World Bulletin/News Desk
The most senior member of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's entourage still at large has encouraged Sunni Muslim anti-government protesters to stand their ground until Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is toppled.
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri heads Saddam's Baath party, which was banned after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 that overthrew the Sunni dictator.
Over the past two weeks, tens of thousands of Sunnis, some waving Saddam-era flags, have staged demonstrations in a show of anger against Maliki, whom they accuse of marginalising their community and monopolising power.
"The people of Iraq and all its nationalist and Islamic forces support you until the realisation of your just demands for the fall of the Safavid-Persian alliance," said Douri, addressing the protesters in footage broadcast on Alarabiya television.
Safavid is a reference to the ruling dynasty of Shi'ite Iran from the 16th to 18th centuries that at times also controlled parts of modern-day Iraq.
Surrounded by men in military uniform, Douri said the Baath party leadership was considering launching a campaign to "justly and decisively" punish civilians and soldiers who supported what he described as Iran's "Safavid project" for Iraq.
"It is a clear plan to destroy Iraq and annex it to Iran," he said. "We warn those traitors, agents and spies ... who support the dangerous project ... that the national resistance will confront them before Maliki and his evil alliance".
The authenticity of the video could not be verified. Douri said he was speaking from the Iraqi province of Babil.
After the 2003 invasion, Douri was ranked sixth on the U.S. military's list of 55 most wanted Iraqis and a $10 million reward was offered for his capture. U.S. officials accused him of organizing the insurgency that peaked in 2005-07.
Douri was the deputy head of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council under Saddam, and took over the Baath Party leadership after Saddam was executed in 2006.
He has seldom been seen since 2003. In a statement in 2009, he called on Sunni insurgent groups to move into politics.
This is what we know about the Boeing passenger plane crash that happened in Cuba on Friday, as the aircraft was taking off from Havana to a city on the east of the island nation
Polls opened early Sunday in Venezuela in elections boycotted by the main opposition parties, and heavily criticized by the United States, the European Union and many Latin American governments.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been hospitalized in the West Bank, a Palestinian official said on Sunday, providing no further details on his condition.
Militants were ambushed while preparing to attack a village southwest of Kirkuk
After weeks of warm words and diplomatic backslapping, Pyongyang abruptly threatened to pull out of the planned summit next month because of US demands for "unilateral nuclear abandonment", according to the North's official KCNA news agency.
Demonstrators call for end to Israeli occupation, independent investigation into Gaza killings
Dirceu lost an appeal against his conviction for money laundering, corruption and membership of a criminal group, at a court in Porto Alegre on Thursday.
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) won 25 seats, up from 19 in the 2014 election
Turkish presidential spokesman calls US move on relocating embassy 'last nail in coffin'
Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim wrote on Twitter that "fast moving lava from Fissure 20 has crossed Pohoiki Rd near Malama Ki Place," near the Puna forest reserve.
Cabello, a Socialist party boss and former speaker of the National Assembly, was targeted along with his wife, brother and an associate deemed a front man acting on Cabello's behalf.
Report says region will be 1st area of Syria from which US is 'officially disengaging', apart from humanitarian aid
Suspected shooter has been taken into custody as well as 2 persons of interest
Boeing 737 crashes shortly after take off from Jose Marti International airport in Havana
News conference held and final declaration issued as summit concludes
Palestine is ‘not a priority’ for some Arab countries, leading Nahda member says.