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Outrage over Swedish arms sales to Saudis

TT/The Local · 11 Oct 2010, 18:19

Published: 11 Oct 2010 18:19 GMT+02:00

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“We’re talking about one of the world’s worst dictatorships. We can’t send weapons to dictatorships that should be buying food instead,” Green Party defence policy spokesperson Peter Rådberg told the TT news agency on Monday.

The comments come after a report published in Jane’s Defence Weekly, one of the world’s foremost publications on the defence industry, revealed Saudi Arabia as the buyer in a 4.5 billion kronor ($669 million) deal for a Saab-produced advanced early warning radar system.

The system, known as the Saab 2000 Airborne Early Warning & Control system, includes Saab 2000 aircraft equipped with the advanced ERIEYE radar system, as well as ground equipment and logistics and support services.

Saab announced the deal last week, but didn’t divulge the name of the client.

According to Jane’s, Saudi Arabia is interested in the Swedish system’s ability to see low and slow-moving flying objects and because it works well over both land and water.

Rådberg was also reacting to statistics published on Monday from the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (Inspektionen för strategiska produkter - ISP) which show that Saudi Arabia received arms shipments from Sweden as recently as August.

Swedish military products were also sent to Saudi Arabia in March, April and May of this year.

The exports in August and March were classified as combat materiel, which can include “missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, etc.”

The opposition Red-Green coalition has long called for a comprehensive review of Sweden’s arms export procedures. Rådberg added that deals like the one between Saab and Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be allowed if the Green Party had the chance to decide on the matter.

Swedish military exports to Saudi Arabia also caused a stir earlier this year following a report that another Saab subsidiary, Saab Bofors Dynamics, sold anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia.

Story continues below…

While Saab refused to confirm that it was involved in the deal, which was approved in 2002, it has since been sent to the Riksdag committee on the constitution for review.

Revelations about Swedish arms sales to Saudi Arabia also angered Hans Linde, foreign policy spokesperson for the Left Party, who blamed Sweden’s complicated export rules.

“If we had gotten a red-green government we would have introduced legislation which, in my estimation, would have stopped weapons exports to countries like Saudi Arabia,” Linde told TT.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:32 October 11, 2010 by truthworthy
Sweden is supporting its sons and daughters with the illegal war of USA in Afghanistan, why aren't they complaining about that instead of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
19:32 October 11, 2010 by asian369
bla bla bla.... eventually weapons will be sold out.
20:14 October 11, 2010 by N0DE
trustworthy has a valid point. A very valid one.
20:18 October 11, 2010 by Marko2010S
"world's worst dictatorships"

According to who? Based on which criteria?

It's funny to read that mindless-goons banging about things they have no idea about. Basically spouting despicable propaganda and lies.
20:27 October 11, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
If they came out and said "We are against arms sales to Saudi Arabia due to their womens/human rights record and draconian legal system" I'd sympathize with you. But instead, the screaming lefties only prove once again their real, backwards, hypocritical agenda.
20:27 October 11, 2010 by boby

You should go and live in Saudi. Please do send us post cards of your life in that great advanced democracy.


US war on Afranistan is probably the most justified war since the war on the Nazis. If you dont like it, I will buy you a one way ticket to Kabul so you can join your beloved Taliban.
20:32 October 11, 2010 by miss79
marko, u will cry in if u stay in saudi..trust me then u realise how grateful u are that ur from sweden
20:33 October 11, 2010 by Nemesis
This deal is good news.

That wil be more jobs secured in Sweden.

The more jobs are secured inside Europe to export to outside the Europe the better.

I hope they get more deals.
20:39 October 11, 2010 by arslan11
The world champion of human rights and father of sweden, US has approved record defense deal of 60 billion dollars to Saudis which include F-15 eagles etc..

This will help democracy in Saudia like the attack on Iraq has brought ideal democratic government after killing around 100,000 innocent civilions
20:39 October 11, 2010 by RobinHood
"We're talking about one of the world's worst dictatorships. We can't send weapons to dictatorships that should be buying food instead,"

Why does Peter Rådberg offer Saudi Arabia advice on food imports? Does the poor chap actually believe Saudia Arabian citizens are short of food?

In the league table of the world's worst dictatorships, Saudi Arabia is decidedly mid table.

If this the best the Greens have? Or is this what happens when they wander off the only agenda they are competent to comment on?
20:41 October 11, 2010 by Avidror
@ boby

There have been other justifiable wars than the one in Afghanistan since the Second World War: Israel's fight against its enemies during the Six-Day War and NATO's war against Serbia during the 90s are good examples.
21:17 October 11, 2010 by boby
@ arslan11

I just love it when people like you trun the facts around. 90 % of the 100,000 people killed in Iraq where killed by their own brothers and sisters ,the Iraqis themselves.
21:39 October 11, 2010 by N0DE
boby, the self-declared knowledge hub of sweden:

1. Who inflicted war on poor iraqis, remember Weapons of Mass Destruction ?? Found them??? Who planted Al-qaeeda in Iraq?? There wasn't any Alqaeeda in Iraq before War.

2. 10 years of war against Afghanistan, and allies have lost it. Now looking for scapegoats (in the form of Pakistan and Iran) + face saving exit.

War based on injustice can never be won.

P.s : There were NO iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Iranians involved in September 11 attacks. But these countries have been thrown in war
21:48 October 11, 2010 by boby

And Iraq was a peace loving, safe country before the war? I guess gasing some Kurdish women and children and killing some thousands of Iranians and others does not count. US tried to do a good thing- Iraqis went bananas and killed each other instead of building their country. Compare to what happend with Germany in WW2 and how US helped them out and where they are today.

Afganistan was alqueeda base before 9/11. It was a huge terrorist training camp led by the Taliban.

The war to remove the Taliban is one of the most justified wars in the history books, its true what you say, and sad, that the Afgans can not take the chance they have been given and instaed they prefer to go back to the middleages
22:44 October 11, 2010 by asian369
"We're talking about one of the world's worst dictatorships. We can't send weapons to dictatorships that should be buying food instead,"

$669 million for the arms + FEW MILLION $ more to keep the mouth shut...
22:56 October 11, 2010 by Tdye
@ N0DE

good to see you are still an idiot..

Who inflicted war on poor iraqis, remember Weapons of Mass Destruction ??

NATO did you embolism..More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center thats nine..zero

Found them??? yeah and we killed him.. well actually Iraqi officials killed him for war crimes

Who planted Al-qaeeda in Iraq?? what?..i mean huh how stupid is this question Al-Qaeda "planted al-Qaeda in Iraq

There wasn't any Alqaeeda in Iraq before War..seems you know a lot about al-Qaeda and their whereabouts... Afghanistan.Pakistan and Iraq harbor the Taliban and al-Qaeda and frankly who cares if they were from any of those countrys?..if there are any found in Sweden guess what? they will be brought to justice as well in America.. the world is no safe hiding from terrorists

@bobby.. ill split the air fare with you for that idiot.. it would be the best investment i will ever make

@ truthworthy how can you say it is an "illegal war"? it is a justified war.. not that America needs permission to bring murders to justice anyways we have half of the world backing us (America) even Sweden has it's had in it..which im shocked and i really doubt that 5,000 or is it 500 Swedish troops could cost that much money..Sweden is selling weapons because it is going broke taking care of all the scum immigrants that wont work and pay their own way..im not Swedish but i am American and i know how it is that scum immigrants wont do their parts.. they bleed the system dry and cause everything to get higher and higher in cost..you want to be a part of your new country? you want a "better life" how about all the scum that is sucking the life out of country's like Sweden and America and Sweden get to work!..cant get a job? volunteer your time.. clean the streets..build things..earn your keep thats why Sweden is selling weapons
23:49 October 11, 2010 by wenddiver
I thought the left was supposed to be open minded. God knows if some Kebab coker sets his Swedish wife on fire because she insulted Islam by not walking behind him or something the entire left will turn out to defend him.

But when a Government helps hunt down terrorist nut jobs that are their citizens, we act like they don't deserve to sit in the same room. The house of Saud is no threat to Israel, never took part in any of those wars and wants the weapons to defend against people that everybody in the west considers the enemy like Iran. No doubt they learned a valuable lesson when Saddam Insane rolled into Kuwaite.

When freedom is threatened some nations will send a resolution to the UN and some can come to your aid with 11 Super Carrier Battle Groups, real Warriors with Combat experience, complete Air Superiority, and enough m&ms to rot every tooth in your country. A friend will help you move, a real friend will help you move the bodies.

The house of Saud lives in a rough neighborhood and deserves the weapons.
00:49 October 12, 2010 by LordSqueak
Machetes or Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Poke someone hard enough with either of them, and they will start leaking.

Focus more on preventing wars instead of trying to stop weapons from being sold.
01:16 October 12, 2010 by maxbrando
Sweden should feel lucky that these sales occurred.

1. The income is wonderful.

2. The taxes will boost your welfare system.

3. Sweden understands what the system is. It will require years of tech support - and profits for many years.

4. God forbid that you are trying to understand what the Russuians sold them in your place. Then you would understand nothing.

5. If Sweden does not sell them the war materials, somebody else will - FOR SURE.

Don't be your usual selves, dummies.
01:23 October 12, 2010 by Hindustani786
Guyz, Don't be so panic about this issue.

Do you think saudi's are so educated to use this sophisticated weapons.



Ur calculation about iraqis death are incorrect.

IRIN, reported in 2006 that there are 8 million widows nation-wide, with upwards of 330,000 in Baghdad alone.

start count-down. U will be shocked.
02:55 October 12, 2010 by ngecenk

"NATO did you embolism..More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center thats nine..zero

Found them??? yeah and we killed him.. well actually Iraqi officials killed him for war crimes"

So is that really why Americans went to invade Iraq? Really? Because last time i checked:


the reason is WMD such as yellowcake or sarin gas which is still cant be found. my biggest condolence to every victim of 9/11, but it seems like you use that a lot to 'justify' the attack.

please use facts and common sense and put aside your emotion. if iraqi attack was about the people who responsible to 9/11, please provide proofs. and there's no connection between iraq and 9/11
02:59 October 12, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
Small sale by these standards:


I don't get the wierd comment about food....Saudi is fantastically wealthy...do the Green's even know which country they are talking about (Hint: It isn't Somalia..)?

Given Syria and Iran's current war-like expansions, Pakistan's instabilities and the total guess as to what will happen in Iraq I would think the Saudi's have a right to buy some defensive weaponry (they aren't going conquering with that shopping list...those are defensive upgrades). Let's not forget that India isn't exactly that fond of S.A. either.

If the Greens want to only sell weapons to the Swedish armed forces I can understand that but the food-not-guns rationale sounds like a sixties sit-in, not a political policy...
03:08 October 12, 2010 by Da Goat
It is much better to sell them a large item that we know about and can shoot down if necessary than to sell them piles of small things like guns and ammo that they can pass on to Afghanistan that will come back and bite us you know where!

get maximum cash for minimum risk I say!
04:35 October 12, 2010 by millionmileman
This is good news for Saab and the Saudis need to defend themselves from the 4th Reichistan of Iran.
05:54 October 12, 2010 by wabasha
cheers to Saab! so sell a plane thats been out of production for 10 years.
07:31 October 12, 2010 by Marc the Texan
They're going to buy weapons from someone so why not Sweden? The rest of the world can't be as perfect and democratic as Sweden. Some of these bleeding hearts need to get real and find some practical goals beyond selling your own country short.
07:38 October 12, 2010 by Tdye
@ ngecenk

i am going to bow out of this discussion for no other reason than you used Wikipedia as a source of "proof"

seeings how you depend in Wiki for your proof.. im sure if you searched around on there you will read that it isnt America.. it was a group of countrys that the UN agreed to fight that war and to remove Saddam from power..ot to mention.. the war in Iraq was never officially over between the US and Iraq.. intill this yearit was an undeclared war to remove Saddam from power..im sure you could wiki or google that

and anyone with an IQ score of 12 knows that Bush lied to the American people ad the world.. no one is disputing that.. he did all of this mess is caused by Bush and Blair not the USA..but a dumb republican and his UK butt liker..blame them.. not America...but i see it is pointless to argue that point with you.. it is about the same as going to a library and not knowing how to read
07:57 October 12, 2010 by orangecake
I hope this does not come back to bite us when the tensions between the west and the middle-east/islam reach critical mass and the inevitable war breaks out.

It's about time western countries learned that selling weapons to religious nutters and dictatorships is NOT worth the money. And morally wrong.
08:39 October 12, 2010 by Marko2010S
@DavidtheNorseman #22

"I don't get the wierd comment about food....Saudi is fantastically wealthy...do the Green's even know which country they are talking about"

Exactly !

However this proves the following points:

1- The vast majority people who comment on this site are bunch of proper goons who have no idea about anything.

2- Green Party & its spokesperson Peter Rådberg are extremely ignorant and they are the same type of elements which are mentioned in point#1.

3- The real level of TheLocal, it blindly publishes any news regardless of its validity or quality.
09:06 October 12, 2010 by orangecake

The food comment was silly, but the fact remains that Saudi is a hotbed of human rights abuse...which is the same for any country that has the evil of shariah as central to policy making.

And I hope you include yourself in point 1.
10:51 October 12, 2010 by wiserthanmos
If the Swedish don't sell their weapons to the muslim countries, where can they get the money to feed the muslims populations here in their own country? You slave-swedes are so naive.
10:57 October 12, 2010 by marianne667
What worries me is not the Saudis but where these arms are evenually going to end up?
11:11 October 12, 2010 by donutwallah
The house of Saud is corrupt and wicked.
11:27 October 12, 2010 by asian369
Al-qaeeda and Taliban took birth in Pentagon , raised and nourised in Afghanistan by heavy funding through 53rd state of USA(Pakistan) and now yielding profit to their masters for achieving LONG TERM objectives.
11:30 October 12, 2010 by wiserthanmos
Where these idiots got the idea that muslims countries have the ability to united and declare war on the West? Let's talk about it shall we? Yes, they have 1 billion muslims running around there, but where are they? Let's see, 200 millions of them are in Indonesia surrounded by 2 billion smart non muslim Asians, if the Indo-muslims make any noises they will be shut down in a few heart beats! Another 150-180 millions in Banladesh, Banladesh? The only threatens they can pose to the West are poverty, diseases and refugees! Another 100-150 millions in Idia, well, 1 billion Hindu can take care of them easily! Another 170 millions in Pakistan, once again the only threatens they pose is poverty and refugees! The rest of them are scatter from Central-Asia to the Middle-East to Africa, and again the only threatens are poverty and refugees! So you see, if the West stop giving Aid to these countries...they all are in trouble!!!
11:43 October 12, 2010 by Abdi Darar
the case of Soudi may be its different but we had numerous times that weapons have been supplied many of african countries and that couse mass distraction. so who is respobiable, dont tell me african warlords and dictators, and the whole continet are bleeding.
12:09 October 12, 2010 by Audrian
Once you have put a right wing government you have to accept its right wing policies: (1) Selling government assets to friends and corporations who financed political campaign. In the long run, these financial relations bring politicians under the control of banks, and financial institutions (e.g., the US is a typical example). (2) There is no morality in foreign policy. Selling weapons to any buyers is one of them. (3) Supporting United State's foreign policy makes it possible to penetrate America's protected market for weapons, e.g., to date, the US allows Britain and Sweden to sell limited number of weapons to Saudi Arabia. (4) Foreign assistance is used for selling Swedish products or employing Swedes.
12:12 October 12, 2010 by crocadoodledoo
@boby, although i would love to agree with you you gotto consider how terrorist camps evolved in pakistan in the first place. The CIA financially supported pakistani ISI alias taliban (previously known as 'mujahideens' in the 70s-80s) and nurtured them to scuttle arch rivals USSR in afghanistan. Once USSR disintegrated, CIA came out of af-pak , taliban took over afghanistan and ran all their radical schools of terrorism wíth the help of the thriving opium produce there.

Now, the current af-pak war can never be won by NATO as US still funds pakistan which eventually gets siphoned off to taliban.

iraq war was 100% personal vendetta by GWbush.
12:32 October 12, 2010 by spo10
well for all we know they've already sold as many Swedish arms that we could ever think of to other countries including Saudi Arabia.
12:42 October 12, 2010 by ngecenk

yes, but you can start looking from wikipedia, thats why they have quotation reference on the bottom of every page. scroll down! you'll notice that the source came from Washington Post, CNN, NYT, etc. Are you against those too?

well actually no. every time i google what i found is UN is AGAINST the invasion. can you give me source saying UN agreed the invasion? And its also funny how you can say "UK butt liker" but gone mad when people dissing US. It was American who vote Bush for the second time, and thats after he brought two war to the American.

So you know Bush lied, yet you agree on his policy to invade? isnt that confusing?
23:10 October 12, 2010 by jazzIIIlove
Sweden be at least consistent:

1) far right in Riksdag.

2) Troops in Afghanistan.

3) and selling weaponary to a 3rd world suppressed country.

I love the reputation of Sweden:

full of peace, neutral...who else believes in joke full of bull of skit?
23:57 October 12, 2010 by farooqkifayat
No one said any thing when they sold billions of dollars woth of the stuff to a poverty ridden country like Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia is loaded with money.
09:40 October 13, 2010 by jbat
@ bobby

most justified war for oil...

Read this :

"Charlie Wilson's War is a 2007 American biographical comedy drama film recounting the true story of U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson (D-TX) who partnered with "bare knuckle attitude" CIA operative Gust Avrakotos to launch Operation Cyclone, a program to organize and support the Afghan mujahideen in their resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan."

MORE HERE... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Wilson%27s_War)
09:58 October 13, 2010 by jbat
@ wiserthanmos

You have to read the history... no one win when come to war between religion, unless you start nuking each other in this world and all die!

Don´t be too arrogant with your stupidity... non muslim country like American surely have done it long time ago if they can do it (so they can take all oil from those country for forever, at this moment not event Iraq they can really conquer).. and do you think that all the races in this world hate muslims like your stupid brain do and will be on your side if war started? (even the Russias you cannot predict which side they will support.. )

Again you show your stupidity, you said "if the West stop giving Aid to these countries...they all are in trouble!!! " Can you imagine if all muslims live in 1 united world without any help of the west? Do you think will be become weak and vanish just like that? One of the reason why muslims are very weak now because of they are not united and they are hoping for the help from outsiders (World bank is no 1, US no 2 as most of them are under this country influence).. Don´t you know the most effective strategy to win over any people or race is by "divide and conquer"?

So again, don´t be too arrogant with your way of thinking and start calling other people idiots..
00:09 October 14, 2010 by Tdye
@ jbat

seriously ..stop relying on wiki for your information

not sure if you get news where you are from but America has taken Iraq over..we are in the process of giving it back to Iraq..hence why Americans are training their "police" and "military" (thats funny) and if the west does in fact stop Aid to those countrys they would be screwed.. what are they going to eat? there are only so many camels there ever hear of the food for oil program? obviously they need food cause they are willing to trade for it..im not sure exactly how the soil is there but im pretty sure it is kind hard to grow vegetables in sand

"divide and conquer"? can you name one war that was won by this concept? im pretty sure what they meant when they coined that phrase was on the battle field if they flank their opponents theres is a good chance to beat them..i cant think of one actual war that the winners used that concept to win battle..no country divided can stand not to mention win...hence during all of the major wars of the world for all time city's,towns,country's united

you even sad it yourself :

"One of the reason why muslims are very weak now because of they are not united"

i wouldt be so arrogant with YOUR way of thinking and start calling others Idiots
11:08 October 14, 2010 by Tdye
@ ngecenk yes he did lie..and yes he may have been told a lie i dont know no one will ever know why he lied and if he was lied to first.. he is my country's worst president...ever however..I do agree with the "invasion" Saddam was a murdering scum that needed to be removed.. now he is gone and hopefully Iraq will be able to move in to the 21st century

that shouldn't be confusing at all..the world is less one tyrant and murderer..now we need to get Osama..i dont know what country you are from but your counrty is a much better place with ou the likes of Saddam in the world today I'm not sure how you could be against Iraq actually becoming a free counrty well..free-ish they still have their islmic laws but they are better off...

the world should rejoice...it is a sad thing that allof those people had to die.. but thats why they call it war..i oppose any war however..every now and then something good comes out of it
18:57 October 14, 2010 by KungsholmenGuy
Saudi arabia = world's worst dictatorship?

Recall that a vastly more frightening nation (in terms of its senior leadership) is Iran, a nation where women get stoned to death for adultery, and a nation that is also going to be capable of nuclear weapons attacks on its neightbours soon.

Saudi Arabia may not be perfect, but becaue it has long been considered a friend of the USA, it may legitimately want to keep itself well equipped for reasons of self defense.
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