Saddam Hussein, due to be hanged within 30 days, said in a letter made public on Wednesday that his execution would be a sacrifice for his country and called on Iraqis to unite and fight U.S. forces.
"Here I offer myself in sacrifice. If God almighty wishes, it (my soul) will take me where he orders to be with the martyrs," Saddam said in the hand-written letter obtained from his defense lawyers in Jordan after it was posted on a Web site.
"If my soul goes down this path (of martyrdom) it will face God in serenity."
The defense team said it was written shortly after Saddam was sentenced to death in November for crimes against humanity. The Iraqi High Tribunal appeals court upheld the sentence on Tuesday and said Saddam should be hanged within 30 days.
Saddam's execution will come as President Bush looks to usher in a new era for U.S. policy in Iraq amid public anger at home over rising U.S. casualties.
Saddam's Baath party threatened to retaliate if the ousted leader was executed: "Our party warns again of the results of carrying out such a verdict, on the situation in Iraq and America in particular," read a statement posted on the Internet.
"It is the most dangerous red line that the American administration should not cross," said the statement, which could not be independently verified.
In his letter, Saddam called on Iraqis to unite.
"Oh brave, pious Iraqis in the heroic resistance. Oh sons of the one nation, direct your enmity toward the invaders. Do not let them divide you ... Long live jihad (holy war) and the mujahideen against the invaders."
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