'Saddam message' heralds fresh attacks on US troops

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The Independent Online

An Arab satellite broadcaster today played what it said was a new tape with a message from Saddam Hussein ordering his former soldiers to rise up against the American occupation.

The tape was said to have been recorded on 20 July, two days before Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay were killed in a fierce US attack on a villa in the northern city of Mosul.

The broadcast came with news that two US soldiers were killed today in separate attacks on military convoys, including one near Mosul. Eight more were wounded.

The attacks depressed hopes that the sons' deaths would reduce attacks on US forces - with the total of American soldiers killed since the beginning of the war now at 155.

The voice on the tape urged all of Saddam's former soldiers to take up arms against the Americans and not to cooperate with the Iraqi army being rebuilt by US occupation forces.

"Today I speak in particular to ... your military honor and appeal to the promise you made to the nation and to the people," said the voice, which sounded like Saddam. There was no way to immediately and independently confirm it was the former dictator.

"On 11 and 12 April, we started to reorganize the (Baath) party and people to resist the enemy, and we were in contact with the men of the armed forces," the voice said. The Americans captured Baghdad on 9 April.

Saddam urged his former soldiers not to lose faith.

"News of you, the men of the armed forces and the Republican Guard, reaches me. I am pleased when I hear that you are carrying out these honorable Jihad operations side by side with the brother Mujahedeen or when you are leading them."

Saddam credited the United States for telling the truth with its assessments that the war was not yet over.

"Yes, this war has not ended. The will of the people, the government, the Baath Party is not broken. Now, with the war not over, the occupation will not be able to stabilize the country with its army which occupies our land. The will of the people will not be subdued by the enemy," the voice said.

Many tapes purportedly carrying Saddam's voice, most of them said to have been authentic, have been broadcast by both the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network and the Dubai satellite channel Al-Arabiya. Saddam this time focused on his former military and declared its soul would not be broken as it waged a holy war against the United States.

His comments came as US forces were attempting to form a new Iraqi army as well as a civil defense militia to work with the Americans.