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Swedish arms exports keep booming

Swedish arms exports keep booming

Published: 19 Mar 2012 07:50 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Mar 2012 07:50 GMT+01:00

Sweden's weapons exports rose by 31 percent in the last five years compared to the five previous years, while Asian countries lead the world when it comes to arms imports, new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show.

Globally the volume of international transfers of major conventional weapons was 24 percent higher in the period 2007-11 compared to the 2002-06 period, the report said, meaning Sweden's arms exports have increased at a higher rate that the global average.

Over the past five years, Asia and Oceania accounted for 44 percent in volume of conventional arms imports, the institute said.

That compared with 19 percent for Europe, 17 percent for the Middle East, 11 percent for North and South America, and 9 percent for Africa, said the report.

India was the biggest arms importer in the period covered, 2007-11, accounting for 10 percent in weapons volume.

It was followed by South Korea (6 percent), China and Pakistan (both 5 percent), and Singapore (4 percent), according to the independent institute which specializes in arms control and disarmament matters.

These five countries accounted for almost a third, 30 percent, of the volume of international arms imports, said SIPRI.

"India's imports of major weapons increased by 38 percent between 2002-06 and 2007-11," SIPRI said.

"Notable deliveries of combat aircraft during 2007-11 included 120 Su-30MKs and 16 MiG-29Ks from Russia and 20 Jaguar Ss from the United Kingdom," it said.

While India was the world's largest importer, its neighbour and sometime foe Pakistan was the third largest.

Pakistan took delivery of "a significant quantity of combat aircraft during this period: 50 JF-17s from China and 30 F-16s," the report added.

Both countries "have taken and will continue to take delivery of large quantities of tanks," it also noted.

"Major Asian importing states are seeking to develop their own arms industries and decrease their reliance on external sources of supply," said Pieter Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.

China, which in 2006 and 2007 was the world's top arms importer, has now dropped to fourth place.

"The decline in the volume of Chinese imports coincides with the improvements in China's arms industry and rising arms exports," according to the report.

But "while the volume of China's arms exports is increasing, this is largely a result of Pakistan importing more arms from China," it added.

"China has not yet achieved a major breakthrough in any other significant market."

China is however the sixth largest world exporter of weapons behind the United States, Russia, Germany, France and Britain.

And despite the rise in Sweden's arms exports, the country slipped from tenth to eleventh place in a ranking of major weapons exporters.

"Spain has overtaken Sweden due to a few large naval orders that Spain received. But Sweden's weapons exports nevertheless remain strong," SIPRI researcher Mark Bromley told the Dagens Nyhter (DN) newspaper.

Overall, Sweden accounts for about 2 percent of global arms exports.

In Europe, Greece was the largest importer between 2007 and 2011, the institute said.

Between 2002 and 2011, Syria increased its imports of weapons by 580 percent -- the bulk supplied by Russia -- while Venezuela boosted its imports over the same period by 555 percent, it reported.

Throughout the Middle East as a whole, weapons imports decreased by eight percent over the period of the survey.

However SIPRI warned "this trend will soon be reversed."

Tunisia, where mass protests ousted strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali early last year, launched the so-called Arab Spring and inspired similar movements in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere.

"During 2011, the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria used imported weapons in the suppression of peaceful demonstrations among other alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

"The transfer of arms to states affected by the Arab Spring has provoked public and parliamentary debate in a number of supplier states," the report said.

The volume of deliveries of "major conventional weapons" to African nations increased by a massive 110 percent in 2007-2011 over the previous five-year period, with deliveries to North Africa up by 273 percent.

Morocco saw its own imports increase by 443 percent, the report added

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:19 March 19, 2012 by Cephalectomy
thanks moderaterna

thats what we needed more no-good reputation so that more terrorists think of sweden
09:58 March 19, 2012 by rise
The export is a necessity to afford a defense for ourselves.
11:08 March 19, 2012 by isenhand
@rise

What defence for ourselves? The government has cut back on defence and messed it up so much Sweden has no effective defence.

You can get a good view of the mess the government has made form this diagram:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-b96CwMTTnqQ/To36gaPaJqI/AAAAAAAAGiU/LAjaeO6L1fk/s640/io14.png

NB. it has some errors (193 is Arctic not mountain) and misses some important info (the home guard are light infantry) but it's good enough to show the blatantly obvious problem and why we have no effective defence.
14:54 March 19, 2012 by rise
isenhand, it really is that bad, isn't it? :(
15:46 March 19, 2012 by jostein
I do not understand this critique against arms export. I mean, i do understand it if you are a pacifist. But pacifism is a shallow and poorly thought out ideology. Why would we begrudge other states to defend themselves? Take Saudi for example. I might not agree with their policies and laws. And i do admit that Saudi is not a democracy. However, most states in the world are not democracies, should non-democracies never be allowed to defend themselves?

After all, if there were free and fair elections in Saudi its a pretty sure bet that the salafists or some such vile group would win the election. Or why not a member of the house of Saud? And the laws would stay pretty much the same as they are now? Who am i to judge how the Saudis choose to live their lives and what laws the Saudis choose for themselves? And at the same time, Saudi is very rich in natural resources and has a great need to defend itself. AND Saudi is not a military threat to neither Sweden nor our allies. So exporting weapons to Saudi makes perfect sense to me. Unless you are a pacifist. But then you should go back to school, imho.
19:45 March 19, 2012 by Carbarrister
As far as I am concerned Swedish Arms Exports are source of pride and a cause for celebration.
21:27 March 19, 2012 by Abe L
#6, Indeed, anything that contributes to the Swedish economy should be considered positive. Especially with the sad financial situation in Europe, this is what keeps your pensions alive and your healthcare free.
22:06 March 19, 2012 by muscle
@Carbarrister:

in this case, if Pakistan starts selling out nukes and nuke warhead capable missles then the world shouldn't bark about whom Pakistan sells.!

Pride or no pride, if nations started telling others not to sell arms or weapons of mass destruction to others, then they need to first obey their own laid rules... sadly this has never been done.
22:36 March 19, 2012 by J Jack
What is neutral? Is it redundant because Sweden is now automatic?
05:57 March 20, 2012 by skatty
Good business for Noble peace prize!

More war, more people fight for peace, more competition for peace prize (this one is a Swedish way of analyzing)!
08:17 March 20, 2012 by rise
#9

When neutral Sweden can do business with whoever the country chooses. Like in the WWII when Sweden sold ore to the Germans as well as weapons to the allies - for example Bofors antiaircraft guns to England. Good business for Sweden. ;)
09:10 March 20, 2012 by isenhand
@rise

Yes, like many thing in Sweden. Things have started to progressively get worse but we have a huge lag factor in the system so for the short term things will look good. :(
09:35 March 20, 2012 by OUIJA
I read the following:

"The Swedish arms export has been object for a wide critique for a long time now. We're the country that exports most guns per capita in the world. Sweden helps Saudi-Arabia to build a arms factory.

"One learns that Sweden dealt weapons to fifteen dictatorships (Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, Egypt, UAE, Jordan, Kazakstan, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi-Arabia, Thailand, Tunisia and Vietnam) during the last decade. Sweden's been selling weapons to two countries on opposing sides of the same armed conflict, for example in the conflict between India and Pakistan.

"In conclusion: We praise the revolutions against the dictatorships in the middle east - the same dictatorships we've been selling weapons to for a long time - while we keep selling them the very same weapons that kill both the revolutionaries and other people in the country. When people try to escape the countries we've armed, send them back, claiming the countries are peaceful and tolerant like a Lutheran church. To top it off, we help the countries build their own arms factories, so they won't have to rely on us for their weapons."

Since September 11, 2001, most people in the world agree that the perpetrators need to pay what they did to America, without killing many thousands of civilians in the process. But, the U.S. military has always accepted massive civilian deaths as part of the cost of war. Right?

Sweden has been selling weapons to the U.S. a country well known over the world for its military interventions all over the world.

The United States military has been intervening in other countries for a long time. In 1847, it invaded Mexico; in 1898, it seized the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico from Spain, and in 1917-18 became embroiled in World War I in Europe. In the first half of the 20th century it repeatedly sent Marines to "protectorates" such as Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. All these interventions directly served corporate interests, and many resulted in massive losses of civilians, rebels, and soldiers.

But, just let me remind you what the country that buys arms from Sweden has done in recent years:

2003, Iraq, Saddam regime toppled in Baghdad. More than 250,000 U.S. personnel participate in invasion.

2003, Liberia. Brief involvement in peacekeeping force as rebels drove out leader.

2004-2005, Haití. Marines & Army land after right-wing rebels oust elected President Aristide.

2005, Pakistan. CIA missile and air strikes and Special Forces raids on alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban refuge villages kill multiple civilians.

In Somalia, Syria and Yemen, they have proven to be the police of the world.

And what about Lybia in 2011, where NATO (USA) coordinates air strikes and missile attacks against Qaddafi. They claimed that they would spare the lives of civilians, but did they? Nope.

Sweden's double moral is on the table. Am I wrong?
01:18 March 22, 2012 by sunnchilde
Do you guys want to be weapons manufactures? Do you really want to sell Gripen? Give them to the Israelis. They will use them. They will use them tomorrow. Do you want to know how Gripen will fare in combat? Do you want proof? Give two squadrons to the Israelis. The first air to air missile kill for the F-15 did not come from an American Squadron. It was Israel. Who made the first gun kill in an F-15? The Israelis. Who is constantly at war against various Arab countries? Who is constantly shooting down Russian MiGs owned by various Arab countries? Israel. Who is maybe going to go drops bombs on Iran? Israel.

Listen, I know that Israel is firmly in bed with the Americans. That doesn't matter. Last I heard, the per-unit price for the F-35 is north of $197 million. Come in at 1/4 of that price. Offer a special one-time deal to Israel for two Squadrons of the Gripen NG model for $50 million each. TAKE A LOSS on the deal just to get those birds in to their hands. The IDF will use them. When they do , Sweden and Saab will reap the benefits from other countries begging to buy your airplanes.

You have the chance to build a sturdy, reliable airframe at a faction of the cost. And if the Americans start giving you grief on the avionics you were going to buy from them, then go hop in to bed with the British or the French and make your own system. Who knows? You might even be able to make a strategic partnership with Mikoyan or Sukhoi directly. Let the Americans build their super expensive fighters while you come and make a fighter that is simple and durable and that works and that other countries can afford.
09:14 March 26, 2012 by tadetlungt
If we go back a little bit more, then the weapons which was provided by US to Afghans to defend themselves against Russia in 1980s was developed in Sweden.

Trend shifted, same weapon is used against US forces by Taliban later on.
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