Sweden’s military cooperation with the dictatorship of Saudi-Arabia

Posted on November 19, 2011

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How long will Sweden be a part of the killing of thousands of freedom-seeking fellow human beings? How can we live with the knowledge that our welfare is increasing through the revenues that the sale of weapons generates, simultaneously as we strengthen dictatorships’ defense against a more democratic society and human rights? It is something that we ask ourselves, the aware and considerate Swedes without guilt. Unfortunately, it is not something that the ones who sign deals, produces and sell murder-weapons reflects over.

The other day, a group of officers from Saudi-Arabia arrived to the head office of SAAB in Järfälla, Sweden for a study visit. What in the world might these gentlemen (of course no female officers) be interested in discussing at the head office of SAAB? New trucks for transport? A suggestion that SAAB will provide the Saudi government with the latest car-design for transportation in duty? No, of course the study visit was about an interest in shopping some weapons now in the financial crisis climax (yes, the Swedish cash-box needs a refill) and it is not the first time. The study visit creates a reaction of questions, that has to be answered by the Swedish government.

In our world, there should be no list of rights (every right should be considered equal), but in the case of Saudi-Arabia there is one groups rights that is violated inexorably and that needs more support: the woman’s. The woman is discriminated in law and is thus not equal to the man. The man is determining everything regarding marriage, divorce, custody of children och freedom of movement. Violence against women can be going on unhindered inside the family’s four walls.
Saudi-Arabia is a country that has problem with accepting people’s rights to practice their religion. Crackdowns is laid on Christians and Muslims that in different ways is trying to practice their religion, when they for example are visiting different institutions or is celebrating important religious holidays.
The regime of Saudi-Arabia do not willingly open the doors to their prison-facilities to the world around them. Therefore, you do not know what is happening to prisoners, but some deaths have occurred the last years. Moreover, there is a great risk that torture and other degrading treatment is taking place in the facilities or elsewhere. Besides, the courts continue to sentence people to lashing and it is reported that they are carried out.
Yet, as in all other dictatorships, it is tough for the ones that is taking advantage of their freedom of expression. Human rights-activists and -advocates, journalists, those in opposition and more are imprisoned and is prosecuted for being dissidents.
During 2010 Saudi-Arabia performed a number of attacks by air on the ground of Yemen during the conflict between the forces of the government and Huthi-rebels. In these attacks civilians were killed disproportionate and it was a crime against Humanitarian Law.

Is this a country that anyone should sell high-tech weapons to? It is sensational that Sweden has sold and is considering to sell weapon to a country that is opposing the values that we stand for. In our society today, we are supposed to think with the wallet and on ourselves. Therefore, it is not remarkable that those in power in Sweden are selling themselves to the price of the killing of innocent human beings. The Swedish cash-box gets a strong increase and the government can proudly present a bearish unemployment when people get jobs in the weapon-industry (or the subcontractors), and at the same time is Sweden helping to suppress the increase of this worlds population.

It is not only this prank from Sweden’s people in power that we should get upset over, but also the fact that Sweden is having a military cooperation with Saudi-Arabia. What is offered in this military cooperation? That Sweden is assisting with knowledge and strategy in a conflict that Saudi-Arabia is a part of? Will Saudi-Arabia give tips and ideas about how the Swedish government could restrict my country’s civil rights? No matter the outcome of the cooperation it is not that should be sanctioned by the people of Sweden. Therefore, I would like to urge you to help me in protesting against the sale of weapon to and cooperation with Saudi-Arabia.

Send the text below to:
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt
With the subject: End Your Cooperation with Saudi-Arabia!

Dear Prime Minister,

The reason for me contacting You, is my great concern over Your sale of weapons and cooperation with Saudi-Arabia. By doing this You are taking part in the development of Saudi-Arabia’s misdeeds against its citizens and other countries’ citizens (the attack by air on Yemeni soil in 2010).

A woman in Saudi-Arabia is discriminated in law and the man has the power regarding marriage, divorce, custody of children och freedom of movement.
The prison’s conditions are below the level of dignity and people have died during imprisonment.
There is crackdowns laid on practitioners of Christians and Muslims.
Saudi-Arabia are imprisoning those who wants to take advantage of their freedom of expression. human rights-activists and -advocates, journalists, those in opposition and more.

Therefore, I would like to ask You to:
End the military cooperation with Saudi-Arabia;
End the sale of weapons to Saudi-Arabia;
End the sale of weapons to undemocratic countries;
Put pressure on Saudi-Arabia, regarding human rights and especially woman’s rights;

Yours Sincerely,