That Saddam Hussein escaped bombing by invading United States-led forces is now confirmed with a videotape in which he is seen delivering an address to the nation the day Baghdad was taken.
The tape, recorded on 9 April, was not aired as the US-led troops entered Baghdad and took over key installations in the city.
Saddam Hussein: very
much in the picture
The video, made available to the Associated Press, shows an exhausted Saddam Hussein expressing optimism that “God, somehow will help in expelling the American-British occupiers” from Iraq.
"The faithful will be victorious over the sinners, regardless of the duration of the struggle and the forms it might take," Saddam says. With patience, the "ordeal" can be overcome, he says, and the invaders driven from Iraq.
The news agency says it obtained the tape, bearing the presidential stamp, from a former employee of the Iraqi satellite television channel which was responsible for filming and distributing official presidential video.
In it Saddam Hussein says, “Regardless of the price which will be paid, people must fight to remain free and happy in their homeland.”
He says over time the arrogant intention of the occupying force will come through to the open. And then the people must fight against the invader, says Saddam Hussein.
The television channel employee said it was made on 9 April, the day US troops entered central Baghdad and helped pull down a towering Saddam Hussein statue.
An audiotape of the address was obtained and aired on 18 April by Abu Dhabi television, which said it also was told the speech was delivered 9 April.
Abu Dhabi television also broadcast another videotape, said to have been made on the same day showing Saddam in the midst of an enthusiastic crowd in the Baghdad district of Azamiyah, a few miles north of the area occupied by US troops that day.
The videotape shows Saddam Hussein in his familiar open-necked olive uniform and black beret. He talks haltingly from a written script and rarely looks into the camera as he reads out the speech.
Saddam Hussein is seen repeating a couple of sentences in an attempt to see the camera as he reads the speech. As he prepares to begin the speech, in a room with a backdrop of pink-and-orange curtains, he tells those around him, "The sooner we finish it, the better."
Then, at the end, Saddam adds an uncharacteristically human note of uncertainty. "How was my reading as a whole?" he asks people off camera, and then adds, "It's OK".
Saddam Hussein: a bit
Sprinkled liberally with references to God and religion, the president says, “The duration of invasion or occupation ... will be the exception, a brief period, compared with the period in which people live free in their homeland."
He said this generation of Iraqis was determined to defend the nation "until the end, as desired by God, in this form or some other form."
Analysts interpret his reference to a changing form of resistance as a possible resort to long-term guerrilla warfare against US-led forces. "The ordeal, regardless of how bad it might become, requires patience to be overcome, so that those behind it are thrown out," he said.
Since US troops entered Baghdad and took over Tikrit, Saddam Hussein and his sons and aides Qusay and Odai have gone into hiding. The opposition Iraqi National Congress contends they are still in Iraq and claim that they have been spotted on a few occasions.