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'Saddam deputy' condemns government

A video posted online purports to show Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest ranking member of Saddam Hussein's ousted regime still at large, lashing out against Iraq's Shiite-led government.

It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the video or determine when it was made.

The man in the video, posted on a website linked to Saddam's now-outlawed Baath party, was introduced as Mr al-Douri and bore a striking physical resemblance to the former Saddam deputy.

He noted that nine years had passed since the 2003 US-led invasion, suggesting the video was made recently.

Wearing an olive military uniform and eyeglasses, he criticised Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, led by prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, and what he said was meddling by neighbouring Shiite powerhouse Iran.

"Everyone can hear the sounds of danger echoing daily and threatening this country," he said during the hour-long address, adding that Mr al-Maliki's Dawa Party "has announced Iraq as the Shiite capital, and called on all Arab leaders to surrender to this reality".

Mr al-Douri has been reported dead or captured more than once in the past. He has not been seen in public since the US-led invasion, though audio tapes purporting to be from him have been released. His whereabouts are not known.

Mr al-Douri is believed to have played a key role in financing Sunni insurgents seeking to undermine Iraq's post-Saddam government. He was the "king of clubs" in the deck of playing cards issued by the US to help troops identify the most-wanted members of Saddam's regime.

Ali al-Moussawi, a media adviser for Mr al-Maliki, said the tape is meant to "boost the morale of the terrorists".

"Al-Douri wants to spread terrorism and sectarian violence under the pretext of resistance," he said. "This will not affect the work of the government or the political process."

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