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Swedish weapons used by Libyan rebels: report

David Landes · 14 Mar 2011, 17:15

Published: 14 Mar 2011 17:15 GMT+01:00

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At least two foreign television reports of the fighting in Libya have shown rebels carrying older models of the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle, according to Sveriges Television (SVT).

"First and foremost we have to identify the weapon, it that's possible, but I can rule out that it came to Libya legally," Andreas Ekman Duse, head of the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (Inspektionen för strategiska produkter – ISP), told SVT.

Manufactured by Saab Bofors Dynamics, Sveriges, the Carl Gustaf was first developed in 1947 and introduced into Swedish service in 1948. It has since been sold around the world and has featured in conflicts such as the Falklands War and Afghanistan.

Officials at ISP suspect that at least one of the two Carl Gustaf rifles featured in the television reports was manufactured in the 1960s or 1970s and likely ended up in Libya via the UK, which previously had a licence to manufacture the weapon.

According to Ekman Duse, neither the UK nor any other country licenced to produce the Carl Gustaf exported the weapon.

Anna Ek, chair of the Svenska Freds- och skiljedomsförening ('Swedish peace and arbitration society') expressed concern over the revelations that Swedish-made weapons were being used in the Libya conflict.

"I was really surprised because there's been a UN-embargo against Libyafor a long time and Sweden, which says it has tight controls of arms exports, shouldn't have sold weapons that ended up in Libya," she told SVT.

ISP spokesperson Diana Malm confirmed for The Local that, based on the images seen by the agency, the weapon does appear to be a Carl Gustaf.

"But in all probability it is a model that was manufactured in the UK through a licencing agreement," she said.

She explained that arms trade regulations in place at the time the weapon in question was likely produced are very different than rules currently in place.

Between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s, ISP's predecessor agency had an agreement with the British War Office allowing for the Carl Gustaf to be made in the UK.

Under the agreement, the UK also had the right to sell the weapons to British colonies. In addition, purchasing countries had 10 years to do what they wanted with the weapons, including re-exporting them to third countries.

According to Malm, Sweden's current arms export laws "look totally different" than those in place at the time the Carl Gustaf seen in images from the fighting in Libya was likely manufactured.

Among other things, purchasing countries must agree not to re-export weapons purchased from Sweden, she explained.

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She added, however, that the ISP continues to investigate the matter in hopes of determining exactly where the Carl Gustaf anti-tank rifles seen in the television images were made and how they ended up in Libya,

Last Thursday the ISP announced Sweden was halting weapons exports to two states in the Middle East and North Africa.

The day before, the agency reported Sweden saw its military equipment exports rise one percent to 13.7 billion kronor ($2.15 billion) in 2010.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:45 March 14, 2011 by zeero
Sweden in response: "Sweden is a neutral country. we sale weapon to everyone"
18:01 March 14, 2011 by miss79
great way to use the tax!creating built a weapon..how nice sweden is
18:08 March 14, 2011 by SarahPalin
Is it such a surprise that Swedish weapons are being used?

What did you think those weapons were going to be doing after they were made? Fancy paperweights?

Weapons are designed to kill, and once sold they are going to end up in all sorts of "interesting" places.

It should not surprise anyone that once sold a weapon (no matter where its made) is going to be responsible for killings in Arab countries, Africa, America... oh, just lets say at least 6 of of the 7 continents.
19:02 March 14, 2011 by muscle
I would like to point out here. I agree that Sweden might now have sold the weapons directly or indirectly. In fact some third-party would have been involved in the weapons sales. But who gets the blame...? SWEDEN! Just like many of the religions or races are casted as criminals or terrorists by the world, just because some bunch of criminals do something bad, and get weapons made by countries who are apparently against those terrorists!

Nothing against any race or culture or religion. But this is good example, of how activities conducted by others, can land you in the group of terrorists, coupled with media propaganda!
19:15 March 14, 2011 by Deodar
so what, nothing wrong .obs!!!
20:14 March 14, 2011 by unseen
look on the bright side of this story; Swedish weapons are used by freedom fighters:p
20:14 March 14, 2011 by bow290
one name for all of u...."Kalashnikov"

The AK-47 makes the Carl Gustaf look like small change. they are everywhere, on flags. In every affliction!

I've used the Gustaf, I thought i was back in 1949! its better they have the gustaf then say something like a "stinger" ...and without proper training they probably aren't firing the weapon to its max potential.
20:22 March 14, 2011 by diegoveggie
its good for sweden to be on the right side of history for once (at least its weapons)
20:22 March 14, 2011 by voiceofreason
Its so funny the Libyan situation, no one can help the rebels because if they do they will be accused of being crusaders looking for Arab oil.

Why aren't their Arab neighbors helping them out? They want a NATO-enforced No-Fly Zone but on their own terms. Talk of gross hyprocrisy.
21:06 March 14, 2011 by SweAbroad
@bow290 - You must be joking and haven't found the smiley-key on the top left corner of the keyboard, right?

I have used the Carl Gustaf in a variety of situations including its "big brother", the "9cm PVPjäs". I have also used the AK-47. Only someone who doesn't know what they're talking about would compare the CG to an AK47 (a fine calibre assault rifle) or a "stinger" (anti-aircraft missile).

The CG is a multirole (anti-tank/armour/fortification/illumination - NB not anti-aircraft!) weapon popular also within NATO, including a special US version (M3-MAAWS/RAWS). It's in use by special forces around the world.
00:51 March 15, 2011 by LeoKinmann
funny media we have today. if chinese weapon or russian weapon are found in such places, china and russia are labeled as the culprits and accusations of violating weapons embargo against certain countries follow in the proper order. however, if swedish weapons end up in those places, then OMG!!!! it must be a mistake!!!
00:55 March 15, 2011 by technoviking
The devil you know is better than the one you don't know...

Go Qaddafi!
06:26 March 15, 2011 by Da Goat
probably a good Chinese clone of the CG stop worrying Sweden.

if one party has money and another has the goods then it is going to happen,

its inevitable, even if they don't have it they will just make some up or find some ! If you don't sell it someone else will. If Sweden did not sell the CG's then someone else did and put the money in their own pocket or is that too simple?
10:13 March 15, 2011 by Nemesis
Good, export more of them.

Create more jobs in Sweden and Europe.
13:24 March 15, 2011 by miss79
@nemesis LOL..ur right..and dont forget to blame everything on the immigrants..why they are here or "eating" up our taxes..is actually the IMMIGRANTS should blaming us- the swedes..
14:02 March 15, 2011 by bolababu
your guns promote war in their lands, ..you had better build more immigrant facilities to house the influx of refugees these situations create and while at it, increase your police force.
13:46 March 16, 2011 by Nemesis
@ miss79,

My comment was to export more.

As for your comment directed at me. I have no idea what you are talking about.
22:46 March 16, 2011 by bow290
hey SweAbroad,

I was not comparing the calibre or damage done ... but the amount of Ak's around the world compared to the KG. maybe i didn't make myself clear enough in my comment.

I know about the diff rounds but thanks again for the tutorial. read my comment again maybe?! back in Australia we use the steyr, haven't fired a AK sad to say. but i have fired 66's, F89's F88's, claymores, used GLA's, thrown a few grenades and stepped on the on twig or two prowling through the dark. thanks again for your comment, keep up the good work.
20:16 March 21, 2011 by Zarzor73
Moving the bodies of martyrs to the hospital in Tripoli, and claim that they died in the strikes. doctors working in one hospital in the city of Tripoli today, March 21, 2011 at 13:00 GMT said that Gaddafi s forces entered old dead bodies into the hospital and want to come to the press and taking pictures of those killed that they were killed in the raids coalition forces and doctors knew those killed people disappeared after demonstrations in Tripoli from some district in Tripoli called Souk il Gomaa
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