x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Video purports Saddam Hussein’s top deputy still on the run

A video posted online shows Izzat Ibrahim Al Douri, the highest ranking member of Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime still at large, lashing out against Iraq’s Shiite-led government.

BAGHDAD // A video posted online purports to show Izzat Ibrahim Al Douri, the highest ranking member of Saddam Hussein’s ousted regime still at large, lashing out against Iraq’s Shiite-led government.

It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the video or determine when it was made.

The man in the video, posted on a website on Saturday linked to Saddam’s now-outlawed Baath party, was introduced as Mr Al Douri and bore a striking physical resemblance to the former Saddam deputy. He noted that nine years had passed since the 2003 US-led invasion, suggesting the video was made recently.

Wearing an olive military uniform and glasses, he criticised Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, led by prime minister Nouri Al Maliki, and accused Iran of meddling.

“Everyone can hear the sounds of danger echoing daily and threatening this country,” he said during the hour-long address, adding that Mr Al Maliki’s Dawa Party “has announced Iraq as the Shiite capital, and called on all Arab leaders to surrender to this reality.”

Mr Al Douri has been reported dead or captured more than once in the past. He has not been seen in public since the US-led invasion, though audio tapes purporting to be from him have been released. His whereabouts are not known.

Mr Al Douri is believed to have played a key role in financing insurgents seeking to undermine Iraq’s post-Saddam government.

He was the “king of clubs” in the deck of playing cards issued by the US to help soldiers identify the most-wanted members of Saddam’s regime.

Ali Al Moussawi, a media adviser for Mr Al Maliki, said the tape is meant to “boost the morale of the terrorists”.

“Al Douri wants to spread terrorism and sectarian violence under the pretext of resistance,” he said. “This will not affect the work of the government or the political process.