Sunday, August 03, 2003

Out of power and hunted by large numbers of U.S. forces, Saddam Hussein is still giving orders to Iraqis, telling them what to do with such seemingly minor things as looted property and government cars -- if a new audiotape aired Friday is authentic.

In the rambling audio recording, said to have been recorded Sunday, the taped voice told Iraqis they could keep looted cars or sell them without any fear of repercussions once he returns to power. But it warned that those who handed cars over to the occupiers would be treated as traitors...

For Iraqis who have grown used to life without Hussein, even for those bitter about the difficulties of the U.S.-led occupation, the tape seemed almost surreal in its denial of reality.

Mohammed Najar, a 46-year-old interior decorator in Baghdad, was flabbergasted: "He doesn't exist! How can he be issuing us these instructions? It's unbelievable! He's making a joke of himself."

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