• 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
Science
Swedes discover rare Antarctic fossils

Swedes discover rare Antarctic fossils

Researchers from Sweden have been speaking about a rare discovery of mammal fossils in the Antarctic. READ  

Ukraine conflict
Sweden Democrats reject EU-Ukraine pact
The Sweden Democrats have two MEPs, seen here with the party's leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: TT

Sweden Democrats reject EU-Ukraine pact

BREAKING: The European Parliament has backed an 'historic' agreement to allow closer trade between the EU and Ukraine, but the nationalist Sweden Democrats were among those trying to block the deal on Tuesday. READ  

Elections 2014
Löfven to get no help from Sweden's Liberals
Liberal party leader Jan Björklund. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Löfven to get no help from Sweden's Liberals

UPDATED: Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund says he has no plans to join a government with the election-winning Social Democrats, as Sweden's political future remains uncertain. READ  

Analysis
'Evolution' for Sweden's crowd-funding scene
Photo: Victor1558/Flickr

'Evolution' for Sweden's crowd-funding scene

The Local checks out crowd-funding in Sweden as US giant Kickstarter announces plans to launch in Scandinavia. READ  

Opinion
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Brit Kester Gibson (left) thinks Scotland should split from the UK but Swede Mimi Coglianos disagrees. Photos: private

Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?

Scotland votes on whether to become independent this week and the Scottish National Party has suggested closer ties with Scandinavia if the 'yes' camp wins. The Local asked two readers if they agreed with Scotland splitting from the UK. READ  

Sport
Malmö gear up for Champions League
Sweden's biggest club Malmö face Juventus on Tuesday. Photo:TT

Malmö gear up for Champions League

Malmö are the first Swedish club in the Champion's League for more than a decade but they face a tough debut fixture against Italian champions Juventus in their Group A opener. READ  

Sweden earthquake 'was strongest in 100 years'
The town of Mora, near where the earthquake hit. Photo: Shutterstock

Sweden earthquake 'was strongest in 100 years'

An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale shook parts of central Sweden on Monday and experts have revealed it was the strongest in a century. READ  

Elections 2014
Löfven rules out making government with the Left
Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt. Photo: TT

Löfven rules out making government with the Left

Election winner Stefan Löfven announced on Monday that he would not form a government with the Left Party, a move that party's leader called a "huge mistake". READ  

Elections 2014
Six big headaches for Stefan Löfven
Stefan Löfven: a man with a lot on his plate. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT

Six big headaches for Stefan Löfven

Stefan Löfven has started talks to form a new government, but the former welder faces huge challenges in bringing together an administration that will work. The Local explains why. READ  

Business
Microsoft to buy Swedish Minecraft makers

Microsoft to buy Swedish Minecraft makers

UPDATED: Microsoft announced on Monday that it was buying Swedish company Mojang, which was behind the hit game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion (17.9 billion kronor). READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Blog updates

15 September

Liten, litet, små & lilla (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej igen! Have you ever been confused about when to use “liten”, “litet”, “små” and “lilla”? Today I’m going to sort out how use the adjective “liten” (small) and the different forms of it. Liten or litet? “Liten” is the form we will use when referring to a noun with the gender “en”. For example: Min pappa har en..." READ »

 

12 September

EU sanctions: necessary, effective and timely (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Regular readers of this blog know I’ve written about the Russia-Ukraine crisis here. Today I’ve chosen to share an article by the UK Minister for Europe, David Lidington, with my readers: This week the European Union imposed further sanctions on Russia. This decision followed months of destabilisation of Ukraine by Russia, and months of political..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
National
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Politics
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
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

857
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