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Swedish firm testing Syrian gas samples is scandal-ridden arms dealer with hundreds of millions in Saudi contracts

Radio Sweden:

Sweden to analyse samples from Syrian gas attack probe

No, not the Swedish Nobel Peace Prize committee, even if their work has been a bit sloppy of late:

Samples collected by United Nation's weapon inspectors in Syria will be analysed by the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), TV4 Umeå reported Tuesday.

FOI expects to take two weeks examining the samples at its laboratories in Umeå, located along Sweden's northern coast. TV4 reported that other samples were taken to Finland for analysis.

UN inspectors collected the evidence on August 26, five days after an alleged poison gas attack against Syrian opposition rebels. Åke Sellström, a Swedish scientist heading the team of the weapons inspectors, said the number of days between the attack and the team's sample collecting should not affect the analysis.

And who is FOI, you ask?

Earlier this month public broadcaster Swedish Radio said the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) had secret plans since 2007 to help Saudi Arabia build a plant for the production of anti-tank weapons.

The radio said part of the so-called Project Simoom involved the creation of a shell company called SSTI to handle dealings with Saudi Arabia, in order to avoid any direct links to FOI and the government. ..

The story has dominated Swedish headlines since then, with numerous politicians and public figures critical of Sweden's plans to provide weapons help to a country they describe as a "dictatorship," and calls for Tolgfors to resign.

Under pressure to come clean, Tolgfors admitted on March 9 he knew of FOI's plans to help Riyadh build the factory and of the shell company, but has stressed that no Swedish laws had been broken -- something he also reiterated Thursday. ...

The 45-year-old father of two young children insisted he had already planned to resign, among other things for family reasons, but that "media attention in recent weeks has facilitated and accelerated my decision."

Last year, Sweden exported defence material worth a total of 13.9 billion kronor ($2.05 billion, 1.56 billion euros), and Saudi Arabia was the second-biggest buyer, according to TT.

Imagine if Halliburton had a lab, and Bush the Younger had put them in charge of oh, the yellow cake uranium story when the War Party was gunning for Iraq. Oh, the scandal!

Israeli intelligence passed off as US, Saudi connections with lab doing the tests that could tip the balance between war and peace... What could go wrong?

NOTE Sweden's The Local:

Overall, Sweden sold 9.8 billion kronor ($1.53 billion) worth of arms in 2012, according to a report from the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (Inspektionen för strategiska produkter, ISP), a state body meant to ensure weapons export follows ethical guidelines set by parliament.

Aside from India and Saudia Arabia, whose governments bought 1.44 million and 922 million kronor worth of Swedish arms last year respectively, other significant clients were France (899 million), Pakistan (615 million), and Thailand (600 million).

922 million kroner is $162,184,410.00 US dollars at today's rate of exchange. Chump change to us, but significant, no doubt, to Sweden. More on Swedish arms dealing:

In Sweden, arms exports have tripled since 2001, and it now exports more weapons per capita than any other country. Like in the UK, the rules state that weapons which have a clear risk of internal repression or external aggression should not be exported. Like in the UK, they are routinely ignored, with deals to authoritarian regimes like Saudi Arabia remaining the norm and a government arms promotion unit keeping it that way.

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