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Sweden releases Qaddafi aircraft pics

TT/The Local/pvs · 13 May 2011, 16:27

Published: 13 May 2011 16:27 GMT+02:00

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The fighter planes are reported to be standing at an airport in the capital Tripoli.

As the UN-backed Libya mission enters its second month, an opinion poll shows that Swedes are split on the issue of continuing involvement in the effort.

Anders Silwer of the Swedish air force said that the pictures show, that while Qaddafi is not using the planes, they remain intact while pointing out that probably pose no threat.

"There is probably a bomb crater made in the runway so that they can't be used."

They would otherwise have been bombed directly, he said.

Silwer explained that to ensure that the aircraft do not become serviceable again, close monitoring is required and argued that Sweden's contribution remains important in that respect.

"We are responsible for about a third of the intelligence resources accounted for by military aviation," he says.

The Armed Forces have previously only released a few individual photos from the Libya operation.

Questions emerged on Friday about how recently the pictures had been taken, with the Dagens Nyheter daily reporting that there were distinct similarities to the pictures in the Google Earth application.

Neither the armed forces nor Google were able to confirm to the newspaper when exactly the pictures were taken.

The Liberal Party defence policy makers Allan Widman however stated that there is no reason to doubt the Armed Forces' assessment that the pictures show Libyan air force assets.

"If it is Libyan air force, it is clear that as long as Gaddafi is in power, he will have or acquire such resources," Widman said.

Widman however did not want the pictures to be taken as evidence that the mandate for the Swedish Gripen planes to maintain the no-fly zone remained unfinished.

"That assessment has to be for the UN Security Council to do. And if it is felt that the mission is not complete then we should follow," he said.

The Swedish parliamentary mandate for the Libya deployment expires on July 1st.

Social Democrat leader Håkan Juholt has said he finds it very hard to imagine that the mandate would be extended, provoking a storm of criticism from the centre-right parties and from some fellow Social Democrats.

Swedish public opinion is divided on the issue, according to a survey published by Novus on Friday, with 43 percent supporting the withdrawal of the planes on July 1st.

Story continues below…

Some 38 percent of Swedes supported extending the military operation, while the rest remained uncertain.

Novus interviewed 1000 people from May 5th to 10th.

The survey showed that Hakan Juholt had the support among the party's own supporters for his argument to bring the planes home, with 57 percent in favour, while 28 percent backed an extension after July 1st.

A majority of supporters of all the centre-right Alliance coalition parties are in favour of extending the mandate. Some 77 percent of Centre Party voters supported continuing the mission.

The least support for an extension of the mission is among supporters of the Left Party and Sweden Democrats, with a majority in favour of withdrawal.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:01 May 13, 2011 by Nemesis
They spotted them, but did not destroy them.
17:44 May 13, 2011 by McChatter
I count at least 9 objects that look like planes. I can hardly think that Gaddafi will park his planes out in the open. More likely they are decoys to waste Nato rockets.
18:21 May 13, 2011 by Stickeroo
Is that an airport? Or a garden?
19:22 May 13, 2011 by Unconditional1
Perhaps it's an amusement ride...
22:25 May 13, 2011 by Jasoncarter
It's not the biggest bit of military intelligence: Those jets have been parked there since August 2010. Look, here they are in Google Earth:

22:51 May 13, 2011 by RobinHood
Jason, are you telling us Sweden just spent tens of millions of Crowns to get this picture, and you found it on Google Earth in a couple of minutes? You are The Man.
23:08 May 13, 2011 by Jasoncarter
No, I nicked it off of DN, so I'm not going to take credit. But it does appear that the Gripens are flying missions - over the main airport in Tripoli, not some hidden little airfield in the middle of nowhere - taking pictures of an airplane graveyard that's clearly visible to all. Probably the only front line action the Gripen will ever get as well. And a fantastic use of taxpayers money and a fantastic advert for the JAS-39.
06:05 May 14, 2011 by From_San_Diego_to_Sodermalm
Those planes are probably monuments just like other military bases.

Inert rockets, planes and helicopters without engines, tank and truck carcasses, these are all over military bases worldwide as statue and monuments.

The Swedish military is trying to show the public that they are providing something, anything, so that they continue to receive funding to support the mission.

Either the Swedish Air Force is not providing anything other than airtime for their planes and pilots, or what they are doing is not being released publicly.

I say let the French and English handle this one.
08:39 May 14, 2011 by rise
@ From_San_Diego_to_Sodermalm

"I say let the French and English handle this one."

Just like in the WWII then, when Sweden remained its neutrality..?
09:48 May 14, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Wasn't NATO only supposed to control the no-fly zone? Wasn't the operation supposed to protect civilian casualties? They are after Gadaffi and nothing else, with the contribution of the so called "Swedish" neutrality as they showed back in 1941 when they did allow German trains with two million soldiers to finish with the Finns and to wind up the conquest of Norway. If I am wrong, please correct me. What I hope is that no Jas-Gripen crashes due to mechanical failures and then the Swedish tabloids start writing that plane was subject to sabotage actions.

Jas-Gripen in the NATO operations? What a joke.
11:11 May 14, 2011 by RobinHood
@J.L Belamar

"If I am wrong, please correct me."

You are wrong. The UN mandate is to take "all necessary measures ... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack". "Colonel" Gaddafi is not a civilian, he is a Colonel in the Libyan Army. His name is spelled Gaddafi, not "Gadaffi". The German invasion of Norway took place in 1940, not 1941.Germany was not at war with Finland in 1941 (or 1940) and the trains from Sweden to Norway did not transport anywhere near two million German soldiers.
14:37 May 14, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@RobinHood, of Lockley, of Sweden or whatever.

First, my surname is spelled Belmar and not Belamar like you wrote.

Second, NATO is not supposed to kill civilians. For you, to take "all necessary measures" means to make "potatismos" of whoever is hit by a bomb. Including your mother, perhaps.

Third, the name of the Libyan leader can be spelled in 126 different ways.It can be spelled like Muammar Gadhafi, Qaddafi, Kaddafi and 122 more ways. The leader signs as Al Gathafi in his official personal website.

Fourth, it is a fact that more than two million soldiers went back and forth to Norway and Finland, thanks to a treaty sign by Sweden and their beloved Nazis; treaty that ended. In all, close to 100000 railroad cars had transported 1004158 military personnel on leave to Germany and 1037158 to Norway through Sweden

Fifth, you did not question my " Jas-Gripen in the NATO operations? What a joke." comment.

Sixth, why do you hide behind a hood? Oh, I got it now. You are a Swede, a gutsy Swede.

Seventh, as my friend Arnold said in one of his films, "hasta la vista, baby"
00:44 May 15, 2011 by Syftfel
Not sure why this is relevant news. The news focus here should be on how we can prevent throngs of "asyyyyylum" seekers from Libya to end up being supported by the Swedish tax payer.
01:37 May 15, 2011 by rise
@ J. L. Belmar

What's your point? Trying to give Swedes a bad conscience or something? Well, not many people in Sweden cares the slightest of those trains 70 years ago . But go ahead and moan, I'm sure your fellow moaners are singing in and honouring your moaning.
09:49 May 15, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

Are you joking? Giving a bad conscience to those who, read well, in my opinion have no conscience at all? To the cream of the coffe? To the Mighty mice?
13:58 May 15, 2011 by rise
@ J. L. Belmar

But still you haven't told your point... The politicians who lived at that time (1940's) and were making all of these decisions are dead, so let them be dead. Today it's the year of 2011. New generations are making the decisions.

But some people seem to enjoy living in the past..! :P

Personally I couldn't care less of what happened long before I was even born. Sweden did this, Sweden didn't do that, etc. I don't care one single bit. I do however care about what's happening TODAY.
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