Iraq's Fedayeen Saddam are paramilitary soldiers responsible for protecting Saddam Hussein and suppressing civil unrest in the country.
The Iraqi government calls them volunteers who are prepared to be martyred if necessary in any battle to defend Baghdad. The group is headed by Hussein's elder son, Uday.
The Fedayeen reportedly number 20,000 to 40,000 men, who are generally recruited at a young age from among Hussein loyalists.
They are seen by the leadership as a politically unswerving force existing to protect Hussein against domestic rivalry.
Analysts say the Fedayeen are motivated by loyalty to the regime and by money, receiving a salary while most Iraqis get by on food rations.
Some experts believe that the war will motivate more Iraqis to join the Fedayeen so they will be seen as heroes by their countrymen.
On Monday, the Al Jazeera television outlet showed footage of members of the Fedayeen in northern Iraq. Armed and dressed in black, the Fedayeen members chanted, "With our blood and with our soul, we will defend you, Saddam!"
Talking to the Al Jazeera correspondent, one member said, "We are Saddam's Fedayeen. We shall kill the Americans and we shall kill all those who don't kill the Americans."
-- Jailan Zayan