For it turned out – alas, oh alas – that those harmless Canadian LAVs had been videotaped in the Saudi eastern province in 2017, putting down a Shia civilian rebellion. The Canadian foreign ministry – now, in a masterpiece of satire, renamed “Global Affairs Canada” – suspended arms exports and opened a “full and thorough investigation”. Nowadays, we are all familiar with “full and thorough investigations” – like the one the Saudis are enthusiastically conducting into the demise of the secretly buried Khashoggi – and the Canadian version of an enquiry subsequently concluded that the vehicles from Canada had undergone post-export “modifications”.
The LAVs, it transpired, had been secretly kitted up with turrets and machine guns, and these vehicles were used in the 2017 operation in which 20 civilians had been killed. But – and here was a deus ex machina to beat them all – the Global Affairs report added (with even further unconscious satire) that no human rights violations had occurred; that Saudi forces had made “efforts to minimise civilian casualties”; and that the use of force – readers, you guessed it – was “proportionate and appropriate”.
Thank heavens the Saudis were firing machine guns from those Canadian vehicles and not attacking their enemies with knives and bonesaws.