Former Saddam aide seeks to reshape Sunni insurgency

Former Saddam aide seeks to reshape Sunni insurgency
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A rallying cry to Iraqi Sunnis from former President Saddam Hussein's top surviving aide aims to bolster the old ruling Baath party's appeal with Sunni Muslims fearing new reprisals by Shi'ite militias, experts said.

The footage purportedly featuring Ezzat al-Douri was released on Thursday, the anniversary of the fall of Saddam's Sunni-led rule when U.S. troops stormed Baghdad in 2003. Reuters could not authenticate it but analysts said it seemed genuine judging by his appearance and speech.

Douri, a wiry man with a ginger mustache, evaded capture during the 2003-11 U.S. occupation and Iraqi and U.S. officials accused him of organizing an insurgency by minority Sunnis against U.S. troops and the new Shi'ite led authorities in 2005-7.

In a previous audio message, the former top official in Saddam's secular Baath party urged Sunnis to join those who had "liberated" half the country, referring to Islamic State, which declared a caliphate in large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

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