By expelling the Canadian ambassador, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman undermines the reforms he has made.
.. Faced with criticism from Canada over the treatment of two prominent human rights activists, Saudi rulers on Monday did the kind of thing that backward, insecure despots often do — they lashed out and penalized their critics.
Canada ran afoul of the Saudis when its foreign ministry called for the release of the women’s rights activist Samar Badawi, who was arrested last week, and her brother, Raif Badawi, who is in prison for running a website that criticized Saudi Arabia’s religious establishment.
.. Canada ran afoul of the Saudis when its foreign ministry called for the release of the women’s rights activist Samar Badawi, who was arrested last week, and her brother, Raif Badawi, who is in prison for running a website that criticized Saudi Arabia’s religious establishment
In 2013, Mr. Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes with a cane, 10 years in prison and a large fine for administering the site. He received the first 50 lashes in 2015, but his punishment was suspended, at least temporarily, after a video of the lashings drew international outrage.
.. Under Prince Mohammed, the Saudis have also not been shy about speaking out about, or directly intervening in, the affairs of other countries, including Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar and Bahrain. Saudi Arabian officials lobbied against President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and have spoken out against President Trump’s decision to move the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
.. Mr. Trump has previously signaled acquiescence to, if not fondness for, the kingdom’s authoritarian ways. And the American president’s own attempts to bully Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, in June may make Prince Mohammed feel bolder about lashing out.
.. Not even two weeks ago, the State Department held a much-hyped religious freedom conference, headlined by Vice President Mike Pence, that issued a lofty statement advocating the “recognition of universal human rights and human dignity.” It’s hard to take that statement too seriously so long as the White House remains quiet about these recent developments.