active women without charges. (Also, why would you depict Canadian government officials heading for Toronto and its iconic CN Tower, and not, say, Ottawa, the actual capital of Canada, 300 miles away?)
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. Maybe a president who prioritizes fighting terror without apology is just the guy to deal with this.
Then again, maybe not.