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Saddam: ‘The war is not over’

An audiotape attributed to ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on Wednesday warned that the war against the US-led coalition was not over and called for Iraqis to continue their resistance.

The tape was broadcast the day after Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay were killed in a ferocious gun battle with US forces backed by helicopter gunships in the northern city of Mosul, but the speaker said it was recorded July 20.

”The war (against the US-led coalition) is not over. The war is not finished,” warned the voice on the audiotape broadcast by Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television channel.

”The only correct assertion will be when the enemy officially announces that the war is not finished because the war is not over, politically or militarily,” it said.

US officials, including the top administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, have likened the killing or capture of the trinity of Saddam and his sons as a mortal blow to the insurgency campaign, tantamount to cutting the head off a snake.

Yet Saddam Hussein’s fate remains a mystery, despite a massive manhunt for the former dictator who vanished April 9 when his regime crumbled.

He has bedeviled coalition authorities over the last month by apparently issuing audiotapes calling for resistance against US occupiers. Previous tapes have been deemed authentic by US intelligence.

While the latest could not be immediately verified, Iraq’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed al-Duri, told Al-Arabiya that he was convinced it was indeed the voice of Saddam.

The speaker addressed the ”men of the armed forces and Republican Guard” as well as those involved in Iraq’s ”national security undertaking honourable operations at the sides of the Mujahedin (holy warriors).”

”If the United States scored a victory during the confrontration, it will not win the battle of the wills. It will never overcome the Iraqi people, its Mujahedin and its militants.

”If they destroyed equipment, heavy and medium armaments, they will never be able to take the desire to fight away from the people.”

The tape urged Iraqis to launch jihad, or holy war, adding that the almost daily guerrilla-style attacks on US troops in Iraq were a ”prelude to the restructuring of the Iraqi army … an army of liberation.”

The audiotape was the fourth attributed to Saddam since his overthrow on April 9 and broadcast on Arab television stations.

Al-Arabiya editor-in-chief Salah Najm said the station had received the tape after an anonymous telephone tip-off in Baghdad.

The last tape aired, on July 17, the 35th anniversary of the seizure of power by Saddam’s Baath Party, blasted ”the lies” of US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to justify their invasion of his country.

The tapes have coincided with an upsurge in attacks on US troops by suspected Saddam loyalists in Baghdad and to the north and west, which the top US commander in the region, General John Abizaid, has admitted amounts to a guerrilla war.

At least 41 US soldiers have died in attacks since Washington declared an end to the war on Iraq on May 1. – Sapa-AFP

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