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THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ

Hussein's Letter Tells Iraqis to Rout American Troops

October 16, 2006|From Reuters

AMMAN, Jordan — In an open letter, ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein told Iraqis that "victory is at hand" and urged insurgents to show magnanimity to opponents, saying he forgave Iraqis who aided the killers of his two sons.

In the letter dictated to his chief lawyer, Khalil Dulaimi, during a meeting Saturday in prison, Hussein also said Iraqis should put aside their differences and focus on driving U.S. troops out of the country.

"Victory is at hand, but don't forget that your near-term goal is confined to liberating your country from the forces of occupation," Hussein said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters on Sunday.

Hussein's letter came as the court trying him in the killing of 148 Shiite men from Dujayl in the 1980s was to meet today to review witness testimony.

The former president urged fellow minority Sunnis, who form the backbone of the insurgency, to forgive Iraqi informants who helped U.S. troops track down and kill his sons, Uday and Qusai, in a battle at a house in Mosul in 2003.

"When you achieve victory and it is close ... remember you are God's soldiers which means you should show genuine forgiveness and put aside revenge over the spilled blood of the sons of Saddam Hussein," the letter says.

"I call on you to apply justice in your Jihad [holy war] and not be drawn to recklessness and urge you to be forgiving rather than tough with those who have lost the path," it adds.

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