President Donald Trump's administration is exacerbating an intensifying diplomatic row between Saudi Arabia and Canada by choosing not to stand up for democratic values around the world, according to a Middle East expert.
Saudi Arabia and Canada are currently locked in a deepening feud over human rights. The war of words between the two countries stems back to a series of tweets from Canada's Foreign Ministry last week, when Ottawa expressed concern over arrested civil society activists in Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh called the move a violation of its sovereignty and announced punitive measures against Ottawa, including the expulsion of the Canadian ambassador.
"The broad contours of U.S. foreign policy, especially under President Donald Trump's administration, clearly signal decreased appetite to engage on foreign issues or support democratization efforts," Ayham Kamel, head of Eurasia Group's Middle East and North Africa practice, said in a research note published Monday.
"Absent a strong U.S. voice on human rights and democratic values, Arab leaders have become less willing to tolerate Western advice on either political reform of governance," he added.