ER Editor: We’re not sure what is going on here. Sweden is not in NATO and Turkish opposition has just imposed a number of reasonable but unlikely-to-be-satisfied conditions on Sweden joining, involving Palestine and Israel. So did Sweden just allow the US to use its territory ANYWAY? And is this all just frankly theatre on some level? If it gets through the Swedish parliament, the new US-Swedish defense agreement won’t go into effect until a year from now. A lot can happen before then.
Note in the report below that the kind of agreement signed with Sweden has already been signed and implemented with Norway, with the aim of positioning US military in all Nordic countries *this* close to Russia. Regardless of whether they’re in NATO or not.
USA and Sweden have just bypassed NATO
The Swe defense minister has signed a defense cooperation agreement with the Pentagon, which gives The US complete access to 17 different Swe military bases.
Looks like Russia just continues to put its country closer to US military bases. pic.twitter.com/SKRJRqflKX
— David Roth-Lindberg (@RothLindberg) December 6, 2023
TFF 📌 Sweden signs extreme military agreement with the US.
This is not worthy a democracy. This is not necessary for future NATO membership. It does NOT exclude nukes in Sweden.
But it prioritises loyalty with the US over the security of the Swedish people. Peacetime treaso … pic.twitter.com/J58p1P5FEM
— Jan Oberg & TFF (@janoberg) December 7, 2023
See this from High North News — Sweden and the US Signs Defense Cooperation Agreement
Sweden and the USA’s newly signed defense cooperation agreement outlines that US forces will have unimpeded access to 17 military bases on Swedish soil. Four of these are in Northern Sweden. The agreement also opens up for wide US authority and criminal jurisdiction.
The countries’ MoDs signed the new Swedish-American defense cooperation agreement (DCA) on Wednesday.
The agreement regulates US access to base areas, the legal status of US forces, and the advance storage of defense materiel in Sweden.
Following the DCA, the US will have unimpeded access to and use of 17 Swedish military bases – so-called “agreed facilities and areas”. Four of these are located in Northern Sweden (see overview below).
In these areas, the US will be able to train and exercise, deploy forces, and preposition defense materiel – together with Sweden. Within and in the immediate vicinity of such areas, US forces may exercise authority for security reasons.
By extension, it is possible for the US to gain exclusive access and right of use to parts of the areas by special agreement.
It is also significant that the US gets the first right to prosecute American forces who commit offenses in Sweden both on and off duty.
According to SVT, approval of the agreement requires a two-thirds majority in the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag. It must also consider which constitutional amendments are necessary to implement the agreement. Processing in parliament and entry into force should be possible by the end of 2024, claims the Swedish MoD. …
Sweden is not even in NATO yet—amid the continuing holdup and objections from Turkey and Hungary—but that didn’t stop the US and Sweden this week from brokering a deal to let American troops have wide use of Swedish military bases for the first time.
The newly inked Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) this week signals Stockholm finally and fully abandoning its its centuries-old policy of neutrality, given the Pentagon has confirmed that US forces can now “operate in Sweden, including the legal status of US military personnel, access to deployment areas (and) prepositioning of military materiel.”
Defense Lloyd Austin and Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson held a signing ceremony on Tuesday, and hailed that the deal will “create better conditions for Sweden to be able to receive support from the United States in the event of a war or crisis.”
At a moment Sweden is still waiting anxiously for its accession into NATO to be announced, the US State Department has said the DCA with Sweden will “apply seamlessly before and after Sweden’s accession to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).”
All of this is a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, which led both Finland (who is NATO’s newest member) and neighboring Sweden to drop their non-alignment policies. As the AP reviews:
Sweden’s strategically important Baltic Sea island of Gotland sits a little more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) from the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad.
The United States struck a similar deal with Sweden’s western neighbor, NATO member Norway, in 2021 and is currently negotiating such an agreement with NATO members Finland and Denmark, two other Nordic countries.
From the start of the war in Ukraine, the Swedish prime minister’s office has cited Russian aggression as making necessary a greater and broader readiness posture in case of a state of emergency, or even potential attack on the nation.
I had a productive meeting today with Swedish Minister of Defence Jonson 🇸🇪. It’s great to meet with a true partner and future NATO Ally, especially as we face significant security challenges in Europe and across the globe. https://t.co/vCcH6hZX21 pic.twitter.com/ZNnUfxaz2Q
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) December 6, 2023
This has lately even included reintroducing conscription for Swedish civilians in the case of a national emergency.
As for the new DCA, Pentagon chief Austin said it “sends a strong signal that we remain committed to addressing security challenges together.” All of this has caused Russia to enter a defensive posture regarding its Scandinavian borders, and in the region of the Baltic Sea.
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