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More exposť of Swedish arm business to dictatorships - Swedish arms may have been used in Bahrain

Thursday, 08 March 2012
The Swedish Inspectorate for strategic products, ISP, has given the green light to a long list of weapons that different companies have sold and those which they want to sell to Saudi Arabia. Two of these weapons are identified to have been used against protesters in Bahrain.

In another secret document which radio Sweden has seen, it shows how big the Swedish military hardware business has infiltrated countries that are so hard on their citizens. The impression was that Sweden sells military hardware only to countries that are properly democratised. 

Being a country that preaches human rights, democracy and freedoms and which take lots of refugees fleeing conflict zones, the expectation would have been that Sweden will want to limit the amount of weapons being sold to rogue states. It turns out that Sweden has just joined the ranks of China and Russia arming dictators to kill their own people while the stand aside and hypocritically preach peace. Instead USA under Obama has brought in a sort of responsibility in the dealing of arms in such conflict states.

Peter Wezeman, a researcher of the Swedish Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, said at least two weapons are known to have been used by the regime in Bahrain to crack down on demonstrators which emerged from Sweden. If one looks closely one would find some people from Bahrain seeking asylum in Sweden as a direct consequence of that crack down.

Both systems have used armaments supplied by Sweden to quell down protests in Bahrain. One was used directly by the Bahraini government, the second was used by Saudi Arabia to provide support for the regime in Bahrain.

These supports are parts of various armoured vehicles, rocket and grenade launchers and explosives.

Saudi Arabia has been sharply criticized in particular for helping the regime in Bahrain to violently suppress the democracy movement in the country.

But Andreas Ekman Duse who is director general of the ISP, told radio Sweden a few weeks ago that Saudi Arabia has only purchased surveillance equipment from Sweden that has not been used directly as weapons against the civilian population in Bahrain.

The new secret document from the ISP does not show that the weapons have already been exported, but companies have received approval to proceed with their business plans to Saudi Arabia to sell weapons and other military equipment.

But Peter Wezeman thinks that there are reasons to doubt that Swedish weapons are not used against civilians in Bahrain.
By Team

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