24 January, 2009

Arming Occupiers and Dictators - a Swedish Success Story

With the global depression threatening to spell the end for the Swedish car industry, at least one other branch of industry is doing well: The arms industry.

Despite having a population of only 9 million, Sweden rank among the 10 largest exporters of arms in the world. Since the US invasion of Iraq, arms exports has tripled, and recently Saab Bofors Dynamics signed another contract to supply anti-tank guns for US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In open violation of the ban on arms exports to countries in war, of course, but who cares? Not the Swedish government anyway.

This graph shows the value of the Swedish arms exports between 1998 and 2007:

In other words, the "War on Terror" is good business. And besides arming the US occupation army, Sweden is also a proud supplier of weapons to dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt - yes, good old Hosni Mubarak is a dear customer!

And while the current policy is to not allow arms exports to Israel (although there is no way to make sure arms exported to the US end up being used by the IDF), there is no such ban on imports. During the last 10 years, Sweden imported weapons and ammo for 40 million euro from Israel, giving a considerable boost to that country's own arms industry.

Not all Swedes agree with this policy though, and some are prepared to break the law in order to show their opposition. In November, two activists were sentenced to three months in prison and a fine of more than 10.000 euro each for breaking in to the Bofors factory in Karlskoga and destroying equipment.

Pic below: Police arresting an anti-war activist dressed as a clown during a demonstration at Aimpoint in Malmö in September 2008. Click it to watch the whole set.

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