Energy prices spike after attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia
An attack over the weekend which destroyed many key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia has “caused the worst disruption to world supplies on record,” reports CityNews.
The attack stopped the production of 5.7 million barrels of crude oil being produced per day, over half of Saudi Arabia’s global daily exports, and set the world back by 5 percent of daily crude production.
The latest quarterly financial results released by General Dynamics reveals that Saudi Arabia still owes Canada $3.4 billion in late payments for Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs). According to their quarterly earnings statements, the late payment debt has been growing by roughly $200 million every quarter since the beginning of the year.
According to CBC, the Trudeau government endorsed the controversial deal, originally made by the Harper government in 2014, to sell the Saudi government with hundreds of LAVs used to transfer troops.
The $14-billion contract was brokered and is managed by the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), a corporation that aids Canadian companies broker deals and contracts with foreign governments.
“There’s no dispute on the fact that it is owed,” CEO Phebe Novakovic said. “It’s simply a question of timing. And we’re still hopeful that we resolve that by the end of the year.”
According to CCC’s website, “every contract signed has the legal effect of being signed in the name of the Government of Canada, providing foreign government buyers with the assurance that the contract will be delivered per the agreed terms and conditions, guaranteed.”
While the late payments are a serious issue, David Perry, vice president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says that, while the sheer size of the unpaid sum is daunting, it isn’t the Canadian taxpayer or government that’s on the hook, but the CCC.
“Ultimately, right now, it’s not the government of Canada in the short term that is on the hook. It’s not the taxpayers. It’s actually the company that’s facing the impact of this payment shortfall more so than taxpayers,” Perry said.
To deal with the financial shortfall, earlier this year, the Liberal government announced that it will provide a repayable loan of up to $650 million to General Dynamics to keep it afloat in the international defence market.
American troops will once again be returning to the Middle East.
According to the Pentagon, thousands of U.S. troops including fighter squadrons, and air defence systems will be deployed to Saudi Arabia in order to ward off further aggression from Iran.
Saudi Arabia, the United States, as well as most of the western world currently believe Iran was behind the attack on Saudi oil facilities.
Iran has stated in response that it was the Yemeni Houthi rebels who coordinated the drone and missile strike.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
Justin Trudeau still hasn’t updated Canadians on the multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Now, he faces pressure from numerous civil society groups to act.
Trudeau announced, just after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, that he would review the arms deal with the nation.
The review was deemed necessary especially considering numerous reports of human rights violations by the country in Yemen. The ongoing famine in Yemen is directly caused by Saudi Arabia’s indiscriminate bombings and blockades.
Trudeau promised he would review this arms deal originally signed under the Conservative-led Harper government.
According to the Canadian Press, organizations such as Amnesty, Oxfam, and others, sent a letter this week to Trudeau. They say the public has a right to know the status of the review, as more than nine months have passed since the government first announced their decision to do so.
“No update with respect to the progress of the review has been offered, bringing the sincerity of the effort into question,” said the letter.
“Canadians are entitled to know the outcome of the government review, and a clear answer with respect to your government’s position on the export of LAVs from Canada to Saudi Arabia.”
The Liberals have already managed to halt any new export permits to Saudi, and sanctioned 17 Saudi individuals.
However, these civil society groups believe that delaying the results of the arms sales review could be dangerous. Canada shipped 127 military vehicles to the monarchy last year.
In the past six months of 2019, government data show Canada has sold $1.2 billion worth of “tanks and other motorized armoured fighting vehicles (including parts)” to the kingdom.
Adam Austen, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, said in an email that “as we have said before, we are reviewing export permits to Saudi Arabia and no final decision has been made. While this review is ongoing, no new permits have been issued.”
While stopping the deal would be morally the correct thing to do in terms of human rights, it could risk the confidence of Canadian arms deals in the future, and potentially put jobs at risk.
Austen also argued the Trudeau government has taken steps to strengthen export controls with recently passed legislation. These export controls will “enshrine human rights into Canadian export laws” and allow Canada to accede to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.
“Bill C-47 creates a new legal requirement that the Canadian government must deny export permits if there is a substantial risk that the export would result in a serious violation of human rights, including serious acts of gender-based violence.”
Canada will become a practitioner of the Arms Trade Treaty on September 17th this year.