The last 24 hours or so have seen Saudi officials escalate their retaliation against Canada, suspending diplomatic ties and halting new trade dealings following comments by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland criticizing the kingdom for arrests of women’s rights activists.
Canada said it was 'gravely concerned' over a new wave of arrests of women and human rights campaigners in the kingdom, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi.
However, the Saudis may have gone a little too far with their threats after posting an image to Twitter that showed a passenger plane flying towards the CN Tower in Toronto, appearing to threaten a 9/11-style attack on Canada today.
The inflammatory photo was captioned:
"As the Arabic saying goes: 'He who interferes with what doesn't concern him finds what doesn't please him."
The text "sticking one's nose where it doesn't belong!" was also superimposed over the image.
As RT notes, the picture was produced by a group called @Infographic_KSA, which describes itself as a project “managed by a group of Saudi youth who are interested in technology and social media Facts backed by numbers & evidence.”
While the tweet doesn't clarify what exactly would not 'please' the Canadians, the connotation with the terrorist hijacking of planes and ramming them into the World Trade Center towers (15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis) didn't escape many Twitter commenters.
Err, guys, you do know this looks suspiciously like you're threatening to hijack a Canadian passenger plane and fly it into the CN Tower unless Canada recants its criticism of Saudi Arabia...? That's not a good look, even 17 years after 9/11. https://t.co/28iYpMMqLv— James Brownsell (@JamesBrownsell) August 6, 2018
All of which is ironic given the shadowbanning (and now total banning) of Alex Jones and InfoWars from various social media platforms.
The group later issued an apology, explaining that:
"Earlier we posted an image, which is why we deleted the post immediately.
The aircraft was intended to symbolize the return of the Ambassador, we realize this was not clear and any other meaning was unintentional. We apologise to anyone who was offended."
The accounts, which were followed by a number of Saudi diplomatic figures, were verified and largely shared government announcements and pro-Riyadh messages. The Twitter account had been described as "an official government" account in Saudi-owned state media, although the relationship to the Saudi state was not clear.
But, as The Daily Mail notes, a few hours later, the Saudi Ministry of Media has ordered the shutdown of the @Infographic_ksa account on Twitter, "until investigations are completed."
On the bright side, neither the Saudis nor Canadians have blamed Russia... yet.