What's driving Saudi Arabia's rapidly escalating feud with Canada?

Saudi Arabia appears to threaten Canada with 9/11 style attack after expelling its ambassador in row over jailed activists

The post that has since been deleted by a Twitter account linked to the Saudi government

The diplomatic gulf between the federal government and Saudi Arabia widened to encompass travel on Tuesday as the country's state airline announced it was suspending operations in Canada.

Saudi Airlines' move comes two days after the national government suspended all new trade agreements with Canada, recalled its own ambassador and gave Canada's chief diplomat 24 hours to leave the country.

Saudi Arabia's move came followed a tweet Friday from Global Affairs Canada which expressed concerns about the arrests of civil and women's rights activists and asking the Saudi government to immediately release them.

The United States said Tuesday that both Canada and Saudi Arabia are "close partners" of the USA, and asked the Saudi government for more information of the detention of several activists.

Analysts say the dispute between Riyadh and Ottawa shows Saudi Arabia won't accept any outside criticism and will continue flexing its muscles overseas, especially as the kingdom enjoys a closer relationship with President Donald Trump.

Her brother Mr Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" online back in 2014.

In recent months Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on women driving, but it has also arrested activists, including more than a dozen high-profile campaigners for women's rights.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry added: "The Kingdom views the Canadian position as an affront to the Kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty".

The photo was posted after tensions between Saudi Arabia and Canada erupted this week over the the Trudeau government's call to release jailed Saudi women's rights activists.

His wife, Ensaf Haidar, and three children were granted Canadian citizenship earlier this summer, and live in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

Amnesty International said the response to Canada showed that it was important Western countries not be intimidated into silence over Riyadh's treatment of dissenters.

Alex Kliment, a CBSN contributor who writes for Signal, a newsletter from GZERO Media, told CBSN's Anne-Marie Green the diplomatic dispute may be part of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's push to create what Kliment called an "enlightened dictatorship" in what's considered one of the world's most conservative societies.

Garry Keller, who was chief of staff to ex-Conservative Foreign Minister John Baird, said the government needed to look at how it could help businesses that might be affected.

Saudi Arabia long has been sensitive to worldwide pressure over the Raif Badawi sentence.

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