• Sweden edition
 
SWEDISH-SAUDI ARMS DEAL
Outrage over Sweden's 'secret' Saudi arms plant

Outrage over Sweden's 'secret' Saudi arms plant

Published: 07 Mar 2012 11:33 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Mar 2012 11:33 GMT+01:00

“Through their actions Sweden is letting down both the democratic and liberal forces in Saudi Arabia and the west that have been fighting for human rights for years,” said Madawi al-Rasheed, a political activist and daughter of the founder of the Saudi Democratic Front, to Sveriges Radio (SR).

Following Tuesday's revelations, first reported by SR, the Swedish government has been forced to answer a storm of criticism regarding Sweden’s involvement in the project.

“I think it is incomprehensible that we have a government which helps a dictatorship to develop weapons systems and build an arms factory behind the back of the Swedish Riksdag,” said Jonas Sjöstedt, Left Party leader, to SR.

The Left Party will demand a Riksdag debate on the matter, according to the broadcaster.

However, among the parties in the ruling centre-right Alliance government, the stance is that the deal was struck under the previous Social Democrat government and signed by then-minister of defence Leni Björklund in 2005.

“This was a deal that the Social Democrat government formed with the Saudis in 2005 and we were already highly critical of it back then. We don’t think Sweden should close military deals with Saudi Arabia, which is one of the world’s fiercest dictatorships,” said Christian Democrat leader Göran Hägglund to daily Expressen.

The Liberals (Folkpartiet) have also criticized the project, with party leader Jan Björklund telling SR that the cooperation is a direct consequence of the deal that was struck between the Saudis and the Swedes in 2005.

“If one wants to change this, the cooperation should be broken off and legislation should be tightened,” said Björklund to SR.

And the party’s spokesperson on foreign affairs, Allan Widman, said the party has been critical of the cooperation from the very beginning.

“I reported Leni Björklund to the Committee on the Constitution (Konstitutionsutskottet, KU) in 2005 for entering this agreement so I have been against it from the very start,” Widman told Expressen.

However, the Social Democrats contend that the current Alliance government are responsible for the secret arms deal.

“The government had the opportunity to call off the cooperation in 2010, but chose to continue. This project that SR has detailed was initiated in 2007, during the centre-right government’s time in office. So everyone can see that it has happened during the current government’s time,” said Urban Ahlin, Social Democrat spokesperson on foreign affairs, to SR.

On Wednesday new documents were made public indicating that another government agency, the Swedish Agency for Non-proliferation and Export Controls (Inspektionen för strategiska produkter, ISP), was also involved in the project.

Minutes from a 2008 meeting reviewed by SR show that ISP chair Andreas Ekman Duse participates in a meeting between FOI and the Saudi general Nasser at the ministry of defence.

However, Ekman Duse doesn't think this puts him in a compromising situation.

"I was called there by the ministry of defence and took part in this meeting on their behest to explain how Swedish export controls work. It had nothing to do with the deal itself," he told SR.

Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said on Wednesday that the government expects its agencies to follow rules and regulations and assume that they do until otherwise is proven.

"I can understand that there are questions about the information that has come to light. But I have learned from experience to wait until we really know who has done what before we are ready to decide if someone has broken a rule and what consequences this should have," Reinfeldt said to TT, adding that he welcomes the potential investigation by the Riksdag's Committee on the Constitution.

TT/The Local/rm

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

13:02 March 7, 2012 by Nemesis
This is a disgrace.

Those weapons should be built in Sweden and sold to Saudi Arabia to increase Swedish exports.

By building the factory in Saudi Arabia, they are exporting Swedish jobs.

The factory needs to be built in Sweden and there needs to be a stop put to exporting jobs.
13:37 March 7, 2012 by Abe L
Completely agree with #1 it's unacceptable that these potential economy contributing aspects aren't utilized to their full extend. More Swedish jobs and income should have come from this.
14:37 March 7, 2012 by zooeden
What??? Im not surprised, its only business!!!

Sweden is neutral and leans towards peace keeping... However it develops the most soffisticated weapons...

Might be seen as a great health care system... However it slashes fundings to it year by year...

Only Business
14:43 March 7, 2012 by micvau
Sweden is surpposed to be a neutral country but behind the scenes it supports illigal wars and doesn't take the neccessary measures to ensure that these weapons don't end up in the wrong hands. Sweden is the single largest exporter of weapons in the world to under developed countries so it comes as no surprise to hear that they are now helping Saudi Arabia. Pity when you think about all the innocent lives that will be lost because of this. Sweden has alot of indirect blood on it's hands dating from World War II where it supplied Hitler with the raw metals to manufacture weapons and at the same time claiming neutrality. Many good norwegians died by the Swedish governments double crossing. At least they should have the balls to stand up and admit their actions.
14:52 March 7, 2012 by johan rebel
Swedish foreign and arms expport policies have only one guiding principle: hypocrisy.

Since this has been the case for as long as anyone can remember, I don't really understand the surprise and outrage.
15:20 March 7, 2012 by chemo007
@ zooeden

the trade of blood ond human life......u r callin it business.....countries like Pakistan, India, south africa, saudi arabia and thailand'

many of these countries are always on the edge of war specially Pakistan and India.....both are the major buyers of Swedish weapons.....how ll u feel if Russia attacks Sweden then...........u know wt just blood and destruction and nothing.....these weapons are not just for show and power......Sweden is supporting Saudi Arabia just ur politicians sit in the lap of USA and its just to make USA happy because rveryone knows its just to control Iran..........Swedish saab, poltry and medicine business is gone.....nothing to do something good.....alas
15:20 March 7, 2012 by johnny1939
several years ago I was working w/ UNICEF and they had an excibit re landmine injuries and I was embarrassed to see that most of the mines came from Sweden!!
15:27 March 7, 2012 by Gustaf_Gardet
Before several years Suaid Arabia government bought weapons from USA aganist 40 billions dollar, Saudi Arabia have strong alliance with USA, what is the problem if we have the same alliance?

We are manufacturing weapons and we should sell them out or close our plants and importing them from abroad?
15:53 March 7, 2012 by Bleichroeder
What about human rights? what about the fact that women in Saudi are legally considered half a person?

WHERE ARE ARE THE "DO-GOODERS". Where is the flotilla to Saudi? Where is the flotilla to Syria? Where are the big demonstrations?

Oh, I forgot, Israel and Jews are not involved.
19:11 March 7, 2012 by Children Of Adam
I agree with Gustaf.

companies are doing business, it is not their business to look about human rights. For human rights and things like we have UN, but what can UN do?

US has attacked Iraq for its oil and killed thousands of innocents people tortured them in prisons, what UN or human rights did to them?

I would like to see Sweden sell more products, it is good for business, if the Europe stops producing then soon Asian would buy all your companies and would enslave the bloodies . Indian Tata wants to buy Saab? do you want to sell everything?
20:44 March 7, 2012 by stevo1
so it's ok to sell weapons to democracy's who invade other countries for oil and resources?

Good on Sweden for exploiting a market that will essentially bring more export dollars into this country.

BTW, even Australia sells yellow cake (Uranium) to India (and India has not signed the no nuclear weapons agreement), which it takes from National Parks zoned for no mining.

Every country does the dirty, so why should Sweden be any different.

Sweden is just tapping into a monopoly the USA has held for years.
22:12 March 7, 2012 by anticommie
Welcome to Sweden were we build the weapons to kill brown people!!!
23:24 March 7, 2012 by coldjava
It's all about oil oil oil!
04:31 March 8, 2012 by dennis_from_red_deer_ab_canada
Until the Assange affair, I always assumed Sweden was a fair, neutral country that had high principles and minded their own business. After the Assange affair, I have followed Sweden's dealings more closely. And Sweden doesn't stand up to close scrutiny.

We have a saying when something isn't right. The saying is "There's something rotten in Denmark". I don't know where it came from, but I've heard it since I was a child. From now on, when an incident seems strange, I'll be saying, "There's something rotten in Sweden".

I now believe Assange must be innocent, and most Swedish officials are liars.
09:02 March 8, 2012 by rise
Back when I did my military service in the years of 1994-95 the landmine Truppmina 12 was being called Invandrar-TV (Immigrants' TV). And sure the look of the Truppmina 12 actually reminds of the small TV people are using in their caravans or such. Make what you will of it. ;)
Today's headlines
National
King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament
King Carl XVI Gustaf arriving on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament

BREAKING: Sweden's post-election parliament is meeting for the first time following a fanfare opening from King Carl XVI Gustaf. READ  

Opinion
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
A high school in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Should Sweden's school age be raised?

After the new coalition announced plans to extend Sweden's compulsory schooling until the age of 18, The Local asked two Swedes at high school if they agreed with the idea. READ  

International
Sweden slammed for ecological footprint
Sweden should increase its renewable energy according to WWF. Photo:TT

Sweden slammed for ecological footprint

Sweden is among the world's top ten polluters according to one of the largest scientific studies looking at the impact of humans on earth, produced by the WWF. READ  

Society
Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake
Ing-Marie Olofsson whose necklace was found. Photo: Private

Swede's necklace found after 52 years in lake

A 66-year-old Swedish woman got the surprise of her life when a fisherman returned the necklace she dropped in a lake at the age of 14. READ  

International
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Malin Sahlén during a Top Model shoot. Photo: TV3/Nina Holma

Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos

A British newspaper has apologised after a freelance journalist stole a Sweden's Next Top Model contestant's photo and created a fake Twitter account used to trick a UK minister. READ  

Brand stories
Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Johanna N: beautiful jewellery with a story

Aged just 27 and already living off of her own designs, some may consider Johanna Nilsson lucky. But she doesn't believe in luck. She's the founder of a jewellery line blending sustainability, subtle style, and Scandinavian simplicity - and it's taking the world by storm. READ  

Sport
Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash
Photo: AP

Heel injury sidelines Zlatan in Barcelona clash

Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes due to a nagging heel problem, the French club have confirmed. READ  

National
Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears
The Infection Clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge. Photo: TT

Stockholm patient tests negative after Ebola fears

A patient in a Stockholm hospital who was suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus was given the all clear on Tuesday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
A Jas Gripen. Photo: TT

New coalition agrees on defence and migration

UPDATED: The Green Party has committed itself to expanding Sweden's defence force, while the Social Democrats have compromised on work permits for migrants. READ  

National
Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden
The patient is being treated at the Karolinska University Hospital. Photo: TT

Fresh Ebola case investigated in Sweden

Doctors in Stockholm are checking a patient suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

878
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN