BAGHDAD, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's top aide Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri appeared in a video posted on internet, for the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and called on Iraqis to resist the country's Shi' ite-dominated government.
"Our Baath Party in Iraq, on its 65th anniversary, is leading a major and a historic war. Baath is struggling and will continue resistance to change the current regime," Douri, the former vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council under Saddam's regime, said in his speech posted on internet late on Saturday.
As for the Syrian crisis, Douri criticized the stance of Arab states against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"We are with the Syrian people and their legitimate rights, and with their peaceful uprising," said Douri, who was showed in the video taking Saddam's positions of the secretary general of Iraq's Baath Party and wearing his military rank Staff Field Marshal.
He also criticized the Arab states which demanded foreign intervention in Syria "what's wrong with you? You reached the point that you call for (foreign) armies to invade Syria and erase its people, like what happened in Iraq and Libya."
The authenticity and the date of Douri's video could not be immediately verified.
Douri, who believed to be one of the major funders for Sunni Arab insurgency against the U.S.-led coalition force after 2003, threatened to continue resistance against the Shi'ite-led government which he said "turned Iraq into an easy prey for Safavids," referring to the Iranian dynasty (1499-1736) that established Shi'ite Islam in Iran as an official state religion and frequently fought the Islamic Sunni world.
Iraqi and U.S. officials believe that Douri played a key role in organizing resistance that erupted in 2003 against the U.S.-led coalition and was instrumental in forging links between remnants of the ousted regime and Sunni Islamic militant groups.
As the Sunni insurgency spread following 2003 invasion, the United States and its allies offered a 10 million U.S. dollars reward for information leading to Douri's capture.
He was born in 1942, and had been a close associate of Saddam Hussein throughout his rule and officially was the No. 2 man in Iraq's ruling hierarchy when the Baath regime collapsed as U.S. troops occupied Iraqi capital of Baghdad in April 2003. He was No. 6 on the American "deck of cards" of most-wanted fugitives.
He was placed in command of Iraqi forces in the north just before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 but escaped the U.S. dragnet after organized resistance collapsed. He was rumored to be in Syria or elsewhere.
Several family members, including his wife, were detained in late 2003 in hopes of pressuring him into surrendering.
Special Report: Situation in Iraq