Risky Business? Finland Doubles Arms Exports, Gambles on Middle East

In the past 15 years, Finland's arms exports have skyrocketed and undergone a change of pattern. The Middle East is becoming a focal point for Finnish weapons manufacturers, to the dismay of local peace activists, who consider it unbecoming of a nation that styles itself a mediator - writes sputniknews.com.

Between 2002 and 2016, Finland's exports ofmilitary equipment have doubled, according toa recent report fromindependent think-tank Safer Globe . Over these years, Finland has sold military equipment tothe tune of €1.5 billion ($1.76 billion), coupled witha €700 million ($822 million) worth ofweapons forcivilian purposes, such ashunting weapons.

The export ofarms and defense equipment is part ofFinland's foreign and security policy. Between 2003 and 2016, the government and the Defense Ministry have granted some 3,000 export licenses formilitary equipment.

As far back as2003, North America and Europe were the most important export destinations, butin recent years the Middle East has started overtake these traditional buyers, accounting for63 percent ofFinland's total arms export. In 2016 alone, Finland sold armored vehicles tothe United Arab Emirates forover €60 million ($70 million), followinga much sought-after 2007 arms deal.

All inall, armored vehicles constitute 38.2 percent ofthe total exports, which is attributed tothe high cost ofa single vehicle compared toother types ofmilitary equipment, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.

​In the Middle East, Finland exports most military equipment tothe United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, all the three ofwhich have participated inoperations associated withthe civil wars inYemen and Syria.

Peace Organizations Worried

Finland's peace organizations Peace Union and Committee of100 were shocked tolearn that arms exports fromFinland were onthe rise.

The Finnish pacifists also expressed concern aboutlocal arms manufacturer Patria's attempts tobroker a €100 million deal withQatar, which involves armored vehicles and grenade launchers and may become, if successful, Finland's largest arms deal.

"Non-democratic Qatar, a country inthe midst ofMid-Eastern political conflict, accused ofsupporting terrorists and participating inthe Yemeni conflict, is a prime example ofa country that should not even be considered asa recipient ofarms," Laura Lodenius ofthe Peace Union ofFinland said.

According toa survey conducted bythe Stockholm International Peace Research Institute ( SIPRI ), from2012-2016 exports ofdefense equipment tothe Middle East have increased by86 percent.

Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö noted an increase inthe number ofapplications forexport authorizations inFinland, admitting the government's role aspromoter ofthe arms trade. Niinistö stated that arms deals withSaudi Arabia and the UAE have been finalized and will be completed.

​"Arms deals take a long time toprepare and we have worked hard toget intothe markets inthe Middle East," Jussi Niinistö said, asquoted byYle.

Despite the fact that Finland's export figures may be easily dwarfed bymajor arms manufacturers such asthe US, the Nordic country of5.5 million nevertheless placed 13th onthe list ofweapons exporters per capita, according to Safer Globe.

Read other Finnish news on our site.

If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in january
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

The coach of a sports club in Hyvinkää, southern Finland has been remanded into police custody on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors he was coaching, the Itä-Uusimaa police department said on Thursday. Officials said that they are investigating the case as suspected child abuse but did not disclose the ages of the alleged victims. The suspect in the case, a 50-year-old man, was remanded into custody on Wednesday. The suspected sexual abuse is believed to...
Finns increasingly forego do-it-yourself construction of prefab elements in favour of completely completed homes. Turnkey homes (where homes are fully finished and owners can immediately occupy them) have become more popular than traditional house packages, says the Finnish Association for Manufacturers of Prefabricated Houses. “About 7,500 detached homes are built in Finland every year, and about 70 percent of them are prefabricated houses of some kind,”...
THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE in the Helsinki neighbourhood of Arabianranta was visibly subdued on Tuesday, as residents mourned the death of a local child who is believed to have been murdered. While little information has been released to the public, it is known that the victim was murdered near their home on the night of Christmas Eve (December 24). The police apprehended a suspect at the scene of the crime, who has been confirmed as a 36-year old male. Whethe...
One of Finland’s most famous seafaring vessels, the titanic icebreaker Otso, was deployed on its first mission of the winter season last night, keeping sea routes open for the 22nd year in a row. Late in the evening of Christmas Day, Otso, the crowning glory of Arctia Oy’s extensive fleet, departed from Helsinki’s Katajanokka Harbour, heading north to the Bay of Bothnia. The 7000-ton Polar icebreaker has been tasked with keeping waterways open between Oulu...
Eight Finnish political parties have published their a statement on future climate policy goals in Finland. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) in November invited all nine parliamentary parties to join a task force established to find an agreement on new, more ambitious climate goals for Finland. The one-month project was led by Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing. The Finns Party abandoned the task force last w...
A 25-year-old man suspected of the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 15 in Oulu, northwestern Finland, who was arrested in Germany last Tuesday is now reported to be at large. According to law enforcement officials in Oulu, the suspect was released by German police before he could be transferred to Finnish custody due to "a breakdown in communication between authorities". Oulu District Court ordered the suspect to be reprimanded into custody in absen...
Finland’s high earners saw their real income grow more in 2017 than their peers in middle and low income groups, according to new data released by Statistics Finland on Tuesday. Incomes among the country’s highest income decile rose by 4.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while the year-on-year increase was 1.3 percent for middle income earners. Incomes for the four lowest income deciles meanwhile grew by 1.2 percent over the one-year period. However amon...
A man wanted in connection with a suspected arson attempt on a home in Helsinki’s Käpylä district was remanded into police custody on Sunday. The Helsinki district court has remanded a man suspected of attempted arson and attempted murder into police custody, ending a short-lived manhunt, police said on Sunday. The 25 year-old is suspected of using a Molotov cocktail to cause a fire at a flat in Käpylä, Helsinki last Monday. The apartment was completely de...
Helsinki Central Library Oodi will opened its doors to the public on 5 December at 8am, a day before Finland’s 101st birthday. Designed by ALA Architects, this library of a new era is an ode to Finnish culture, equality and freedom of expression. Oodi offers everyone an open, public urban space at Kansalaistori Square, right opposite Parliament House. Central Library Oodi is an active and functional meeting point with 2.5 million expected annual visitors....