LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Pro-Saddam Rally Takes to Streets
Aired July 17, 2003 - 19:06 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In the region today on the 35th anniversary of the coup in Iraq that brought the Ba'ath Party to power, another tape allegedly made by former President Saddam Hussein has surfaced.
Its appearance follows a series of attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and as well as indications that the ousted Iraqi leader supporters are becoming increasingly bold.
Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins us from Baghdad.
Nic, the latest?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, one of the interesting things about the latest audiotape purportedly from Saddam Hussein is that it seems to be very time sensitive, very news relevant.
It criticizes the governing council. That council was formed last week. It calls the United States a liar for saying that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. That issue clearly very newsworthy and very topical or perhaps what we're beginning to see here, this is a third tape in a series -- we're beginning to see a series of tape put out when there seems to be news value or the right time to do it.
Certainly, today we've seen the first strong show of support for Saddam Hussein on the street. Armed people out praising him.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): For the first time since Saddam Hussein's fall, a gun-toting rally in his support.
But first, mostly children, joined soon after by men on motorbikes, displaying rocket propelled grenade launchers, recent weapon of choice against U.S. troops and outlawed under coalition rules.
"We don't accept these Matters," this Saddam loyalist says, "we continue to resist and the Americans have to leave our country."
Others emerged from side streets, bringing their weapons to mark the day 35 years ago Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party seized power.
Also on this anniversary, a taped message delivered to an Arabic language news network, reportedly from Saddam Hussein himself. The voice, which could not be independently verified to be the former Iraqi leader, condemned the new governing council and told Iraqis to support the fight against U.S. troops.
And a suggestion he wants to come back to power. Few watching on TV believe that likely. Most worry such messages will prolong attacks on U.S. troops and add to the suffering of the Iraqi people.
For U.S. troops, despite intelligence reports that the anniversary could be a bad day for attacks, the anniversary passed off relatively quietly. The apparent on the streets, however, of those gun-toting Saddam supporters does hint at a new boldness and perhaps more trouble to come -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, it certainly seems to. Nic Robertson in Baghdad, thanks very much.
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