President Saddam Hussein is showering his top soldiers with interest-free loans and other perks to boost the living standards and social standing of the armed forces after Iraq's defeat in the Persian Gulf War.
The key to Hussein's survival, according to diplomats, is the loyalty of the army, in particular the Republican Guard.
"The new gift from our leader President Saddam Hussein to his sons in the brave army is not the first and will definitely not be the last," the army newspaper Al Kadissiyah said in an editorial Friday.
"The series of new gifts on top of those already made to our brave fighters falls within the framework of building the armed forces, a task to which our leader Saddam Hussein has given exceptional importance, especially after the lessons of the Mother of Battles." The latter is a term used by Hussein to describe the Gulf War.
The newspaper, which listed improvements in allowances and other perks since Iraq's Gulf War defeat at the end of February, noted that they coincided with a period of national belt-tightening caused by the year-old U.N. trade blockade.
"Our brave fighters while getting this new gift in these exceptional circumstances should increase their efforts and sacrifices generously to comply with the scale of the challenge facing us from the American plot," it said, urging loyalty to Hussein and his leadership.