Jeremy Corbyn attacked by veterans for labelling British SAS soldiers ‘LAWLESS’ at rally
The leader of the Labour Party was filmed attacking an operation carried out by the British SAS in 2005 during a Stop the War rally taking place just a few days earlier. Mr Corbyn, who was still a backbench MP then, heavily criticised the actions of two SAS soldiers in Basra in charge of keeping Iraqi police officers under surveillance. He said: “What happened in Basra this week, you could have written a play about it, you couldn’t have made it up.
“British SAS officers, armed to the teeth, driving through a checkpoint, dressed in some other clothing, then tried to shoot their way out of it, and then they are arrested, apparently quite properly by the local police.
“And the British Army then bombards the police station in which they are held.
“Who are the lawless forces now?”
In his attack during the Stop the War gathering, Mr Corbyn, who has historically been a supporter of the organisation, compared the efforts of the US and UK forces in Iraq to the Vietnam War.
He said: “When the Governor of Basra, and the Council of Basra break of all relationship with the British occupying forces, this is reminiscent of the dying days of the American occupations of Vietnam.
“We should learn a lesson from history.”
Veterans minister Tobias Ellwood said Mr Corbyn should not be put in a position to decide over the safety of the UK.
He said: “Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour should never be given the responsibility of keeping our country safe.”
And SAS veteran Phil Campion added: “The man needs to live a day in a trooper’s shoes before he gobs off.”
A Labour Party spokeswoman told Express.co.uk: “Jeremy Corbyn was speaking at a rally against the Iraq war alongside the families of British soldiers who had been killed.
“He was rightly criticising the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, including British soldiers and huge numbers of Iraqi civilians.”
Mr Corbyn apologised on behalf of the Labour Party in 2016 for deciding to go to war against Iraq more than 10 years earlier.
Responding to the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry, he said: “The apology is also owed to the families of those soldiers who died in Iraq or who have returned home injured or incapacitated.
“They did their duty but it was in a conflict they should never have been sent to.”
The two SAS soldiers in Basra, an Iraqi city located on the Shatt al-Arab between Kuwait and Iran, dressed themselves in Arab civilian garments and headdresses to avoid a security check at a roadblock.
But when they were stopped anyway, they opened fire against the local police, killing two, and then tried to run away before being jailed.
The arrest triggered a response from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which flew 20 SAS soldiers and a platoon of paratroopers from Baghdad to Basra to free their fellow officers.
The MoD initially denied the operation ever took place, saying they “heard nothing to suggest we stormed the prison”, but eventually caved in and said the soldiers would have likely been executed if left in the Iraqi prison.
The 2005 video was uncovered by journalist Iggy Ostanin, who gave it to The Sun on Sunday.
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