DOHA, Qatar – Abu Dhabi television aired pictures Friday of what it said was Saddam Hussein being greeted by a cheering crowd of Iraqis in the streets of Baghdad last week.
The Arab TV station also ran what it says is audio of the deposed Iraqi dictator during that appearance. It's not clear when the remarks were made or who made them.
"Aggressors are always defeated," Saddam said in the taped address to the Iraqi people. "Conquered people are the ones who eventually triumph over invaders. ... Your leadership is unshaken."
Abu Dhabi Television anchor/reporter Jabe Obaid, who is based in Baghdad, told Fox News that the tape was handed over to him. He said that, in addition to the street scenes video, he was also given the taped speech, which he says was recorded the same day, and which the TV station will broadcast shortly.
But many U.S. military and Bush administration officials are skeptical the tape means anything at all.
Abu Dhabi TV said the film was shot April 9, the day U.S forces moved into Baghdad and Iraqis toppled a huge Saddam statue in central Baghdad's Firdos Square. The footage, if authentic, would mean an April 7 American bombing of a restaurant in the al-Mansour section of Baghdad aimed at killing the Iraqi president was unsuccessful.
The United States said it was studying the tape.
U.S. Central Command said the tape is "not worth responding to" and that it is "inconsequential."
Contrary to what the tape leads viewers to believe, an Iraqi envoy loyal to Saddam said Friday he was confident the Iraqi president was killed by the coalition bombing of Baghdad.
"I know his character," Iraq's ambassador to Belgrade, Sami Sadoun, told The Associated Press. "The defense of Baghdad would not have collapsed so quickly if he was not dead."
The tape showed Saddam, clad in a black beret and an olive military uniform, moving through the crowd as people cheered: "With our bloods and souls we redeem you, oh Saddam."
Helped by guards, Saddam ascended the hood of a car and appeared a bit embarrassed. Some of those cheering him held AK-47 assault rifles.
Alongside him stood a man who resembled his son, Qusay. Though there was nothing to indicate definitively when the pictures were shot, there was a background haze that could have been dust -- or smoke from U.S. bombardments.
In the 10-minute speech, Saddam's voice sounded subdued. The audio was played as a still picture of the ex-Iraqi leader was shown, and the station did not reveal the source of the audio.
"He who is shaken or whose faith is in question should remember that all hard times come to an end," Saddam said in what an Abu Dhabi's TV correspondent characterized as a "farewell speech."
Iraqi envoy Sadoun said he lost all contact with his superiors in Baghdad on April 7.
"Immediately after the bombing, I did not get any instructions," he said. "Not even a single fax."
Since the bombing, "suddenly, there is no more Republican Guard, no more police or defense of Baghdad," Sadoun added.
But dead or alive, healthy or injured, the fact remains that Saddam is no longer in power, U.S. officials said.
"If he is still alive, it's a matter of days," said Ensign David Luckett at Central Command. "His days are certainly numbered. He is no longer in power and that is quite obvious ... It was never about one person, it was about liberating a country."
In Washington, a U.S. intelligence official said it was too soon to tell if the broadcast was authentic. Intelligence suggests Saddam prerecorded some material to air during the war.
"We have seen this stuff before," a senior Bush administration official told Fox News. "We have said before we do not know if he is dead or alive. We do know he's out of power. He's no longer a threat to the Iraqi people; he's no longer a threat to his neighbors; he's no longer a threat to all the people he was a threat to."
The source said that even if one were to assume the tape and its date are genuine, it's still "irrelevant" because Saddam is no longer in power.
The videotape was shot from a distance and alternated between zooming in on Saddam and panning the crowd. In the video, Saddam wore a large gold chain around his neck and appeared both pleased and haggard. His face seemed more gaunt than in previous televised speeches.
Many critics suggested the man in the tape may have been a body double, particularly since Saddam is neurotic about being clean and often wouldn't let anyone touch him unless they washed their hands first.
In the tape, the man purported to be Saddam is being kissed, hugged and pulled by hordes of people around him.
The Bush administration says, unlike Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden, Saddam can't rally support from a stateless nomadic position, whereas bin Laden, an outlaw, can garner power from his mystical appeal alone.
Obeid said the person who handed the tape to the network assured them that it was shot in Baghdad on April 9.
The station said the pictures, taken in the tree-lined Azamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad, "showed that there were parts of Baghdad that hadn't fallen at that day and that still had Iraqi security presence in them."
During the first days of the war, Saddam appeared several times on Iraqi state television, first looking tired and puffy-eyed and, later, stronger as he promised to defeat the Americans.
On April 7, a man identified as Saddam -- albeit looking younger and leaner -- was shown on Iraqi TV in the streets of Baghdad being greeted by people.
Senior administration officials now believe, however, that the last tape of Saddam released by Iraqi TV on April 4 as actually shot 10 days or more before the war even started. The smoke in the air in the video of Saddam walking around the area has been attributed to testing of the oil trenches and not to bombs being dropped.
Officials were able to pinpoint the exact location the tape purportedly showed and, by comparing it to past imagery, they were able to determine that changes had been made to several of the buildings which made it possible to date the video.
The United States is still searching for Saddam inside Iraq, particularly in Baghdad and the city of Tikrit, his hometown. Resolving the fate of Saddam -- either capturing him or killing him -- would be a major step for the United States.
Fox News' James Rosen, David Lee Miller, Jim Angle, Bret Baier and Mike Emanuel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.