'Saddam's' Latest Call To Arms

Saddam Hussein audio tape
A new audiotape attributed to Saddam Hussein and aired Friday urges his supporters continue the uprising against U.S. occupation forces and keep control of former state property to use in the rebellion. The voice said the tape was made Sunday.

The message, broadcast by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite television station, was a rambling speech apparently intended to encourage and instruct his supporters in the guerrilla war against the U.S. occupation. Saddam has been on the run for 3½ months since the Americans captured Baghdad.

"The feeling of defeat and bitterness might lead some people to commit treason ... instead of being a gun pointed at the enemy," said the voice, which sounded like Saddam.

"I ask people to keep the properties of the country and the party until the situation changes or to donate their value to the glorious resistance," the voice said.

An earlier message purportedly from Saddam was broadcast Tuesday by al-Arabiya, another Arab satellite broadcaster. That tape acknowledge the death of his two sons, Odai and Qusai, who were gunned down in firefight with American forces in Mosul. The CIA said that tape most likely was authentic.

In it, Saddam said he was glad of his sons' deaths because they had become martyrs.

In other developments:

  • Dozens of U.S. forces raided two houses in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit on Friday, capturing two men they said were important Saddam associates. The soldiers from the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division did not identify the captives but said their arrests came in a continuing search for the fugitive former Iraqi dictator.
  • A CIA adviser told lawmakers Thursday that progress was being made in the hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. David Kay, who is serving as a special adviser for the weapons search, said inspectors have found physical evidence of Iraqi activity on weapons of mass destruction, but he declined to discuss details. He said investigators had made a "tactical and strategic decision" to focus on biological rather than on chemical or nuclear programs.
  • Some Democrats remained unsatisfied the administration made its case for going to war. Senator Edward Kennedy said after David Kay's briefing of the Senate Armed Services Committee "It's looking more and more like a case of mass deception." He says "There was no imminent danger, and we should never have gone to war."
  • Two daughters of Saddam Hussein are in Jordan. Jordan's information minister says Jordan has allowed the daughters and their nine children into the kingdom on humanitarian grounds. He says they arrived Thursday.
  • The Bush administration has approved the payment of $30 million in reward money to the tipster who told the U.S. military where it could find Saddam Hussein's sons. Neighbors believe the informant is the owner of the house where the brothers died.
  • An American soldier was killed Thursday when his armored personnel carrier hit a land mine on the dangerous road from central Baghdad to the city's airport. It's the second death reported Thursday by the U.S. military. A soldier was killed in a small-arms fire attack northeast of Baghdad late Wednesday.
  • Senator Joseph Biden is calling for a greater involvement of NATO and the United Nations in Iraq. He wants the Bush administration to seek a new U.N. resolution that would encourage other nations to pick up the tab and supply troops in Iraq. Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says the U.S. must not continue to be ``the lone ranger'' in the world.
  • U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he'd back a resolution encouraging other nations to help out in Iraq. He says many nations want a U-N umbrella on the American-led operation before they'll commit troops.
  • A British parliamentary committee says the war in Iraq failed to reduce security threats against Britain and may have harmed efforts to tackle al Qaeda. In a report, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said the war may have helped the terror group led by Osama bin Laden to recruit new members.

    In the Friday tape, which was impossible to authenticate immediately, the voice had clearly moved beyond mourning for the once-feared and brutal sons, and issued a call to battle.

    "Our faith is great that God will support us, and that one day the occupation army will falter and that victory is possible at any moment. We must not let things slip away and our situation become desperate," the voice said.

    "The balance has shifted, after the military confrontations (with insurgents) and this has not changed. They (Americans) will not be able to stop this."

    "I say that this shift in balance has happened because of the great mujahedeen and faithful fighters who have worked and struggled to confront the occupation and throw the invaders outside Iraq so that Iraq can return to its normal state after that."

    U.S. officials have reported in the past several days that American forces were twice close to capturing Saddam, once in the raid in which his sons were killed, and again in a raid on a farm house near Tikrit where the military was seeking Saddam's new chief of security.

    But on Thursday the American military in Baghdad seemed to back away from optimistic reports that Saddam's capture was imminent, saying instead that it was inevitable.

    It was the fourth recording from Saddam to be broadcast over the Arab satellite channels since July 14.