STATEMENT BY VETERANS FOR PEACE UK IN SUPPORT OF LANCE CORPORAL AHMED AL-BABATI

A serving British soldier, Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati, of 14th Signal Regiment, has been arrested for opposing the ongoing war in Yemen outside of Downing Street.  During his protest he blew a whistle for every child killed by airstrikes in which the UK is fully complicit – until he was hauled away by Royal Military Police.  He has also made statements denouncing the role the UK has had in supplying Saudi Arabia with munitions.

In the past 5 years the Saudi air campaign against the Houthi population in Yemen has slaughtered and injured many thousands of men women and children and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Britain not only supplies weapons for this war, it provides the personnel and expertise required to keep the war going. The British government has deployed RAF personnel to work as engineers, and to train Saudi pilots and target finders, and subcontracted the UK arms giant BAE Systems to provide weapons, maintenance and engineers inside Saudi Arabia.

According to John Deverell, a former MoD mandarin and defence attache to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, “Saudi Arabia couldn’t do it without us.” A BAE employee put it more plainly to Channel 4’s Dispatches Program  “If we weren’t there, in seven to 14 days there wouldn’t be a jet in the sky.”

Yet after legal action by CAAT, British arms sales to Saudi Arabia were ruled unlawful in June 2019 by the court of appeal in a critical judgment that also accused ministers of ignoring whether airstrikes that killed civilians in Yemen broke humanitarian law. Three judges said that a decision made in secret in 2016 had led them to decide that Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and Liam Fox and other key ministers had illegally signed off on arms exports without properly assessing the risk to civilians. Later, Fox was understood to have privately told at least one MP that he expected that the review process called for by the court would take about 10 weeks – and would not lead to any of the previous licensing decisions being overturned.

On 7th July 2020 it was announced by the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, that the UK Government will resume the granting of new licences for arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the other countries in the coalition that are bombing Yemen. How can the brave action by Lance Corporal Ahmed Ali be condemned when a Minister of the Crown acts in contempt of the spirit of the courts. Direct action by the public, which includes serving soldiers, would seem to be the only option.

Ahmed Al-Babati is one of very few serving men and women who have had the courage to defy military protocol in order to speak out against war crimes committed by the British Government.   As fellow serving and former soldiers, we have the power to act both to provide direct support for Al-Babati and to explain and publicise the atrocities that he has exposed.  The time is now for the immediate cessation of military support and arms sales by the UK to Saudi Arabia.

26 Comments

  1. Lauren Stuparitz says:

    In support of Mr Ahmed Al-Babati!

  2. Gary Erb says:

    Solidarity forever!

  3. John Boulton says:

    Top man! Shining a light and displaying the ‘core values’ the military claim to adhere to… bunch of bloody hypocrites… ££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££…..

    1. David Marchesi says:

      your £££££££ reminds me of Smedley Butler’s words back in the 1930’s. Today, the UK is ruled by the City and, of course, “multinationals”, all without honour but very clever at selling it to the young and/or brainwashed.

  4. Alan Chick says:

    I fully support this action by Ahmed Al Babati. Some VFP members are proposing to gather opposite Downing St on Saturday 5th of September from 11.30am onwards in support of Ahmed and against arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
    The arms industry uses their profits to lobby the politicians to promote further wars, to make more profits, to lobby politicians to promote further wars and so on. It is a cycle of corruption.

  5. Dr Christopher Butler says:

    I fully support Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati. It takes tremendous courage to speak out against atrocities of this sort. Stop armingSaudi Arabia. Stop the murders in Yemen.

  6. Chris Paling says:

    I fully support Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati. He has integrity and will have made this stand which will incur a huge personal sacrifice. We must hold this government and it’s calamitous, callous and aggressive foreign policies to account.

  7. Charles says:

    Tremendous courage by Ahmed Al-Babati in calling out the illegal and amoral actions of HM Government in supplying and maintaining Saudi Arabia’s war machine. I applaud him.

  8. Gabriel Falsetta says:

    I hope this brave humanitarian’s stand becomes a movement.
    The tragedy of Yemen is overwhelming.
    PEACE NOW

  9. Ross de freitas says:

    This soldier has shown outstanding moral courage, he should be getting a medal for his bravery not a prison sentance and
    I support his actions absolutely

  10. Andrew Tyler says:

    I too fully support his action and would like to be kept updated on his situation.

  11. David Westgate says:

    Yes, a very brave man who is absolutely right in his view. I am glad to be able to record support for him in this way.

  12. David Marchesi says:

    This soldier displays real courage, not the posturing of too many professionals who can simply not see that killing people (men, women and children) overseas to order, in support of vile “regimes” [including ours !] is anything but brave. A scandal that the Royal British Legion has absolutely nothing to say about this case and the issue it illustrates so well [to my knowledge]It was more honest in the old days when the “competent” [!!} ministry was the MO War, not the MOD- the “defence of the realm” means the defence of The City and of our inglourious basterds of “allies” (the US and “The Kingdom” among others)

  13. Giorgio Riva says:

    All power to Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati. We will circulate to our network for a start.
    Keep us posted.

  14. Giorgio Riva says:

    All power to Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati. We will circulate to our network for a start.

  15. Allen Jasson says:

    The Statement By Veterans For Peace UK In Support Of Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati is a portrait of the shocking depravity of the people we have elected to govern our country. Great Britain deserves better than this. Despite having learnt the lessons of Empire yet nevertheless take pride in the positive advances Britain has made in the world these pride-less sociopaths seem almost eager to bend the knee, doff their hats and collect their sixpence from yet another upstart and now obviously failing empire of greed and corruption. It beggars belief!
    The heroes of our age (Al-Babati, Assange…) waste in prison while these layabouts sip their champaign and tour the world lecturing to others).
    Thank you VFP.
    I too support Al-Babati.

  16. Xanthe says:

    Stop persecuting the peace makers

  17. Suzanne says:

    I would like to show my support for the brave actions of Ahmed Al-Babati.

  18. les havell says:

    i support Ahmed Al-Babati. 100% …. great to see an individual standing up for his convictions …. it’s just a shame the m.o.d. will not and cannot afford to allow free thinking individuals in service

    1. Marc Dickens says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

      1. Les Gibbons says:

        Ditto

  19. Rob Lewis says:

    In the name of peace and good will to all I support Ahmed Al-Babati. In solidarity my brothers.

  20. Ben Griffin says:

    I whole heartedly support the action taken by Ahmed Al-Babati.

    Good to see VFP standing in support of this courageous soldier.

    1. Les Gibbons says:

      He, Ahmed Al-Babati has acted out of conscience, goodwill and from his own spirituality – I applaud him.
      I fully support the actions of this man – for speaking out against the UK government weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. How can we write or contact him???

  21. Susan Hepburn says:

    Thank you very much for this statement. I saw and shared to Facebook yesterday a Guardian article about L/Cpl Al-Abati’s protest, and fully support both him and this Veterans for Peace statement.

  22. Michael Kramer says:

    We have already gotten the word out to our members and allies about Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati and his heroic actions. We will also be circulating this statement from VFP UK. Please keep us posted with any updates. In Solidarity,
    Michael Kramer, Chapter President
    VFP / Chapter 021 (Northern New Jersey)

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