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Videos appear to show top Saddam official ripping Iraq's current leaders

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 7:28 AM EDT, Sun April 8, 2012
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, former former Baath official and deputy to deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, in Baghdad in 1999.
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, former former Baath official and deputy to deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, in Baghdad in 1999.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Al-Douri was the "king of clubs" in a deck of playing cards used to identity wanted officials
  • In the video clips, a man who says he is al-Douri derides Iraq's Shiite leaders
  • The U.S. military says al-Douri helped fund the Sunni insurgency in Iraq

(CNN) -- A series of videos appeared online Saturday purporting to show Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest-ranking member of Saddam Hussein's regime to evade capture, deriding Iraq's current leadership.

Al-Douri, who the U.S. military says helped finance the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, was the "king of clubs" in a deck of playing cards used by American troops following the 2003 invasion to identify the most-wanted regime officials.

There have been several claims that al-Douri was either killed or captured, though a man claiming to be al-Douri has released a number of audio messages over the years taunting Iraqi and U.S. officials.

Al-Douri, who served as a military commander and vice president in Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime, was last seen on video shortly after the invasion of Iraq.

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the videos posted on YouTube or the identity of the man, though he bears a striking resemblance to al-Douri.

In the clips, the man who claims to be al-Douri wears an olive military uniform and sits behind a desk with an Iraqi flag in the background.

He derides Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, as well as what he describes as meddling by neighboring Iran. Al-Maliki's Dawa party, says al-Douri, "has announced Iraq as the Shiite capital."

He said nine years have passed since the invasion and Iraq is still in peril.

"Everyone can hear the sounds of danger echoing daily and threatening the country," he said.

The videos were posted on what is the 65th anniversary of the Arab Socialist Baath Party, a political party founded in Syria that later provided the political basis for Iraq's now outlawed Baath Party.

The U.S. military has said al-Douri helped finance the Sunni insurgency with money he transferred to Syria before the government collapsed shortly after the U.S.-led invasion.

Al-Douri was the deputy chairman of Hussein's Revolutionary Command Council, and U.S. officials have said he played a key role in the 1988 chemical attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja that left thousands dead and thousands more wounded.

He also is accused of playing a role in the brutal crackdowns on Kurdish and Shiite revolts in Iraq that followed the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali and Yousuf Basil contributed to this report.

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