Central Command: Iraq ordered U.S., U.K. military uniforms
U.S. fears paramilitary group will commit 'war atrocities' in disguise
Iraq plans to dress members of its paramilitary force in U.S. troop uniforms so war atrocities can be blamed on the United States.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In an effort to blame the United States and United Kingdom for war atrocities, the U.S. Central Command charged Thursday that Iraq will dress members of a paramilitary force in uniforms from the two countries while hurting his own people.
In a written statement, Jim Wilkinson, Central Command's director of strategic communications, said, "Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has ordered the procurement of military uniforms identical down to the last detail to those of the U.S. and U.K. forces."
"Saddam intends to issue these uniforms to Fedayeen Saddam troops, who would wear them when conducting reprisals against the Iraqi people so that they could pass the atrocities off as the work of the United States and the United Kingdom," Wilkinson said. "This campaign of fear and misinformation would represent the latest chapter in Saddam Hussein's long history of brutal crimes against the innocent people of Iraq."
The Fedayeen Saddam, or "Saddam's Men of Sacrifice," are a paramilitary force of more than 15,000 men, according to senior U.S. military officials. The Fedayeen were founded in 1995 by Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, who also runs a major daily newspaper.
Many members of the organization are in their teens and were recruited in areas noted for loyalty to the Iraqi leader. According to information available on the White House Web site, authorities withheld school examination results to students unless they registered in the Fedayeen Saddam organization.
The government Web site also said members of the Fedayeen Saddam have killed senior religious clerics and desecrated mosques and holy sites.
The salaried force carries out patrols and anti-smuggling duties and is separate from the regular Iraqi army command, reporting directly to the presidential palace, according to U.S. officials. Though not an elite force, the group does deal with unrest during an emergency.