Saddam Hussein era regime’s former deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, also known as the King of Clubs, has resurfaced on social media with a Facebook live video that was later removed. The video’s emergence, lasting around 77 minutes, comes 15 years after the Saddam regime’s fall from power, marking the commemoration of the Ba’athist party’s 71st anniversary, a political party banned in Iraq, as its leader. It has been speculated that al-Douri was instrumental in the incubation and rise of the Islamic State. In the video, al-Douri now 75 years old addressed the current state of affairs in the Middle East.
During the live stream al-Douri said, “Bad Safavids and extremist Salafis have made beasts of themselves who destroy life under the name of religion. They do not belong to religion. We as Ba’ath are against trading with religion unlike Persian Safavids.” He continued with, “Ba’ath believes that people are in full possession of sovereignty. They are the only source of any sovereignty or state. No state has value or holiness if it does not represent the will of a free nation.” Adding that all, “Ba’athist youth” should resist and claimed the Ba’ath would “do its best to boost the level of people regarding mentality, ideology, morals, economics, health, and science.”
He made it clear that Iran was in the wrong for its interference in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen; that all three were “directly invaded” by the Islamic nation. He continued to threaten, “Therefore they will be our first targets,” without elaborating further. He also said he had “great hope” that Saudi Arabia would come to Iraq’s aid.
He also addressed the Islamic State war and accused Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi of directly ordering, “the destruction of Fallujah, Ramadi, Mosul and killed their people. He also ordered destruction of Tikrit, Beiji and Dour.” He threatened targeted attacks on both Iran and the Iraqi government, “If Iraqi [detainees] are not released and the blocking of money is not lifted.”
The declarations made by al-Douri come after the Iraqi government declared in March that all assets that had been owned by Saddam and his family would be seized, this covered property from nearly 4,200 old regime officials. He expressed displeasure over what he viewed as an invasion of Syria by the United States and Russia. He asked the Arad people residing there to settle their differences and, “act against Israel and its ally the US… and suspend their relations with them regarding economics and diplomacy.” He continued to express doubt that the United States would solve the proposed Iranian problem saying, “Trump will never attack Iran until the Resurrection Day.”
Al-Douri was the Revolutionary Command Council’s vice chairman and has been implicated in ordering Hassan al-Majid, known as Chemical Ali, to execute the Halabja chemical attacks. When the Ba’athist regime fell during the U.S. invasion in 2003, he went into hiding. He was thought to be killed in 2015 during a raid in the Hamrin mountains but then reemerged in 2016 in a video given to a Saudi Arabia TV news agency.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons