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Minister in Saudi Arabia 'dictatorship' U-turn

The Local · 13 Aug 2012, 14:24

Published: 13 Aug 2012 14:24 GMT+02:00

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“We don’t make up lists of countries, but it is clear that it isn’t a democracy,” Enström told national broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR) on Monday morning.

Saudi Arabia is once again at the very top of organization Freedom House’s list of the “Worst of the worst” most repressive societies. There are no general elections in the country, women are not allowed to drive a car and flogging and amputation are generally approved penalties, according to daily Aftonbladet.

However, Sweden continues to export weapons to the country, something that many human rights organizations have questioned.

“We don’t make lists of countries and in this case, when you evaluate a country in order to decide whether to export arms or not, there are a number of criteria that need to be met,” Enström told SR.

She was unwilling to answer whether or not, arms export aside, she viewed Saudi Arabia as a dictatorship.

“We don’t make this distinction between countries, but of course it is safe to say it is a very authoritarian regime,” Enström said.

According to the head of the human rights organization Civil Rights Defenders, Robert Hårdh, the minister’s unwillingness to call the country a dictatorship is peculiar.

“When it comes to Saudi Arabia it really isn’t a question of a borderline case, it is an obvious dictatorship,” Hårdh told SR.

According to Hårdh, the hesitance to use a word like “dictatorship” could be due to the unwillingness to make other business interests more complicated, like arms exports to the country in question.

“These ventures become more difficult if you use a strong word like dictatorship,” he told SR.

In the foreign ministry’s description of Saudi Arabia, the word “dictatorship” isn’t used. Instead it states that the country is “an absolute monarchy without an elected, democratic representation or political parties”.

The word “dictatorship” isn’t used about Cuba or North Korea either, according to news agency TT.

However, Enström was on Monday criticized for her unwillingness to use the word "dictatorship", both by members of the opposition and by her own government colleague, minister for education, Jan Björklund.

"Saudi Arabia is one of the world's worst dictatorships and there should be no confusion as to Sweden's stand on that," he told TT.

Story continues below…

Later on Monday, Enström did a U-turn and issued a statement clarifying the government's position.

"Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian regime and an absolute monarchy, where serious crimes against human rights are committed. The government does not sort the countries of the world into democracies and dictatorships but if one can only choose between describing Saudi Arabia as a democracy or as a dictatorship, Saudi Arabia should be described as a dictatorship," she wrote.

TT/The Local/rm


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:59 August 13, 2012 by StockholmSam
Slow news day.
11:26 August 13, 2012 by OUIJA
Is it compulsory to say whatever "human rights" organizations wants?
12:46 August 13, 2012 by truthworthy
Remember: Money talks and makes you silent. In this case it is latter.
13:06 August 13, 2012 by Rishonim
How about organizing a teddy bear drop campaign over Saudi Arabia?
13:33 August 13, 2012 by Dazzler
Most likely because the Saudi airforce would blow them clean out of the sky.
13:42 August 13, 2012 by OUIJA

Yes! Let's do it
13:44 August 13, 2012 by robban70226
mmm the Us say not dictator to they buddy.. so you better play the game...
14:02 August 13, 2012 by Uncle
I really do not understand the problem. What the left wing is whining about now? The name - "dictatorship"?

Is there nothing that the human rights organizations have to deal with, but this?

It seems that they do not understand that stopping selling weapons is not going to harm the dictators. Dictators have money and they can buy weapons from others, while Swedish economy will suffer, especially if all the mentioned lack of freedom of females and torture is not done with the help of Swedish weapons.

The same human rights activists are hanging around in Malaysian made clothes, Chinese made shoes, eating Maroccan made fruits and Vietnamese made rice. They are enjoying Iranian carpets at home. They are going on vacation to Cuba, Maldives and Thailand. They can afford driving cars because of mostly authoritarian OPEC or authoritarian ethanol providers.

They are not freezing at home and taking their "miljövänligt" trains to see their grandmas, because of authoritarian gas providers.

They are gladly providing euros and dollars to these oppressive regimes, while their only work in life is to moan about what this money is going for.

Want to take this money from the "bad people"? Invest your time into inventing alternatives to what the "bad people" provide. Convince the masses that they are much better off walking around in clothes made out of European cotton only and that a vacation in Luxemburg is much better than at Ivory Coast. Until then - stop wasting taxpayers money.
14:04 August 13, 2012 by nolikegohome
w´hat a sad day for sweden Madame Karin Enström would do well if she just read the list from Freedon House.
14:07 August 13, 2012 by jimmyjames
It is the typical hypocrasy. The Saudi's have oil that everyone has to have to fuel their nations and they have literal oceans of money so they get a pass on torture, mayhem, murder, and total disregard for the human dignity. Yet in contrast the Swedish government and all other self-proclaimed liberal, western, enlightened governments will quickly jump on some sub-Saharan African country, or South American country, ect. This is the reason why all humans should, as a matter of coarse, treat ALL governments exactly like a rattle snake because they are inherently dangerous and will cross their own citizens out in a heartbeat if it serves the interests of the power elites and the big money. NEVER EVER TRUST ANY GOVERNMENT OR THE REPRESENTATIVES OF GOVERNMENTS.......EVER !!!!
14:45 August 13, 2012 by hatim
I know for a fact that all of Saudi Air Force would call in sick on the first sign of trouble. It has happened in UAE once, no kidding.
14:51 August 13, 2012 by foxpur

Anarchy doesn't really solve the problem, what do you propose as an alternative. There is no PERFECT system, never has been.
15:07 August 13, 2012 by Cephalectomy
#8 i think you are not realizing many of the swedish made weapons might have been the ones sent to syrian rebells "which have been said to be terrorists" by many of the independant media and press.

you might say hey this is ok, a dictator has to be removed, but then i will tell you, why just supporting syria, but not bahrain, burma and the many other countries living under dictatorshop and dying in prisons. why this sudden love to "help" the syrian people? open your eyes and go check the independant media instead of
16:08 August 13, 2012 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
I think she looks pretty hot in that foto...does anybody know if she`s single ?
16:15 August 13, 2012 by Uncle

I think that you are fresh here and you are not exactly aware of my opinions. So let's pass on shoving arguments into my mouth, as if they were mine.

1. Logically, according to you, Sweden should stop trade with Turkey, USA, France, GB and other "normal" countries that actually DO support rebels with weaponry, unlike Saudi Arabia. At least more or less openly.

2. There was no indication currently on any swedish weapons freshly delivered to any rebels. "Might have been" does not count.

3. There is no weapon embargo on Saudi Arabia.

4. Russia openly provides weapons to almost all dictatorships in the world. Why are the expectations on Russians different?

5. The reasoning in the above statements of human rights organizations are cruel punishment and women rights. Could you be so kind as to connect the weaponry to these problems.

6. Please provide argumentation that would demand Sweden to stop trading weapons, but continue paying for oil, on which the entire Swedish economy holds, with money that can BUY weapons (the method of not giving drugs to a junkie, but giving him money).

Do not forget that only the fact that Sweden buys oil from OPEC, indirectly puts money in the pockets of Saudis, even if there is no pipe from SA to Sweden.

7.How is your argument connected to "dictatorship" argument?
16:30 August 13, 2012 by byke
I wonder how Sweden react to pressure if one of their citizens started dropping leaflets and teddy bears over Saudi Arabia - explaining that much of the guns and bullets used to kill innocent women and children comes from Sweden with love.
18:13 August 13, 2012 by Uncle

"It is the typical hypocrasy. The Saudi's have oil"

Then how do you explain:

"The word "dictatorship" isn't used about Cuba or North Korea either, according to news agency TT"?

Much oil from North Korea? All of this gas from Cuba? Or these are just exceptions to the rule of Swedish "typical hypocrisy"? Or you intentionally did not notice the above just to offload a bit of feces on Swedes?
18:24 August 13, 2012 by theibmsstate
If Saudi Arabia stop OIL to sweden and all over the world then you cannt survive. many people are just happy to say against Muslims,but Muslims never want to say bad things and not against non-muslims.

this discussion useless, if you have brain and your intellectual you will think if saudi will stop oil on sweden then what will happen.

Think positive.
19:20 August 13, 2012 by Uncle

"many people are just happy to say against Muslims,but Muslims never want to say bad things and not against non-muslims."

Hahhahaa. AAAAAAHHAHAHHAHAA... Hold me, I am dying... AAHAHHAA

No... no.. muslims never EVER would say a bad thing against non-muslims...Aahhhhhaaaaahaahhhaaaa!

No. There is no official support of antisemitism. All the christians are happy in sharia countries... Buddhists never EVER had a clash with islamists. African polytheists never had any conflict with a muslim. Hindus are hugging and singing "Kumbaya" with muslims. Orthodox russians and greek never disagreed with muslims.

Atheists are glorified and loved in islamic countries. Muslims are mostly open to their daughters marrying protestants.

Never EVER did a muslim media say a negative thing about western nations.

theibmsstate - you are a KING of posts from this moment on!
01:07 August 14, 2012 by IranianBoy
Reasoning: If Sweden doesn't sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, they have money, so they will buy it from somewhere else and Sweden's economy will suffer.

Same reasoning 70 years ago: If Sweden doesn't sell iron to Hitler, they have money, they will buy it from somewhere else. So let's have some gentlemen business with Hitler :)
07:02 August 14, 2012 by Uncle
Reasoning: If selling weapons to ANY dictatorship is immoral, let's just give money for any goods and services to all dictatorships and sleep tight, because we never actually gave them weapons. Let us also let pedophiles work in kindergartens instead of ACTUALLY providing them with children.

Reasoning: Since I am a muslim and the WWII is connected to my history approximately like the Mexican civil war of the 19 century is connected to Sami, I have learned that comparing ANYTHING from traffic jams to any non-democracy to Hitler and Holocaust will cause the the westerners to become quiet and agree, while sighing meaningfully. It gives weight to any argument.
08:58 August 14, 2012 by OUIJA
@ Uncle

Mufti Hai Amin el Husseini (muslim): In 1943 the Mufti travelled several times to Bosnia, where on orders of the SS he recruited the notorious "Hanjar troopers," a special Bosnian Waffen SS company which slaughtered 90% of Bosnia's Jews and burned countless Serbian churches and villages. These Bosnian Muslim recruits rapidly found favor with SS chief Heinrich Himmler, who established a special Mullah Military school in Dresden.

The only condition the Mufti set for his help was that after Hitler won the war, the entire Jewish population in Palestine should be liquidated. After the war, Husseini fled to Switzerland and from there escaped via France to Cairo, were he was warmly received. The Mufti used funds received earlier from the Hilter regime to finance the Nazi-inspired Arab Liberation Army that terrorized Jews in Palestine.

I have read many of your arguments in different threads and you have one big problem: You are never wrong.

so Uncle. I'm not going to keep on wasting my time teaching you something you couldn't be bothered to learn for yourself.
10:56 August 14, 2012 by smilingjack
just following orders like a good little soldier - straight from her boss the USA.

Syria was suppose to fall over ( with the saudi's support ) so they could move onto Iran and then Pakistan. But those pesky russians had other ideas.

China also has a few thoughts on letting the entire middle east turn into a waste land courtesy of the yanks.

Syria is just a minor distraction. The big one is coming and will rock the world.

Make sure you send your thank you letters to Israel and their puppets the USA.
11:29 August 14, 2012 by Uncle

Didn't get enough? Mmm

Who said that I did not know about the wonderful Bosnian Waffen SS? You should have digged in my posts better. You shall also look into Persian cooperation with the nazis, as well as Jordanian palestinians' one. I support you in your refusal of "future teaching" of me, since I doubt that you could renew for me ANYTHING in this world, based on our previous encounters.

What I meant by non-connection to history is the emotional disconnection of those in islamic countries to this war, since they were either colonies passively passed from one empire to other, or cooperated with the nazis.

So a war that exterminated Jews, Christians and Atheists is not seen as such an awful thing in the history books of islamic countries. That is why some guests in this country are using WWII with a light heart. Saudis=Hitler, Reinfeld=Hitler, Muslim unemployment in Europe = Holocaust, Aleppo = Stalingrad... Get the point?
11:46 August 14, 2012 by rami_20
@CJ from Sunshine Desserts

She does, doesnt she!
14:06 August 14, 2012 by IranianBoy
Dear Uncle,

I see you have done your homework i.e. figuring what I write in other news... Unfortunately for you, that doesnt make you more correct. Still the burden of justification lies with right wing racists to answer why so much similarity exists between Hitler, Hitler's policies and right winger racists. I am sure you are proud to call yourself a right winger racist.

And please let's be objective :) Did Sweden sell iron to Hitler or not? Was their reasoning as yours is or not?

let's have another analogy:

Reasoning: If Sweden doesn't sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, they have money, so they will buy it from somewhere else and Sweden's economy will suffer.

Similar reasoning: Why should people stop killing each other? because if people do not kill each other, they will finally die :)

btw I am not a muslim, but unlike you, I respect muslims. Well I am not a right winger racist like.... who? ;)
14:38 August 14, 2012 by Uncle

I am enjoying to be a right wing racist as you are probably enjoying to be an Al Qaida militant. Get the parallel mmm ? ;)

Or islam became a nationality all of a sudden? Or talking about islamic assistance to nazis is racist by itself, mmm ?

Now, it is becoming obvious that your logic suffers from some mortal disease. Saudi Arabia = Nazi Germany. Selling weapons = actively murdering people.

If you would really be interested in preventing dictatorships from having lethal weapons that they boast to use the moment they can, you shall be in the forefront of those who would love to see a carpet bombing of every nuclear installation of Iran. But you are not there, aren't you?

Saudi Arabia is not in war. It is not using the weapons to supress women or hang gays on the streets. However they use MONEY and KORAN to oppress and kill. So weapons are even less relevant to this dictatorship than buying oil from them or accepting that there is sharia law there.

But the above is not for some like ... who? Aaaa, those who are open minded to oppression of women, gay execution, beheading, Mein Kampf studying and other respectable activities that are such a popular hobby in sharia...
19:41 August 15, 2012 by OUIJA

"What I meant by non-connection to history is the emotional disconnection of those in islamic countries to this war, since they were either colonies passively passed from one empire to other, or cooperated with the nazis."

I bet you were up all night trying to come up that one.

By the way, somewhere along these threads you wrote that Mexico should jail all of those Mexicans trying to cross illegally over the boarder to the United States

This is the statement of the year and proves the level of your intelligency.

And if you can, only if you can, which I seriously doubt, do not let debaters to guess what you meant. Write it clearly.

You occasionally stumble over the truth, but you quickly pick yourself up and carry on as if nothing happened.

Question: Is Saudi Arabia a dictatorship? or not.That is what is all about.
04:54 August 16, 2012 by cheeba
The terms dictatorship and absolute monarchy describe the same thing. Why all the fuss?
08:36 August 16, 2012 by Uncle

"I bet you were up all night trying to come up that one."

No, I just expected that most of people here have a bit higher IQ and do not need an explanation for children.

" somewhere along these threads you wrote that Mexico should jail all of those Mexicans trying to cross illegally"

Apparently, the children cannot read properly also. To be exact, I wrote that as Mexico does not jail all the Mexicans that try to cross into US, Sweden should not cooperate with your beloved dictator Lukashenko that you admire so much, in apprehending the border crossers. And what is the connection here at all? You just wrote something in order to write something?

"do not let debaters to guess what you meant"

In my "debate" I was not talking to YOU, but to IranianBoy. Surprisingly, he accepted the argument, but YOU wedged your total misunderstanding into what we were discussing with examples that actually strengthened my argument, you dummy.

"Is Saudi Arabia a dictatorship? or not."

No. It is not the question. The question is WHETHER we should sell weapons to a dictatorship.

But in the remaining 3% of your post, you are completely correct.
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