BAGHDAD, Iraq – Declaring that "victory is at hand," President Saddam Hussein issued a new statement urging Iraqis to fight on and defend their towns according to a broadcast Wednesday on Iraqi satellite television.
In the statement, which was read by an Iraqi news anchor in a military uniform, Saddam repeatedly called upon his people to fight and said the Iraqi armed forces have not used their full capabilities in the battle.
"Fight them so that Iraq, the bastion of religion and principles, will be secured and our (Islamic) nation will come out of this crisis glorious," the statement said. "Fight them. Victory is at hand, God willing, although we have only utilized a third or less of our army while the criminals have used everything they brought in."
"Their failure was manifested and victory is glowing, God willing," the statement said.
The statement singled out the 11th Division of the Iraqi army and Baath Party members in Nasiriyah and other southern towns who have "exhausted" the coalition forces and urged Iraqis to follow their example in defending their cities.
The statement, which was monitored in Doha, Qatar, was different than one broadcast Tuesday night in which Saddam called for Iraqis to wage jihad or holy war against coalition forces. That statement was read by Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf.
There was no way to verify if any of the statements actually came from Saddam.
Saddam has made two televised speeches since the war began on March 20, one in the opening hours of the fighting and another four days later.
However, in both speeches, it wasn't clear when they were recorded by the Iraqi leader, whose offices and residences have been repeatedly bombarded by missiles from U.S. ships and warplanes.