Saddam planned resistance - guard
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Saddam Hussein and his sons were shocked at their defeat by U.S.-led forces and met secretly after the fall of Baghdad to plan a guerrilla resistance, according to a former bodyguard for Uday Hussein.
The bodyguard, who called himself Abu Tiba, was interviewed by Newsday reporter Matthew McAllester in Iraq shortly after his boss was killed Tuesday, according to the U.S. military, along with his brother, Qusay Hussein, by U.S. forces in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Graphic videotape images of the two bullet-riddled bodies were beamed around the world Friday in an effort by coalition forces to dispel doubts that the brothers are dead. (U.S. shows bodies)
Abu Tiba said the meeting to plan the guerrilla war was only known to a small number of the ousted president's most loyal supporters, "so that no one would know the details of the resistance," Newsday quoted the bodyguard as saying.
His comments came as American forces hailed the capture of several of Saddam's personal bodyguards during a raid in north-central Iraq. (Bodyguards 'captured)
Abu Tiba also said the March 20 "decapitation strike" by U.S. forces at the start of the war -- an attempt to kill Saddam and top members of the government -- missed badly, the newspaper reported.
"The intended targets were nowhere near, staying in private houses scattered across the city," the article said.
A similar attack on the Mansour neighborhood in Baghdad April 7 also missed Saddam and his sons -- but only by 10 minutes, the bodyguard said.
The set-up for that meeting also turned out to be a test for a certain captain on Saddam's staff, who was the only one told about the meeting.
"We went inside and then out the back door," Abu Tiba said. "Ten minutes later it was bombed. So they killed the captain."
McAllester told Anderson Cooper on CNN's Live from the Headlines that Saddam Hussein and his sons frequently appeared in public even after coalition troops entered Baghdad, once visiting a mosque together April 11 -- two days after Baghdad fell.
"An old woman ... went up to Saddam and said 'What have you done to us?'" McAllester said.
"Saddam apparently slapped his forehead as if it hadn't occurred to him that this could be happening and he said 'What can I say? I've been betrayed by my commanders and I hope that we will fix everything and we will be back in power,'" the reporter recounted.
Abu Tiba told McAllester that Saddam's commanders had betrayed him by failing to carry out elaborate plans to protect Baghdad, which included three lines of defense around the capital and the setting of explosive charges to kill U.S. troops as they arrived near the city.
The bodyguard said all of the video showing Saddam greeting people in the streets of Baghdad even after the Americans had arrived was authentic.
Abu Tiba said Saddam and his sons lived separately in Baghdad after the American occupation, changing houses every two or three days.
But Uday continued to drive through the city in nondescript vehicles, with a red kaffiyeh around his face to hide his identity. The bodyguards always carried Kalashnikovs and Uday carried a machine pistol, the bodyguard said.
Once, Uday "drove past a column of American military vehicles on the other side of the road, and Uday made some unpleasant comments about one particular American soldier with a very red face," McAllester said. "So they were within yards of U.S. military."
Abu Tiba predicted the killing of Uday and Qusay Hussein earlier this week will not end the resistance because it is decentralized, and attributed much of it to simple Islamic resistance to the American infidel invaders.
The bodyguard's father, who served as a protector of Saddam Hussein, said the deaths probably are hitting the former leader hard.
"If he had a weapon that would do it he would destroy all of Iraq for his sons," Abu Jassim told McAllester. "He will be more determined to avenge them now."
Abu Tiba said even before his boss was killed he wanted to leave Uday's employ, but now, "finding Americans in our country so that the Jews can take control of Iraq makes me wish I had stayed to fight, to resist and to be a martyr for my country."
McAllester, who was captured along with a group of Western journalists in the beginning of the war and released days later, said he trusted the credibility of the bodyguard.
"I came to him through credible contacts, and had other background sources to corroborate" his information, he said.