Weather Forecast

Regional News

The Swedish Saudi secret weapon project has meant that Swedish people have lost trust in their government.

Thursday, 08 March 2012
Sweden is a surprisingly sensitive country when it comes to the way it might be perceived in the international arena. As such when scandal like the one which was recently exposed about Sweden assisting a dictator country such as Saudi Arabia to build an arms production factory, the reaction of that to the Swedish public has been swift.

The Swedish people have trusted their government impressively well as it dealt better than most in keeping the Swedish economy in good shape economically during the depression  but with allegation of dishonesty seems to have started calling for that trust to dissipated.

It was on Tuesday that radio Sweden announced that they had  uncovered a secret document which showed that Sweden was working secretly with the Saudi Arabian government to help Saudi Arabia acquire a weapons manufacturing factory. One major issue here is that Saudi Arabia is a full scale dictatorship which gives limited right rights to its citizens and above all women.

Therefore the two key words here are secret and Saudi Arabia. Swedish people would want to know why it was a secret deal if the government knew that its intensions where good. But again the government has denied that it initiated any project and to some extent, some people in the government try to blame the past government which has not been in power for more that 6 years.
On the whole, political parties have engaged in a dance where everyone blames someone else. But one thing is certain: Public confidence in the Swedish government is now corrupt.

Specialist such as Jan Turvall, a political scientist at the University of Gothenburg see that this has a negative effect on people's attitudes towards the government, “I am quite convinced.”
It is said that Göran Persson's government, back in 2004 signed a framework agreement on defence cooperation between Sweden and Saudi Arabia. The agreement was broad based and opened the door to cooperation on a variety of areas such as defense, education, research and military healthcare.

But the today's  the project is now revealed as shifted more into about building a missile factory in Saudi Arabia. This more concrete cooperation started in 2007 under the current government.
That government has also extended the Framework Agreement into 2015.

“It is quite clear that the Social Democrats are the ones who had entered into the agreement initially with the Saudis. But there was definitely an opportunity for the current government after five years, to say that now we do not want to continue with  this cooperation,” says Jan Turvall.

Two things are above all problematic, he explained. One of them is that the Swedish FOI (Swedish Defence Research Agency) created a front company to coordinate the construction of the weapons factory. And then the government parties disagree on that the contract would be extended.

The setting up of the company is not seen as bad according to specialists but it gives the impression that one wishes to keep secret and reduce the transparency of the whole affair.
This in earnest damages the credibility of the government.

The second problem is that it is clear there are different views on this within the government, and it also damages the credibility of the government's work in general.
 “I believe that greater transparency would have been good. Even Jan Björklund, a minister in the coalition government,  says that many of these aspects have not been known to him until radio Sweden picked them up. It also undermines confidence that some parts of government are familiar with the process while others are not.”

Given the secrecy of the issue and the fact that not all parts of the government had information about the deal, it has damaged Sweden’s credibility in designing and executing such deals. The fact the government failed to disclose means that they themselves did not have trust in their operation and such no one would want to have a long term partnerships with Sweden in such an operation.

Political scientist, Jonas Hinnfors at Gothenburg University says that it really can be that most parties are quite agreed that certain defense cooperation must be accepted to protect the Swedish defense industry, even if they stretch the laws and ethical boundaries.

“The basic analysis of the Social Democrats and at least some of the bourgeois parties is fairly consistent. It has the weight of the Swedish arms industry with them, and how it must have to secure export markets in order to provide a basis for the Swedish Armed Forces,” says Hinnfors.

“Three Swedish political parties have a different attitude, and thus are freer in their criticism of the cooperation,” he adds. The far right Sweden Democrats have recently come into the Swedish parliament, and the Green Party and the Left parties have not been in any of the governments involved.
By Scancomark.se Team

| Print Friendly and PDF| Write to the editor | Complaint about this article | Make a Comment |

Front Page | Market News |Companies News | Competitiveness | Regional

About Us | Contact Us | Terms and Conditions |Copyright Policy | Privacy Policy |About Cookies

Scandinavian Companies & Market Magazine ©2010, Granscole Establishment Sweden AB. Registered in Sweden as a Media Company Organisation Number: 556782-6572

Back to top