Saddam calls on Iraqis to fight US, UK forces "who are being helped by the Zionists"
The Jerusalem Post

24 March 2003

Saddam Hussein appeared on television and called for an independent and "free Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean."

Hussein repeatedly called for martyrs to wage 'Jihad', or holy war on the "invaders". Saddam called on Iraqis to fight coalition forces, which hem said "were being helped by the Zionists."

With US-led forces closing in on Baghdad, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein tried to rally his people and his troops with a national address Monday in which he vowed that allied forces would be crushed and "victory will be ours soon."

The Iraqi president appeared in full military uniform and seemed more robust than during his last nationally televised address on Thursday, which followed the first round of cruise missile attacks on his capital. There had been unconfirmed reports that he was killed or injured in those attacks.

"Iraqis will strike the necks as God has commanded you," Saddam said. "Strike them, and strike evil so that evil will be defeated."

Urging loyal Iraqis to cut the throats of the enemy, he insisted that Iraqi troops would prevail in the fight against a more technologically advanced enemy. He also made specific reference to US tactics and the recent fighting around Umm Qasr.

"Those who are believers will be victorious. In these decisive days, the enemy tried not using missiles and fighter jets as they did before. This time, they sent their infantry troops. This time, they have come to invade and occupy your land," he said.

Turning his concern toward his troops, Saddam said Iraqi fighters were "causing the enemy to suffer and to lose every day."

"As time goes by, they will lose more and they will not be able to escape lightly from their predicament," he said. "We will make it as painful as we can."

Saddam said American and British forces had entered Iraq's desert, where they "became entangled." He declared that "Iraqi residents (were) surrounding them and aiming their fire at them."

Taunting the allies, he asked: "Have you found what the devil that besets your soul promised you in Iraq?"

Addressing the people of Iraq's cities , Basra, Baghdad, Mosul and elsewhere , Saddam warned that the enemy will intensify its raids as their troops suffer casualties on the ground.

"Be patient. God's victory is coming.... Be tolerant," he added.

Saddam said the ground battles were going well and Iraqi troops had been able to inflict great losses on the enemy. He praised his commanders, several of them by name, saying their units fought fiercely against coalition troops.

Among those he named were the commanders of the 51st, 11th and 18th divisions, which are posted in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city.

He told the people of Basra, which has been isolated but not occupied by allied forces, to be patient because "victory is imminent."

Saddam said the allies were "trying to avoid engaging our forces", a clear reference to the US strategy of avoiding having to enter provincial cities, adding that "in most cases they are using their warplanes to attack our troops without engaging them in fighting."

"Whenever they penetrated our territory, they were faced with fierce resistance from Iraqi people, tribes, party members, Saddam's Fedayeen and security forces," he said.