Saddam henchman calls on Baathists to ratchet up ‘revolutionary’ activity

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The most senior member of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s entourage still at large has criticised the present government and urged former Iraqi Baathists to reorganise their resistance to it, according to a video broadcast on Baathist websites.

The video appeared to show Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the head of Saddam’s Baath party and the highest-ranking member of his government still at liberty. Saddam, a Sunni, was toppled and his party banned after the US-led invasion in 2003.

The broadcast was not dated and Douri’s identity could not be independently confirmed. Douri released a recording last year criticising prime minister Nuri al-Maliki for rounding up former Baath party members in Iraq.

“We have to restart immediately… to rebuild the revolutionary Baath party,” he said in the video broadcast on the 65th anniversary of the formation of Iraq’s Baath party.

The video showed a man closely resembling Douri sitting in a Saddam-era uniform in front of the old Iraqi flag, flanked by a group of bodyguards, just as he did when delivering speeches in the past.

After the invasion, Douri was ranked sixth on the US military’s list of 55 most wanted Iraqis.