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Saddam Pledges Victory in TV Address

The Iraqi leader said, ”Strike them until they come to the conclusion that they are not in a position to commit crimes against you and your people.”

“God has ordered you to cut their throats.”

Appearing in full military uniform, Saddam assured Iraqi citizens that victory was imminent, saying Iraqi troops had inflicted the great losses on the coalition forces.

It was not clear whether the speech was live or had been recorded, although the Iraqi leader cited ongoing battles in Umm Qasr and around Basra.

Saddam extolled individual commanders, including those of the 51st, 11th and 18th divisions, posted in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city.

“The lesson you teach the enemy will make them think twice, and even be incapable of attacking you, your nation and humanity again… Hit them so that good and its people may reign and evil evicted back to its place,” the Iraqi leader said.

Referring to battles to come, he pledged, “We will make it as painful as we can.”

“Iraq will strike the necks [of each enemy fighter],” he said. “Strike them, and strike evil so that evil will be defeated.”

Saddam told Iraqi citizens that American and British forces had “become entangled” in Iraq’s desert, with “Iraqi residents surrounding them and aiming their fire at them.”

Saddam’s televised national address ? his second since the start of the war ? may be intended to refute earlier reports he was killed or seriously injured during the first night of bombings over Baghdad.

British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon on Monday said Saddam’s television appearance was not a live broadcast and provided no proof the Iraqi leader was still alive.

“As far as the pictures this morning are concerned, obviously analysis continues. But what I can say straight away is that those pictures were not live,” Hoon told a news conference in London.

“I do not think it makes a great difference to our military campaign whether he is alive or dead,” he added.

In Washington, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer on Monday would not confirm whether Saddam’s speech was live or pre-recorded.

“We don’t know when it was recorded, how old it may be, whether it was new,” Fleischer said, adding that CIA analysts would analyze the tape to verify if it was Saddam’s voice.

“But that’s only one half of the puzzle, because even if it’s his voice it doesn’t give you any indication about when it was taped. And so that’s just as relevant if not more relevant,” he said.

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