Theater of Cruelty

With guns in the beak

Norway is one of the world's largest arms exporters per capita. Then it is not easy at the same time to be a flurry of peace.


Just before the election, the Norwegian Peace Council published an overview of the parties' peace agenda and arranged a meeting where the representatives explained this. SV scored highest for his written peace commitment, but SV's Heikki Holmås emphasized that action was crucial. One of the rips in Norway's peace lacquer is the huge arms export.

In the film "The Giant", Erik Bye tells that on the battlefield in Africa he saw a box of grenades as it stood Raufoss, Norway on. "And they funk," laughed the giant gallows humorously. It must have been in the 1960s-70s. In his article A post on gun trafficking (December 2004) writes information adviser in the Norwegian Peace Council, Alexander Harang, with a doctorate in the distribution of small arms, that Norway in 1989 legislated not to sell weapons to "areas where there is war or war threatens or countries where there is civil war." Also compare historian and researcher Stian Sand Christiansen International and Norwegian arms exports in New Norwegian Time Change 2/2005.

“Play with the big boys”

Following the outbreak of the Iraq war in 2003, Norwegian arms sales to the United States have exploded. The Norwegian ban does not say anything about arms sales to countries waging war outside their own territories. This should be a cross of thought. Legitimate self-defense preferably occurs on its own grounds, while warfare outside its own territories is often something the attacking and superior party can do. The United States is waging an unlawful attack war in Iraq that Norway was in the name of. Nevertheless, we provide them and their allies with weapons and ammunition, not least with the caliber 12,7 that the International Red Cross Committee has found has the banned stupid effect. That is, they explode when they hit people. The ban on stupid bullets actually dates from the St. Petersburg Declaration in 1868, and is one of the oldest in the world. In Contemporary 3/2005, Nina Dessau writes that California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has banned a rifle because of its murderous stupid bullets from Raufoss. But Raufoss and Norway are helping Iraqis and Afghans blast them. As outgoing Defense Minister Kristin Krohn Devold said New York Times August 23, 2003: '”Identify what you are good at, and concentrate on it. That way you can play with the big boys even if you are small. '”

End User Statement

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs licenses arms sales. When selling to countries outside NATO and the Nordic countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requires an end-user declaration. It is a document that states who should use the weapon, where and how. It is essentially a guarantee against resale. But this does not require the Foreign Allies of NATO allies. The reason is that one does not overestimate an ally for the sake of trust in a war situation. But what happens to the trust when the allied customer sabotages Norwegian arms sales regulations?

Sri Lanka has been a flagship for Norwegian peace mediation. In 2000, the fighting intensified and 3791 people lost their lives. Nevertheless, several of Norway's allied arms exported to both the warring parties. The worst was the Czech Republic. While Erik Solheim was trying to organize the peace talks, the parties tore each other to pieces with weapons that may have been signed by Raufoss. As a NATO ally, the Czech Republic relaxed formal demands for its final use.

At the Norwegian Peace Council's meeting before the election, Kr.F received praise for emphasizing aid and development as a peacemaker. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Strategic framework for Norway's role in peacebuilding, with the foreword by the Deputy Minister of Development Assistance Hilde Frafjord Johnsen (August 2004), the disarmament and control of small arms was emphasized as particularly important for the political, social and economic development of Nepal, which is one of Norway's aid partners. According to Harang, among other Norwegian arms customers, the Czech Republic and the United States export weapons to Nepal, as well as to six other Norwegian aid partners. The Norwegian arms exporter also bites the aid worker in the tail.


One solution, of course, is to demand end-user statements from our allies. Harang believes that international cooperation is crucial. Oxfam, Amnesty International and International Handgun Network for Action (IANSA) have launched a campaign, among other things, to bring about an internationally binding convention on arms trafficking, called Arms Trade Treaty (TO).

This one has four basic principles. One is that arms exports must be state authorized. The second is that governments should ensure that exports do not entail a violation of international law, and they should avoid arms sales to embargoed countries. The third principle is that sales should be limited to expected use, and governments must ensure that the weapons are not used illegally or for human rights violations. The fourth is that we should not export weapons that are likely to be used for violent crime, which can lead to political instability, damage sustainable development or be resold to it. Only the Left and the SV should presumably join this agreement.

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